Born in Spain. Education: Llotja Art School (Barcelona, Spain), graduated, c. 1988; Eina School (Barcelona), coursework in graphic design.
Illustrator and author. Edicions de la Magrana (Catalan publisher), art director, 1995-2001; La Massana Arts School, Barcelona, Spain, instructor in illustration, beginning 1998. Creator, with Montse Ganges, of television series Miniman.
Nacional del Ministerio de Cultura award, 1995; Internacional Catalònia award, 1997; Generalitat de Catalunya award, 1998, for La mila va a l'escola by Teresa Durán; Best Illustrated Book for Children Award, 1997, and International Board on Books for Young People Honor List inclusion, 1998, both for The Gift by Gabriela Keselman.
Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty, Sterling (New York, NY), 2006.
Gabriela Keselman, El regalo, [Barcelona, Spain], 1997, translated by Laura McKenna as The Gift, Kane/Miller (Brooklyn, NY), 1999.
Teresa Durán, La mila va a l'escola (Catalan), Rústica (Enquadernació, Spain), 1998.
Las tres naranjas de la vida, La Galera (Spain), 1998.
Christine Nostlinger, Querido señor diablo/Dear Mr. Devil, Gaviota (Spain), 2001.
Snow White, Circulo de Lectores-Aura, 2003.
Roser Ros, adapter, The Musicians of Bremen/Los músicos de Bremen, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
Jordi Sierra i Fabra, Kafka y la muñeca viajera, Ediciones Siruela (Madrid, Spain), 2006.
Eric A. Kimmel, McElderry Book of Greek Myths, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Avui, La Vanguardia, El País, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Woman, Quéleer, Cuerpomente, Ser Padres, New Yorker, and Travel & Leisure.
Pep Montserrat is an illustrator and graphic designer who has also gained an international reputation as a children's book illustrator. A native of Spain, Montserrat attended Barcelona's Llotja Art School and began his career in illustration in the late 1980s. His award-winning artwork, which has appeared in magazines and newspapers both in Europe and North America, is familiar to English-language readers mainly through the pages of children's books such as The Gift by Gabriela Keseleman, Eric A. Kimmel's McElderry Book of Greek Myths, and the bilingual folk-tale retellings The Musicians of Bremen/Los músicos de Bremen and Aladdinand the Magic Lamp/Aladino y la lámpara marvillosa: From The Thousand and One Nights. In addition to his collaborations with other writers, Montserrat has also gained recognition for the original story he pairs with his unique stylized art in the picture book Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty.
A work by Montserrat is immediately recognizable due to its dramatic contrasts, stylized shapes, and modernistic design. Reviewing the artist's work for The Musicians of Bremen/Los músicos de Bremen in School Library Journal, Ann Welton wrote that the illustrator's "earth-toned acrylics have an almost linocut look and make excellent and arresting use of form and volume" in bringing to life a classic story about the adventures of four elderly animals. Booklist critic Stella Clark had a similar reaction to the work, writing that Montserrat's "simple, elegant" images are "done in vivid yet understated colors, giving the tale a modern feel."
An unusual story that illustrates the adage that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" greets readers in Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty. In graphic shades of red, black, and tan, Montserrat brings to life the unusual courtship of Mr. Pavlov and Ms. Rubinstein through his stylized art. Although readers never see the characters' full faces until the book's end, they come to know and like both people through their gentle, mannered conversation and kind actions. Only at story's end do they realize that the growing affection between Mr. Pavlov and Ms. Rubinstein has nothing to do with their physical beauty: Pavlov is a circus elephant man and Ms. Rubinstein is a bearded lady. Children "will find much beauty in these characters, and in their story," concluded School Library Journal contributor DeAnn Okamura of the book, which a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed a "valentine [that] celebrates the way true love looks beneath surface irregularities." "Everyone feels like a monster sometimes," Hazel Rochman noted in her Booklist review, adding that in Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty "even children who begin by laughing" at Montserrat's unusual protagonists will find themselves caught up in "the operatic romance of two outcasts who find each other."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 1997, review of El regalo, p. 1913; April 1, 2000, review of Las tres naranjas de la vida, p. 1460; November 1, 2005, Stella Clark, review of The Musicians of Bremen/Los músicos de Bremen, p. 50; September 1, 2006, Stella Clark, review of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp/Aladino y la lámpara marvillosa: From The Thousand and One Nights, p. 124; September 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty, p. 71.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty, p. 848.
Publishers Weekly, October 11, 1999, review of The Gift, p. 74.
School Library Journal, December, 1999, Ann Welton, review of The Gift, p. 100; October, 2005, Ann Welton, review of The Musicians of Bremen/Los músicos de Bremen, p. 148; October, 2006, Maria Otero-Boisvert, review of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp/Aladino y la lámpara marvillosa, p. 145; January, 2007, DeAnn Okamura, review of Ms. Rubinstein's Beauty, p. 100.
Pep Montserrat Home Page, http://www.pepmonsterrat.com/ (July 15, 2007).