Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program 2022 Program with Sandra Dumais

Congratulations to Sandra Dumais for an incredibly successful Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program! Once again, the program hit new highs in sheer number of events and people who were able to engage in the programming, while still maintaining the high standard for quality and fun!

“The Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence was a very enriching experience for which I am so grateful. The month just flew by, and now I am left contemplating the benefits of this program on my career development.”

Raised in Toronto, but living in Montreal (for almost 20 years), Sandra is bilingual, and English and French publishers have published her books: Les ouï-dire (Éditions Fonfon), The Fossil Whisperer (Kids Can Press), Bob le Bobo (La courte échelle), Simone sous les Ronces (Éditions Fonfon) / Olivia Wrapped in Vines (Orca Book Publishers), and the junior graphic novel series Crimes à la ferme! (La courte échelle) / Farm Crimes! (Owlkids Books). She creates her illustrations using pencils, gouache, digital collage and acrylic paint. In 2020 and 2021, she was awarded Quebec’s Prix des Libraires. In her free time, Sandra wanders the parks and alleys of Montreal with her family and their rescue dog, and paints at the Pointe-Saint-Charles Art School.

“Working with elementary school students and their teachers as well as the Toronto Public Library staff allowed me to workshop my drawing class and introduce new elements to it. Toronto is the perfect city to focus on diversifying the characters we draw!”

In an action-packed month (October 2022), Sandra was able to bring her humour, knowledge and art to over 1000 children and adults. A return to in-person events allowed Sandra to present seven elementary school art workshops at the North York Central Library location within the Toronto Public Library (TPL) system.

A continuation of online events allowed for great reach and Sandra hosted:

  • An online launch event on Monday, October 3 featuring a fun drawing exercise for attendees
  • Eleven elementary school workshops
  • Seneca College students in the illustration program
  • Grade 11/12 art students at George Vanier High School
  • Adult evening sessions hosted on TPL’s CrowdCast platform
    • Illustrator’s Career Path
    • Developing Your Style and Voice
    • Growing Out of Your Comfort Zone
    • How to Transition to Full-Time Artist
  • Twenty-seven portfolio reviews
  • International presentation to IBBY Dominican Republic

Sharing my experience as an illustrator with high school students and adults was a very rewarding experience, as were the portfolio reviews. Encouraging younger illustrators and artists is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and connect with the next generation of artists out there. Thank you to IBBY Canada, TPL, and the Young family!”

The Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence program honours Joanne Fitzgerald (1956–2011), whose books include Plain Noodles, Emily’s House and Doctor Kiss Says Yes.

Each October, an illustrator participates in a one-month residency, hosted by a public library.

The Illustrator in Residence leads hands-on art workshops for elementary school classes, makes presentations to high school and college art students, conducts portfolio reviews with individual artists, and presents adult evening sessions. The illustrator’s original art is displayed in the library’s gallery space. IBBY Canada thanks Joanne Fitzgerald’s family, Robert Young and Laura Young, for their ongoing support of the program.

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