The National Film Board of Canada | 1943-1952

filmmaker by day, illustrator by night

This first job at the National Film Board of Canada, launched his professional career in the world of communications. In that bygone era, a job at the NFB meant high technology, state-of-the-art cameras, expensive and sophisticated equipment, specialized knowledge, pioneering new techniques, inventing a new visual vocabulary. An aura of prestige enveloped the artisans of this milieu.

In contemporary terms, this era of the '40s can be equated to our context where computers are overturning the creative world. Today, digital technology is disrupting work methods in many areas, especially the world of image. At that time, technologies related to optics and film were fueling a similar boom in the print and film industries.

Unlike yesterday, computing has democratized several creative tools and put their immense potential within the reach of everyone. However, whether it is photo, film, television or video games, the craftsmen possessing this knowledge inherit an aura of prestige they share with the pioneers of yesteryear
Stacks Image 1468

"From my perch"
a view from the attic where he dwelled in '43

As years pass…


  • He moved to Hull in the old town near the Ottawa River. His small second floor apartment overlooked a back yard.

  • At the National Film Board, he reconnected with his colleague René Jodoin, who was hired at the same time in Montreal. A third confrere, Fernand Menard, would join them in Ottawa after the war.

  • He co-directed a short film titled Popular songs # 2 in which he designed and animated the characters.



  • He held his first solo watercolor exhibition in Ottawa. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands acquired a watercolor.


  • He married Marguerite Gingras whom he met at the École des Beaux-arts in Montreal. Together they rented a flat on Laurier Street in Hull, Quebec.

  • Psychological First Aid a documentary on war related stress was released. It featured an animation sequence he designed.

  • Release of short films Let's All Sing Together, volumes 4, 5, 6, with animation sequences by J. P. Ladouceur.

  • He joined the team of Journal Francois, an illustrated monthly magazine for young French Canadians, as a chronicler and illustrator where he published his first comics.

Stacks Image 1944

Periodical of the Oeuvre Jacques-Cartier to which this front page brought a touch of lightness.


  • We find his illustrations in the first issue of traditional songbooks called La bonne chanson by Father Charles-Émile Gadbois. He produced, on occasion, other drawings for this publication in the following years



  • He participated in the fourth short film in the series The More We Get Together.

  • He exhibited watercolors and drawings at the Seraphic College of Ottawa and gave a conferenc on the job of professional artist.

  • He developed the signature logo of Le Carabin, Laval University student paper.

  • He helped building and decorating of the sets of the Marian Congress of Ottawa, described as the major Catholic event of 1947.

  • He signed the front page of L'Émerillon, a periodical publication of the "Oeuvre de Jacques-Cartier" a french canadian nationalist leaning thinktank.

  • Birth of a first child.

Stacks Image 1960

Front cover of Journal François, June 1948 among the thirty that he designed between '45 and '54.


  • He won a Canadian Film Award for the animated film Chantons Noël.

  • He collaborated regularly with Journal François until 1955. He illustrated and wrote many stories for its teenage readership. It's pages saw the creation of Pepinot and Capucine, famous hand puppets of early canadian television.

  • He illustrated Teddy du Saguenay a children's story written by Gilberte Tremblay featuring the life story of a likeable brown bear.



  • The Compagnons de Saint-Laurent a semi professional theatre company hired his talent to design sets, costumes and programs.



  • The couple bought a first house on Gamelin Street in Hull.

  • He worked on the animated short film Four songs by four gentlemen, designing articulated puppets and filming them in stop motion animation.

  • Birth of a second child.

Stacks Image 1966
Stacks Image 1968

Two images from Neighbors / Les voisins starring Jean-Paul Ladouceur


  • He directed a short film entitled Sur le Pont d'Avignon which featured hand puppets dancing on a traditional french song.

  • He worked on an animated short film "Sing a Little" with Evelyn Lambart.

  • Publication of "Film and its Technique" at Berkeley by Raymond Spottiswoode with illustrations by Ladouceur.



  • The American Motion Picture Academy presented the National Film Board of Canada with an Oscar for the animated film Neighbors shot in 1951, where Jean-Paul Ladouceur played one of the main characters under the direction of Norman McLaren.

  • At the dawn of television, he was seen as an ideal candidate to make the technological leap to this new medium.