Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

NOTES from February 2018 meeting; SPEAKER Milan Pavlovic

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:14 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

NOTES from February 14, 2018 meeting: SPEAKER Milan Pavlovic

President Sharon Jennings welcomed everyone, expressing surprise at such a large turnout on Valentine’s Day. She thanked the CANSCAIP volunteers present: Patricia Storms, Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Theo Heras, and Bev Rosenbaum. She also thanked Karen Rankin and Rita Bates for tonight’s cookies and Starbucks for the coffee. Welcome, too, to the many first-timers in the audience.


Sylvia McNicoll presented Norma CharlesHarry Jerome: World’s Fastest Man, a work of historical middle grade fiction. She also introduced her own Snake Mistake Mystery, another book in her Mistake Mysteries Series


Michelle Nidenoff told us about an upcoming exhibit of art by CANSCAIP Members and Friends at the Canadian Contemporary School of Art in the Eglinton-Brentcliffe Toronto area. Works will be exhibited over the month of May. A call for submissions has been sent out to CANSCAIP Members and Friends. The works will be hung on May 2 and a reception is planned for that evening. Volunteers welcome!

Our administrative director Helena Aalto announced that PYI 2018 will take place on Saturday November 10. Save the date postcards are already available for individuals or for writing teachers or writing group members to distribute. 

The recent marketing webinar with Judy Brunsek is still available for viewing. You can register on the CANSCAIP website.


Patricia Storms introduced the evening’s speaker, Milan Pavlovic, an illustrator, graphic artist, and teacher at OCADU and Seneca.  Milan began by recalling his childhood in Croatia, where he spent summers on beaches and his grandfather’s farm, which influenced his colour palette.  He also recalled playing with animal stickers with his dad and redrawing the animals.  He still loves drawing animals and experiences a childlike inner joy when he draws. Non-visual early influences included biologists David Bellamy and Jacques Cousteau and the musicians Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards.

Milan loved comic books. Krazy Kat and Little Nemo are great for detail in drawings.  Cheap Thrills by Robert Crumb dealt with the ‘Summer of Love’ while it was actually happening, and showed Milan that comic artists could deal with real events in real time.

Milan mentioned many favourite designers and illustrators: George McManus; Milton Glaser; Joseph Muller-Brockmann; Shigeo Fukuda; Peter Saville; John Audubon; Boris Artzybasheff; Lorenzo Matodi; and Javier Mariscal. Milan also loves medieval illustrations, noting that with some of these images, we can see a connection to modern day works like Maus.

In Serbia, Milan was approached at an exhibition of his adult work and, asked if he’d like to do something for children, proceeded to do several books. In Canada, his first book was Hey, Canada! for Tundra. Then Sheila Barry invited him to illustrate Cary Fagan’s book Danny Who Fell in a Hole. He stressed that illustrators must be able to have conversations and be able to compromise, and that this process was especially fun with Sheila.  He argued that you can’t be a good illustrator if you aren’t a good reader; you need to grasp narrative so you can recognize the big moments.

Milan mentioned the challenges posed by each project. In Patricia Storm’s upcoming book, Moon Wishes, every page-spread took place on a moonlit night. He used shades of colour to make each picture unique, and he gave the moon an expressive face. And he managed to sneak in animals on each page.

Milan showed us his sketchbook, which he fills with everything that comes to mind, using pen and ink. He often designs something like an abstract landscape, and only later does he add human forms and some kind of narrative. He exhorted us to draw for no reason and not wait for a story to come. It’s a continuous process, and you can put your designs in a context later. But….Milan was wearing a tee shirt his Seneca students presented to him with ‘What’s the Story?’ written on it. This is the question that he always asks students: What’s the story? What did you want to communicate with this piece? In other words, it isn’t art until it conveys meaning.

Milan ended by describing the joy he experiences presenting to and doing workshops with kids.

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