Nathalie Dion Illustrator Interview

Jinny Montpetit Photo

Nathalie Dion

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Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
I remember flipping through my mother’s Paris Match magazines looking for Kiraz’ illustrations and through her pile of NOUS magazines filled with realistic full-page color illustrations. I must have turned the pages of these magazines every rainy day until I was twelve. Fascinated by these illustrators’ talent, I dreamt, at a young age, of one day having such a dream job.

Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
Yes. Between then and now I have taken lots of detours; trying many, if not every, medium and approach. I have to admit, after all, the essence is still the same.

Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
It’s never really been a question. At a young age, I knew I wanted to live the illustrator’s life. What I appreciate about illustration, compared to other artforms, is that often, you can begin a piece and see the result in the same day. I need a rapid action-reaction. It reassures my anxious personality.

Did you study art in school?
I studied fine arts in college and design arts at university.

Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas?
I just love the fact that an image or story that didn’t exist in the morning, will exist at the end of the day. I find it magical.

Do you have a favorite illustrator? What is it about that illustrator’s work you like?
There are so many talents I admire, but I think, above all, is the work of Jean-Philippe Delhomme. He gave himself permission to be free. I’d like to give myself that same permission. He has that freedom… All he does enchants me.

If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
I would like to buy and decorate caravans and flip them!

Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
Yes… especially their poor quality! The sad effects of Crayola wax crayons, cheap colored pencils and watercolor. The greatest memory I have is my first contact with quality art supplies. Prismacolor pencils and Pelican gouache were a revelation!