Céleste Gagnon is a successful freelance illustrator with over 10 years experience in both illustration and design.
A graduate of Sheridan College’s industry-recognized Illustration program in 2001, Céleste has since amassed significant experience working as a designer/illustrator with a variety of clients in children’s book publishing.
Her clients include Kids Can Press, Owl Publishing, and Novalis Publishing where she has worked on picture books, educational workbooks (Franklin the Turtle), young adult novels, non-fiction science books, and instructional craft books.
She has also designed and illustrated interactive workbook journals for a collection of dolls made by Maplelea, featuring characters from various provinces and territories in Canada. Each doll is accompanied by a fully illustrated journal that teaches kids about the history and culture of each doll’s home province/territory.
The Maplelea Canadian Girls doll Saila, a doll modeled on Inuit cultural heritage, and her accompanying journal, was awarded the 2012 Children’s Choice toy awards. Her journal posed the particular challenge of requiring the design to work around Inuktitut, English and French. In addition to the designing and illustrating of the journals, Céleste has created a number of fabric patterns and spot illustrations used in Maplelea accessories and clothing.
Céleste has had the pleasure of working on a number of projects that align with her own ideals and interests. She counts among her clients WWF Canada (for whom she produced illustrated newsletters for kids), the City of Markham’s Green Print Sustainability program (community garden signage for the city’s multiple gardens), a large poster series on climate change for Ontario Parks, and most recently 3 full colour activity books for Ontario Parks for use with their trail programs.
Céleste is fluent in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. She has worked on many projects from the original concept design through to production, and prides herself on always meeting deadlines. As a francophone, Céleste is aware of the complexities of designing and illustrating around language, and is adept at planning ahead for designs that are responsive to shifting text areas.
Céleste believes strongly in teaching children to have an appreciation for their environment and the fauna and flora that share it, and that the best way to do this is to give children and families the opportunity to experience nature and have a hand in caring for it. Over the past 4 years she has worked with the City of Markham to create the first neighbourhood-run community garden in York Region. She initiated the creation of a working model where neighbours work together with schools, seniors’ homes, and food banks. With a now active garden, she helps create family programs for the community to teach about native plants, beneficial insects, and urban wildlife.
When she is not working she can often be found in nearby parks. A hobbyist photographer, she enjoys exploring her natural surroundings with her children. An annual pilgrimage to Algonquin Provincial Park is a must with her family, in any season!