Thursday, October 27, 2022

Terry Mosher remembers Pascal Élie

From The Montreal Gazette.

With cats and cartoonists, Pascal Élie took surprises in stride, Aislin remembers

Pascal fretted over his drawings, spending much of the day creating rough sketches before coming up with a final cartoon, Terry Mosher says.

My friend Pascal Élie, editorial cartoonist for Le Devoir, died at 63 last week after struggling with a debilitating disease diagnosed when he was only 49. 

Always the professional, Pascal supplied cartoons for the newspaper until just days before his death.

When Pascal started out as a cartoonist around 2001, he didn’t know any practising caricaturists other than Serge Chapleau at La Presse and myself at the Montreal Gazette

So Serge and I took him to a convention of cartoonists in Toronto. Pascal was so pleased to meet the Globe and Mail’s Brian Gable and other scribblers he admired from across the country. 

Jokers by nature, we had a surprise in store for “the new guy.” 

During a meeting, Pascal stepped out briefly. While he was gone, we elected him the new president of our association.

Pascal impressed us all the following year by doing a great job organizing our convention in Quebec City — no one realized that Pascal was actually a lawyer and highly organized. 

He had studied both law and visual arts at L’Université de Montréal. However, he chose to follow his first passion: cartooning.

Pascal’s early sketches, created for university student publications and Quebec law magazines, were followed by cartoons for La Presse and Le Trente, a magazine for Quebec professional journalists. 

He began working at the Gazette in 2001, contributing cartoons for the front page and occasionally the editorial page. 

That relationship lasted 15 years. 

Then, in 2016, Pascal moved over to Le Devoir, working in tandem with the caricaturist Garnotte (Michel Garneau).

Pascal was one of those rare, fluently bilingual individuals who could work both in French and English. 

He possessed insight into both communities. It showed in his work.

He fretted over his drawings, spending much of the day creating rough sketches to come up with a final cartoon. 

Unlike me, he always welcomed other people’s opinions.

He and his wife, Charmian Harvey, were married in 1993. 

At the centre of their relationship were their two sons, Olivier, 27, and Manu, 24. 

They had worried at times as their sons went through their rambunctious teenage years. 

I always reassured Pascal that the four of them were good, decent people and that the boys would turn out fine, as they did.

When Pascal was drawing, their cat would jump on his lap. Charmian said he would never brush the cat aside, instead curling his arms to draw around their pet. 

That is one of her fondest memories.

My favourite Pascal cartoon was drawn for Valentine’s Day in 2003. 

Rather than the usual hearts and flowers, Pascal drew an ordinary, anonymous couple out walking on a dismal grey Montreal winter day. 

Their reaction to each other had me laughing for days whenever I thought of it. Genius!

I think you will agree Montreal has lost a great contributor to our society.

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