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How did you become a picturebook maker?

As a child, I liked to draw all the time. The first story I wrote and illustrated was a non-fiction Shakespearean tragedy about my pet turtle devouring all the fish in the tank. I was about 9 or 10.

Then, my sister, who is 11 years older than me, studied Graphic Design, and I thought that her homework looked like a lot of fun so I decided to study the same thing. But later on, when I started working as a designer, I discovered that what I really wanted to do was to become an illustrator. Basically all my favourite projects involved drawing!


Since there weren’t any illustration courses in Mexico, and I didn't feel like I was 'a real illustrator', I decided to use (almost) all of my savings to do a short illustration course in Barcelona. This experience motivated me to apply for a scholarship to study at ENSAD in Paris. During that time, I focused on experimenting with different media and I began to feel like I was finally discovering my own voice. But still, I hadn't been able to get any of my own stories published. So, in 2016, I decided to travel again, and do the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and finally, after graduating from the MA and being nominated to the Sebastian Walker Award I got my first opportunity to write and illustrate my first picturebook.

What inspires you?

Broadly speaking, most of my ideas come from personal experiences and things that interest me. For example, I came up with the idea for Gustavo because as a child, I was as shy as he is, and I got the idea for Leila after baking a really complicated unicorn cake with my sister and nieces (besides I thought that it would be really fun to draw witches). 


I feed my work with the things that I love and care about like my family, folklore, my Mexican background, references to film, music, books and even the art of my friends. 

What materials do you use?

Generally speaking, I use a mix of traditional and digital media, but there isn't really a straightforward answer as it all depends on the project! I try to share – as often as possible – pictures and videos about the materials and inspiration on my Instagram. You can also watch this video to sneak behind the scenes of my first picturebook.

What is your favourite horror film?

The Mexican classic horror film Veneno para las Hadas / Poison for the Fairies (1986) directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada. In this film a girl named Veronica terrorizes another girl – coincidentally named Flavia – into thinking that she is a witch. And although it all seems like innocent childhood games, the story takes a really dark turn!


Any tips for getting started as an illustrator?

  • Draw all the time!

  • Try out all the materials, learn which ones you enjoy working with.

  • Draw things that you love and care about.

  • Don’t polish turds! Sometimes it is just better to leave 'bad drawings' to die and start fresh!


And remember….

There’s probably loads of fantastic unpublished work out there. Besides being a very competitive industry, publishing a book can feel like finding a romantic partner: There might be loads of lovely people out there, but for one reason or another you might not be right for each other. So don’t get discouraged!

Where can I buy your books?

You can find my books at your favourite indie bookshop in the US, or in the UK. The books can also be found at Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and at you-know-where.

En Méxicopueden encontrar mis libros en las Librerías Ghandi, en El Péndulo y quizás en algunas librerías independientes.

Do you sell your artwork?

At the moment I only have a limited number of riso prints, please send me an email if you would like to get one.


Would you come to our school or event?

Maybe! For information about events in the UK, please contact my publisher Walker Books.

Can I hire you to illustrate my book?

I only check manuscripts that come through my agent or through a publisher.


Some aspiring children's book authors might think that it's their responsibility to find an illustrator for their text, but actually, it’s the publishers work – pride and joy – to match authors and illustrators! So, unless you're planning to self-publish – or you're planning to draw your own pictures – it's better to avoid including any with your manuscript.


If you are an author seeking an illustrator for your book (or an illustrator seeking to get published), I would advise you to find a literary agent. An agent will help you sell the manuscript to an editor at a publishing house and will also negotiate the best deal for you!


If you want to know more, you can join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, where you can find more resources for getting published. I would also suggest checking this list of writing competitions in the UK.

You might find more detailed answers to these (and other questions) here:


Or on these podcasts:

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