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Tuesday, 23 February, 2021

Charlotte Pardi

Illustrator from Denmark

* What brought you to illustration?
 I have always loved drawing… so it was almost inevitable for me to become an illustrator.

* What was your very first illustration?
The first drawing I drew was on the wall in my childhood home… My parents were not very happy with my artwork.

Illustration from 'Her gik Victoria' ('Victoria was here') (2020) Author: Glenn Ringtved -  A story about a girl who loses her mother. Over the course of a year, she finds clues showing that her mother has been here.

* What does a typical work day look like for you?
I live in a forest. Every morning I either run or go for a walk in the woods, before I start drawing. I work very disciplined until 4pm, when my daughter demands my presence. I only illustrate children's books and I do not work on a computer, so everything is drawn with pencil and brushes. When I have to start a new book project, I always start by outlining the different characters with a soft pencil. I draw their facial expressions and body language and describe their interrelationships as accurately as possible so that one can sense what is going on inside them. The next thing I draw is the storyboard. I arrange all the scenes and the whole plot. Then I start to refine the compositions on the individual posts. I emphasize the immediate, the dynamic, and the expression. My line is sketchy and I try not to hide the materials. You have to be able to see brushstrokes and the paint that has been coloured with. So I don’t have a typical work day, but I have a typical work flow.

* What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?
If a story contains contradictions in some way, it can be inspiring and form images I feel like drawing. It can be big topics like life and death, or the good and the bad. A few years ago I illustrated a children's bible. There were many contrasts in the stories, which were challenging and exciting to draw. I can also be inspired when I watch people, go for a walk in the woods, or watch a movie.

Illustration from 'Rend mig i agterstavnen' ('Screw that ship') (2000) Author: Glenn Ringtved -  An angry old captain has gone ashore. He does not want to talk to anyone - not even a girl.

* Are there any illustrators who influenced/influence you?
There are many that inspire me, but it changes a lot from project to project. I am inspired by many of my Danish illustrator colleagues. I also like Norwegian Per Dybvig, and I get very inspired by Korean Baek Hee-na.

* Do you like listening to music or audio books while working or do you prefer silence?
I always listen to the radio when I work. I hear a program with a lot of talk about culture, music, literature, film, theater. When I sit immersed in my own little drawing world, it's nice to get some input from the world outside.

* Is there a particular story you would love to illustrate?
I like to draw many different kinds of stories. I really like to draw both the humorous and the more serious. The text should not be too descriptive or explanatory - it should leave room for the illustrations. It can be big existential topics, but I can also see the excitement in illustrating small everyday glimpses. And If you and your best friend had a quarrel, it is very existential for a child.

Illustration from 'Selma og mørket og en blød, sort kat' ('Selma and the darkness and a soft, black cat') (2018) Author: Trine Bundsgaard - Selma's mother and father are divorced and when Selma is with her mother she misses her father.

* What makes a good illustrator?
A good illustrator knows how to expand the story. The illustrations must contribute something more, so that text and illustrations together become something bigger.

* Do you struggle sometimes? Do you have to motivate yourself, and if so, what helps? Is there a kind of "illustrator’s block?”
I often struggle with the illustration work. I can be impatient with many things, but when I draw I am very persistent and keep going until I am happy with the result.
Unfortunately, I use a lot of expensive watercolor paper to draw, discard, and redraw.
My drawings seem easy to make, but often it takes many attempts before I reach an uncomplicated and playful expression.

Illustration from 'Cry, Heart, But Never Break' (2002) Author: Glenn Ringtved - Four children sit in the kitchen with Death. He has come to pick up their grandmother. Death tells them a fairy tale about sorrow and joy.

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