Bernasconi, Pablo 1973-
Bernasconi, Pablo 1973-
Illustrator, educator, and author. Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, instructor in design for six years; Clarín (newspaper), staff artist and designer, beginning 1998; commercial illustrator for numerous clients, including FOX Channel, J. Walter Thompson, Works Management, and numerous publishers. Has appeared at writer's conferences.
Four awards of excellence, Society of Newspaper Design; World Book Day prize, 2004; British Association of Illustrators honor, 2005; first prize, Feria del Libro Infantil (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2005.
Black Skin, White Cow, Random House Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.
Hippos Can Swim, Random House Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.
Captain Arsenio: Inventions and (Mis)Adventures in Flight, Houghton (Boston, MA), 2005.
The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.
El zoo de Joaquin, Lectorum Publications, 2006.
Author's works have been translated into Spanish, Korean, and German.
Mariana Furiasse, Rafaela, 2002.
Cecilia Pisos, Un cuento por donde pasa el tiempo, Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2004.
Ángeles Durini, Quien le tiene meido a Demetrio Latov?, Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2004.
Paula Bombara, Querés saber que …?, multiple volumes, Eudeba, 2004.
Elsa Bornemann, El ultimo mago o, Bilembambudín, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 2005.
Santiago Kovadloff, Natalia y los queluces, Emece Editores (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2005.
Ursula Wolfel, 27 Historias para tomar la sopa, Edicións Kalandraka, 2006.
Katie McKy, Pumpkin Town!; or, Nothing Is Better and Worse than Pumpkins, Houghton (Boston, MA), 2006.
Editorial illustrations have appeared in periodicals such as Voz de Galicia, Diario de León, Nación (Costa Rica), Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Planeta, Minnesota Monthly, Common Ground, Finance, New York Times, and London Times.
Argentinian illustrator Pablo Bernasconi has a unique style that plays with perspective and sometimes borders on the surreal. His images, which have been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, often incorporate rough-edged collage elements or playfully rendered, hand-drawn figures. Winner of Society of Newspaper Design awards for best individual art and illustration portfolio as well as for cover art, he has also contributed to picture-book texts by authors such as Elsa Bornemann, Santiago Kodadloff, Katie McKy, and Mariana Furiasse. Praising Bernasconi's illustrations for McKy's Pumpkin Town!; or, Nothing Is Better and Worse than Pumpkins, School Library Journal contributor Anne L. Tormohlen wrote that the artist's "collage-like, colorful computer-generated illustrations … are clever and entertaining."
Born in 1973, Bernasconi grew up in Patagonia. After graduating from the Universidad de Buenos Aires with a degree in graphic design, he turned to teaching. He spent six years as an art instructor at his alma mater before joining the staff of Clarín, a Buenos Aires newspaper, where he worked as an editorial illustrator and de- signed covers for more than 150 issues. Turning to children's book illustration in the early 2000s, Bernasconi collaborated with a number of authors in his native Argentina. Building on the popularity of his illustrations among Spanish-speaking readers, he has more recently produced several original English-language picture books, among them Captain Arsenio: Inventions and (Mis)Adventures in Flight and The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame.
Inspired by Bernasconi's own love of flying—the author/ilustrator is a licensed pilot—Captain Arsenio is a mock-journal that follows the efforts of Captain Manuel J. Arsenio, a former cheese-maker, to build a flying machine. Assembling his bird-powered Motocanary from a hodgepodge of miscellaneous components in the 1780s, the determined dreamer goes on to devise an Aerial Submarine, something he calls the Hamstertronic, and several other ultimately failed machines in his ef-
fort to take to the skies. Bernasconi brings his text to life with collage art featuring such found objects as springs, wheels, and feathers, and depicts the "determined but hapless adventurer rising and crashing in one spectacular disaster after another," according to School Library Journal contributor Kathy Piehl. The book's "slapstick outcomes yield a cumulative hilarity," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the critic adding that Arsenio's "quixotic optimism is endearingly loony."
Featuring Bernasconi's characteristic art, The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame retells the classic story "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" with a twist. When Leitmeritz the wizard's ugly assistant Chancery attempts to use the sorcerer's magic red book to transform his appearance, the magic goes awry and each of his spells misfires. When the wizard returns and assesses the problem, he informs Chancery that the only way to restore the book's power is to solve his dilemma on his own. Ultimately, through humor and self-acceptance, Chancery makes peace with the mirror's reflection, and the wizard's world is set back to rights. "Lively patchwork collages show magical and not-so-magical transformations," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the critic concluding that in The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame "Bernasconi establishes appealing characters and prickly tension" while imparting his gentle message.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2005, review of Captain Arsenio: Inventions and (Mis)Adventures in Flight, p. 373; December, 2005, review of The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, p. 171; October, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Pumpkin Town!; or, Nothing Is Better and Worse than Pumpkins, p. 85.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of Captain Arsenio, p. 469; September 15, 2005, review of The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, p. 1020; September 1, 2006, review of Pumpkin Town!, p. 908.
Magpies, November, 2004, Jo Goodman, review of The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, June 6, 2005, review of Captain Arsenio, p. 64; October 1, 2005, review of The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, p. 60.
School Library Journal, July, 2005, Kathy Piehl, review of Captain Arsenio, p. 65; January, 2006, Marianne Saccardi, review of The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame, p. 90; November, 2006, Anne L. Tormohlen, review of Pumpkin Town!, p. 105.
Pablo Bernasconi Home Page,http://www.pbernasconi.com.ar (October 27, 2007).