Featured Artist – Isabelle Cardinal

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How and when did you know that you wanted to become an illustrator?
I know it sounds clichéd, but of course I was always doodling on the back of my school books and I have numerous drawings from when I was 8 or 10 that my mom kept (of course!).
But I really got to realize it was possible to actually do that all year long as an illustrator while in a class at university. After meeting with the teacher, who had just showed us the editorial illustration he had done for the Chicago Tribune or the Washington Post, I said “This IS what I want to do!!”

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am big “sketcher”… I know it is kind of rare for a digital collage artist, but I just love to draw a lot. I have found that the more I sketch, the more the result (idea) is clear and fun. I also travelled a lot in my 20’s and so I guess I incorporate a lot of what I have seen, heard and felt. I also love to collect old 1900’s photos and drawings and find they are very inspiring to look at.

What is your earliest memory of creating art? (or drawing as a child)
I drew so many horses – I’m just amazed by those animals – but also princesses (what can I say, I’m a girl).
Also I have good memories of my mother taking out her watercolors and painting incredibly well. I was amazed with the colors, the blending of it all (most probably why my collages have an average of 70 layers in Photoshop!!). And then she bought me a big set of dry pastels and I was hooked.

As a working illustrator, do you still find time to create art for yourself?
I admit I have been neglecting that for years. I was too busy, and with a young child it is tough to “find” time for personal projects. But the child is growing up and it’s less frantic then it was 5 years ago, so I have more time to create for “myself”. I have been participating on Illustration Friday’s site for a little while now, and find it so much fun and refreshing to have one theme to work on. I think it is good for the soul.

What type of artwork do you have hanging in your home?
I have made an “inspiration wall”, where I paste everything I have found in print or on the web that I like.
It can be textures, art, pictures, toys, tickets, postcards, patterns – you name it – and I try to add to and change it all the time. Very inspiring.

What accomplishment so far in your life stands out as most important?
Well I know it’s another cliché (sorry) but being able to work at home also means being able to see the first steps of your child (first everything, in fact). It’s nice to be able to do both, and enjoy every moment. Professionally, I remember my first editorial job as being with CIO magazine and I was sooo proud, thinking
“wow, my art will be printed in a magazine!!”. That was years ago, but I still remember that feeling and I still think it is the best job on earth.


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