Sunday, August 2, 2020


These are some of the small book dummies I made to send to my dearest editor at Chronicle Books, Ariel Richardson and to the books' s art director, the wonderful designer Amelia Mack. We were trying to figure out if the layouts would work out fine for the reader to interact.

In this first dummy, I was testing the option of asking the reader to TURN the book to the left so I could "fill" the whole page with water. In the story, Bunny jumps from the boat to go snorkeling underwater. We ended up deciding that it might be confusing for the reader and decided instead to move the horizon line to the top of the page.

So in this second dummy, I tested the way it would look if I moved the water line to the top of the page. This is the option we went for at the end.

This scene didn't end up being part of the book. Bunny would tap on the clouds to make rain, son the page would fill up with water.


Bunny Overboard is the third of an interactive books series I published by Chronicle Books. The reader takes part in the development of the story by shaking the book to make waves, blowing to bring the wind for the sails and touching creatures under the ocean. 

I created several storyboards and thumbnails for this book, so the consequences of the interaction with the reader would be clear and the story would develop smoothly. You can see the final art from the blowfish scene bellow. 

In these two spreads from the book, the blowfish inflates after the reader pats it in the previous page when asked by the narrator.

This sequence of Bunny climbing to the boat didn't end up being in the book. Editing is more an act of trimming than adding.

The jump scene in the storyboard and the the final images for the book.

Bunny Overboard has been translated into French: Bayard Editions Simplified Chinese: Trustbridge German: Gerstenberg Verlag

Saturday, August 1, 2020


This is a book about two mice who find the same big piece of cheese and also a story about conflict. An old rat comes to the story to solve the dispute, but she's not as reliable as the naif mice would expect.

The story was inspired by a very old fable about two mice, a monkey and a piece of cheese. I found it in this small book published in French 1829, Fables by Perrin.

These are the first thumbnails I made for the picture book version of the story. I kept some of the elements for the final version, but then decided to move the story from a kitchen to the streets.

These are some sketches for the storyboard, with more detail on the visual narrative.

I made a map of the place where the story was going to take place, for the sake of consistency and clarity of the visual sequence. This was before I decided to change the place where the story would take place.

These are some of my first sketches of mice and rats. I normally use videos instead of photographs as reference. I like the movement in order to grab the "spirit" of the animal or person.

In this sketches you can see more characterization of the animals, more facial expression and individualization. Also, I'm beginning to move them around in the poses I will need for the story.

This is an even closer version to the final illustrations for the book, but without much details.

Here you can compare the original image form the thumbnails and the final illustration for the book.

Often I create clay models for my characters and then take pictures. It's quite useful for consistency and it gives you much more flexibility when deciding how to move your characters around your story.

This is one of the final illustrations for the book, made in graphite and color pencils.

This book was originally published in Spanish by Oceano Travesia and then translated into Danish (Turbine) Chinese (168 Books) Korean (Bookstory)


FORMAS is an eighty-page silent book and a good example on how to tell a story only with pictures. At the beginning of the story we might thing it is the woman's journey, but the surprise comes when we realize that the main character of the story is something different. Being a journey and story told only with pictures, I had to create a map of the place for the sake of clarity and causality.

This is a detail of the map showing the first pages of the book. The girl descending the stairs on the left will walk from left to right, meet some people on the street walking in both directions and then she will meet the person who is carrying a shape that fits exactly with hers. The thing is, the story will not be that predictable, and that becomes one of the themes of the book. You can see in the book that the P.O.V. on these pages keeps the same distance for all the scenes and "the camera" moves for left to right in order to follow the girl.

In these first pages, I keep the horizontal line for the ground on the same level so it's easy for the reader to understand the actor's (the girl) movement on the stage.

When the fish falls into the water, the "camera" zooms out so I can show the boat. Later it's going to zoom in again in order to show what will happen on board.

Here's an interview where I talk about about the book at the Guadalajara Book fair in Mexico.

FORMAS was originally published by Editorial Oceano in 2009. It was then translated to Korean (Damphus), French (Alice)Portuguese (Hedra Educaçao) and Chinese (Phei Publishing House).

Friday, July 31, 2020


My picture book "No" was published in 2011 (Ed.Oceano). It took a lot of time in the making. With the help and wise opinion from people I love and trust, it ended up being a book I cherish and that kids and librarians adore. Things I like from this book: the rythm, the suspense, the little bear child's voice, the journey.  I'm sharing some of the steps in the making of "No" in here.

These were the first thumbnails for the book. At that time, the title was "IN", since I my. original intention was to pair it with another book about a mole who wanted to leave his home underground and it was called OUT.

This book hasn't found a publishing house yet, but it was the reason why I made the book called "No".

This is a video of one of the first dummies for the book and the one I sent to publishers for consideration. This version is very close to the thumbnails. The story is also very similar to the final book, except for the design of the spreads, more economy on the text and the final line which made it a much better book.

This is a photograph of the book in its original version, published in Spanish by Oceano Travesia.

An interior double spread from the English version, published by Groundwood Books, compared to the thumbnail version. In the final version, I began to add the snow fall from the beginning and gradually add the snow on every page. Also, I decided to add an owl, as a reference to the coming of the night.

I placed this scene of little bear playing on page 5 of the thumbnails. On the final version, it became the opening scene and the mother only appears in the text. She interrupts that very special moment for the little bear saying it's time to sleep. I also decided to add the last leaf of Autumn and a couple of snowflakes to announce the beginning of Winter.

My book "No" has been translated into seven different languages including French, English, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.

The Italian edition of my book NO was the recipient of the Nati Per Leggere (Born to Read) Award. This award aims to support the best editorial production for preschoolers in Italy. It was also a CCBC choice in 2011 and it got Booklist Starred Review.

Thursday, July 30, 2020


When I was asked to illustrate the first book of the Cat series by wonderful author Deborah Underwood, I knew from the manuscript that the story was strongly supported on characterization. I did hundreds of sketches and explored many different options for the way Cat would look like. This is a sample of one of the sketches that I brought to the meeting at the Penguin offices in New York City.

And this is the way Cat ended up looking like.

These are some studies for Cat's facial expressions.

And here and article from The Children's Book Review, where I speak with Deborah Underwood about the process of creating the book and Cat's character.