Leonardo Quiles

Watercolor

Leonardo Quiles is an author, illustrator, and educator. His career in computer generated visual effects for feature film and advertising laid the groundwork for his interest in sequential narrative. Visual storytelling inspires his interest in developing original content for children’s graphic novels, as well as animation, editorial illustration, and other comics work. 

Leo studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design and holds a BA is Art History from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an MFA in Illustration from the University of Hartford. He is an elementary school Visual Arts teacher working and living in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts with his wife, their two children, and their puppy Roxy.

Leo is the recipient of the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship with author/illustrator Mike Curato, Flamer, Henry Holt, 2021.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book as a child was “Where the Wild Things Are”. I remember wanting to draw like Maurice Sendak, even as a child. I would copy his characters, sometimes tracing them. I especially liked the griffin character from the Wild Rumpus scene. I imagine there is still an element of Sendak’s work influencing my own work today.

Visit Leo at:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT LEO

Location:

Art Process:

I keep a sketchbook and I draw regularly. My design process always begins with drawing. My solution is found somewhere between my head and my hand. As I am cognitively working out the design problem, I am also visually problem solving on paper. Once I have a sketch I’m happy with, I’ll bring it into Procreate to clean-up, to finalize the composition and to set the scale for the final artwork. The sketch is then printed onto a heavy stock paper, like watercolor or vellum. If the final work is a comics page, I’ll ink the line work traditionally with steel nibs and paint watercolor for the fills. If the work is a more traditional illustration, I’ll paint the final steps in gouache.

Mediums:

Awards and honors:

2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Award with author/illustrator Mike Curato, Flamer, Henry Holt, 2021.  

2021 Practice Kindness, pencil, ink, watercolor on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum – permanent collection. 

2019 Charmed, porcelain. 20-year anniversary show for Sienna Patti Contemporary, Lenox, MA. Museum of Fine Arts Boston – permanent collection.

2018  Murray Tinkelman Award for Excellence in Illustration.

Available for School Visits:

I am an elementary school visual arts teacher. In many ways, I feel as though I do a school visit every day! 

For author visits, I read a passage from my graphic novel, HOME, then lead an activity where we create a “mini-zine” with 8.5×11’ paper and pens. I can also work with students to create a folded paper sculpture of a traditional folk mask, a vejigante, that they can color, cut, fold, glue and wear. 


Claudia Rueda

Watercolor

Claudia Rueda is a Colombian picture book author, New York Times Best Seller illustrator and a 2016 Hans Christian Andersen award nominee. Her books have been published throughout North America, Europe and Asia and have been translated into thirteen different languages. She’s the author of Bunny Slopes (Chronicle), a New York Public Library and Junior Library Guild Selection and the illustrator of Here Comes the Easter Bunny (Dial), a Kirkus Best Book of the year and a Goodreads Choice Award.

Claudia went to Law and Art school and worked as a political cartoonist in Colombia and then studied Children’s Book Illustration at UC Berkeley. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and she’s the 2009 recipient of the Billie M.Levy research grant awarded by the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I didn’t have access to many children’s books as a child. But I remember going again and again through the Andersen, Grimm and Oscar Wilde illustrated collection we had at home. I remember every simple picture from those books.

What do you love to do for fun?

Hiking, biking, traveling, reading, walking, cooking, bookstores, swimming, visiting markets, eating ice cream and laughing with my daughters.

Mediums:

Art Process:

I normally start by doodling, writing notes, and drawing rough sketches. I use a light color pencil for the first lines, then go over them with a 2B pencil. I find it intimidating to start with expensive paper or with an unerasable line. I’d rather allow myself to make mistakes.

The next step is to create a storyboard, and from there, a rough dummy of the book. Once the visual narrative seems to be working, I work on the appearance of the characters and then the sketches for the final art. After a few months I experiment with different media until I find the one that fits the story.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT CLAUDIA

Specialties:

Awards and honors:

Junior Library Guild Selection

NYPL Best Books for Kids Selection

Hans Christian Andersen Award Nomination

Astrid Lindgren Award Nomination

Kirkus Best Books Selection

Goodreads Choice Awards

New York Times Bestseller

Bank Street College Best Children’s Books

Amazon Little Bookworms Selection

Parents Magazine Best Children’s Book

​​CCBC choice selection

Oppenheim Platinum Award

IBBY Honor List Nomination

Available for School Visits:

I do library visits, both for children and librarians. For children, I do storytime, make some drawing samples and answer questions. For Adults, I talk or give a workshop on picture book creation.

Location:

Published books:

AS WRITER AND ILLUSTRATOR
-Redlocks and the Three Bears ·2021· Chronicle Books (coming in November)
-Bunny Overboard· 2020· Chronicle Books
-Hungry Bunny · 2018· Chronicle Books
-Bunny Slopes · 2016 · Chronicle Books
-Is it Big or is it Little? · 2013 · Eerdmans
-Huff & Puff · 2012 · Abrams Books
-No · 2010 · Groundwood
-My Little Polar Bear · 2009 · USA· Scholastic Press
-Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf Is Not Around · 2006 · USA· Scholastic Press

AS ILLUSTRATOR
-Here Comes Teacher Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2017 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2015 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes Valentine Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2015 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes The Easter Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2014 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes Santa Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2014 · Dial Penguin
-Nacho and Lolita · Text by Pam Muñoz · 2005 · Scholastic Press

Visit Claudia at:


Turtleboat

Watercolor

Turtleboat is a comic book artist and illustrator based in NYC. He works primarily with pen and ink, and colors either digitally or with watercolor. His clients include Okayplayer.com, Random House, and VOX Media. 

In his free time he watches highlights of PRIDE FC and K1 Championships, or collects reference photos from Pinterest and photo books. He also has a grey cat named Kato.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Favorite comic book growing up was definitely Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama.

What is your favorite food?

Favorite food is Korean braised beef stew made by my mom.

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT TURTLEBOAT

Art Process:

I start off with loose pencil sketches. After that, I spend a good chunk of time finding the correct reference materials. If I can’t find them, I pose for them myself (LOL).

Once the pencils are roughly in place, I utilize a lightbox to ink with a combination of nib pen, microns and brush. I scan the finished inks, and decide to either color traditionally with watercolor, or digitally with Photoshop. Once the back and neck aches start creeping in, I step away and stretch or workout a little bit. Then, back to the drawing!

Published books:

Awkwafina’s NYC 2015 – illustrator, sketch
Pankronicles: Early History of MMA – illustrator for Youtube series under Bloody Elbow, VOX Media

Mediums:

Location:

Visit Turtleboat at:

Available for School Visits:

I’ve spoken at a panel for comics creators at the Queens Book Festival, as well as at a program for high school students at the New School. I enjoy presenting about the craft of comics

Awards and honors:

Silent Manga Audition, Coamix – SMA5, Award Nominee
Silent Manga Audition – SMA4, Award Nominee


Rivkah LaFille

Watercolor

Rivkah LaFille (pronounced “lah-fee”) is a children’s illustrator, writer, designer and graphic novelist living in Austin, TX. Her graphic novel series, Steady Beat, was nominated to the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. She was nominated as a Lulu of the Year by Friends of Lulu for her work in promoting women in comics, and she won the Austin SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Award, presided over by Caldecott winner and New York Times bestselling author, Dan Santat.

In the early 2000s, she was the publisher and art director of a small literary publishing house, Rabid Press. Her “eureka!” moment happened when one day she woke up and realized she was going to make comics for the rest of her life instead. She did. She does. And she hasn’t looked back since.

Currently, she is illustrating a graphic novel with First Second, another with Candlewick, teaching comics-making classes, and making magic!

What was your favorite book as a child?

Miss Rumphius is STILL one of my favorites. It’s all about leaving the world a better place than we found it, which is basically my life motto.

What do you love to do for fun?

Gardening is my Happy Place. There is something so satisfying in taking care of a plant from seed, watering it, tending it, and watching it turn into a fruit or vegetable that you can eat. But watching the cycles of nature reminds me of the cycles within my own life: that even as the world grows and blooms and dies, new life is born out of it once again.

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT RIVKAH

Art Process:

My art process is a balance between logical problem-solving and creative intuition. I begin by thinking about the project as a whole: what is the tone, the technique, the style that would best suit this project? What is its age range? What’s the timeline? Every project has different demands, and before I start drawing, I think of what those demands are and how to answer them.

The rest, however, is largely a matter of doing and refining. Whether I’m creating fast and loose storyboards or finely detailed picture books, working in digital or analog mediums, the end result is an editorial style that refines itself with every step until it becomes exactly what the project needs: something that speaks loudly and clearly to my audience!

Published books:

STEADY BEAT v1 – Tokyopop – 2005 (YA LGBTQ+ graphic novel)
STEADY BEAT v2 – Tokyopop – 2007 (YA LGBTQ+ graphic novel)
MANGAKA AMERICA – HarperCollins – 2007 (tutorial book)
CREATIVE WRITING WITH MISS MARY MAC – First Second – date TBD (nonfiction graphic novel)

Location:

Visit Rivkah at:

Available for School Visits:

I love talking to (and with) students! My talks range from discussing my comics-making process to more inspirational-type discussions about finding your path in life and how to not be afraid of making mistakes…and to learn and grown from them! I specialize in talking to teens and tweens, but also adults wanting to make graphic novels for ages babies to teens.

Awards and honors:

Nominated to the YALSA GREAT GRAPHIC NOVELS for TEENS List in 2007
Friends of Lulu Award 2007 – Nominee
Winner of the 2019 SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Award (and runner up previous two years) presided over by Caldecott Winner Dan Santat


Eva Cabrera

Watercolor

Latina comic artist, Will Eisner and GLAAD Award nominee, Eva Abrera is the co-founder of Mexican studio BoudikaComics. She was born in Veracruz, Mexico, but most of the time she likes to travel and see other places. She is a lover of animals, magic and nature. In her free time she likes to read books and play video games.

Since she was little, she has been fascinated by telling stories through drawing. Little by little, she has developed her work as a female comics artist, and it’s become very important for her to be a representative of the creative women in Mexico.

She drew the Betty & Veronica series: Archie Comics’ Vixens, Black Mask Studio’s “Kim & Kim”, and has worked with publishers such as TopCow, ComiXology Originals, etc. She has done covers for BOOM Studios’ Adventure Time comics.

She makes videos on Youtube where she shares her experiences as a creator. You can find her on all her social networks as @evacabrera.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Alice in Wonderland. I loved the idea of traveling to a crazy and psychedelic world.

Who or what inspires you the most, and why?

I could make a long list of people and things that inspire me — but generally, what inspires me is people who are striving to achieve their dreams and who emanate a very positive energy in the world.

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT EVA

Art Process:

I always start with a sketch on paper. I like to write many ideas and sketch whatever comes to mind. Later I pick the ideas that seem most functional and start experimenting, reworking them on the computer.

When I work for publishers, I have to be faster, so I’ve started to work primarily digitally, but if I have time, I make ideas with watercolor or inks.

My priority is to deliver on the established dates, but I never neglect quality. I still feel that I have a lot to learn. That is the cool thing about my work: even with all the years that I have been a comic artist, I continue to learn and will never stop learning.

Published books:

  • Betty and Veronica: VIXENS (Archie Comics, 2016 – Present)
  • Open Earth (Oni Press, 2017)

And many others… click here for a complete bibliography.

Location:

Visit Eva at:

Available for School Visits:

I love doing readings and literary workshops for both adults and children. Spanish is my native language and I prefer doing events in Spanish.

Awards and honors:

Nominations:
GLAAD Award 2019 “Oh S#!t it’s Kim & Kim” as best “Outstanding Comic Book”
Will Eisner Award 2017 “Kim & Kim” as best “Limited Series”


Joe Latham

Watercolor

Joe Latham is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Bristol, UK. He cut his teeth creating custom MySpace Pages (RIP) for bands, which lead to a lot of interesting projects. From designing bespoke Golf Balls for celebrities to animating music videos for Cradle of Filth, Joe has done design work for Jilly Cooper, The Joy Formidable, Five Seconds of Summer, Uniform Dating, Ok Cupid, IndieGoGo, a number of UK Universities, Sony Music, and Warner Music, to name a few.

Joe has self-published a number of comic books and regularly exhibits at UK comic festivals. He’s planning to exhibit at other European and International festivals in the future. He loves meeting people and talking to them about his work.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Winnie the Pooh, or possibly The Giraffe, The Pelican and Me. It’s a tough call, because Roald Dahl was exciting in a way that other books have never been, but Winnie the Pooh has stayed with me forever. I used to take a collected version to my Mum’s piano lessons when I was a kid, and sit there next to a stinky gas fire with a tubby black-haired scotty dog. The dog would lay on its back getting a weird sunburn on its belly from the fire (and it would fart, all the time).

What cool travel spots would you most highly recommend?

Copenhagen, for its incredibly comfortable culture, amazing pastries (get a hot cinnamon swirl, your life will never be the same again), great coffee and beer, cool electric city bicycles, amazing museums and great food. 

I’d also recommend Berlin. It’s an amazing place, though it changes every year. It never sleeps. Seriously.

One of the happiest times of my life was driving up the West coast of the USA. We hired a car and drove from San Francisco up to Portland. It was the most free I’ve ever felt, and I hope to go back one day for longer adventures.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT JOE

Art Process:

I like my work to feel tangible and retain a sense of the energy you get from those early drawings, so I try to make sure the final pieces are refined enough, yet expressive. It means that each stage of the process is relatively quick in order to keep some of that feeling.

Typically I draw my thumbnail sketches with a Fountain Pen, then using a smaller paper size I will draw the final piece in rough using Blue Col-erase pencils (these are used a lot by animators – they don’t smudge yet aren’t too hard, so you can be nice and expressive). I then scan this, print it faintly on to smooth finish (hot press) Watercolour paper (it has a touch more tooth than Bristol board so I find it suits my inking style better – less smudges). Then I ink over this, mostly using a Kolinsky Sable no6 brush and a pot of ink, some fine liner work in there too. Scan it, colour it using Photoshop and an array of collected brushes that I’ve picked up down the years. I have a small handful that I return to most often.


David Pierce

Watercolor

Dave Pierce is an Author/Illustrator from the Northwest.

He re-discovered his passion for telling stories when he taught reading alongside his wife in the same Elementary classroom. Shortly after, he gained his certification to teach Art (K-12) and dove into the kidlit world via SCBWI. He is motivated by the “Ah-Hah!” moments that come when children read and stories that invite us to explore our place in the world.

He graduated from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Illustration, and studied Character Design and Digital Painting through The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling.

What do you love to do for fun?

Snowboard, Soccer, Hike, Music, Board and Video Games, and lots more. I probably have too many interests, but each one is so fun.

Favorite travel spots:

I’ve done a lot of travelling around Europe, but I have to say that Austria is my favorite. Go to Salzburg in the late spring and head into the mountains. Tell me you won’t have the Sound of Music running through your head!

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT DAVID

Art Process:

I try and leverage both digital and traditional media in my workflow.

One of the best things about working digitally is you can always undo things and make sweeping adjustments to composition by transforming and moving. This makes it a powerful tool early on when the ideas are just sketches. (Just don’t forget to click Save!)

As good as digital tools are, there’s something so *tangible* about creating traditionally. The feels and smells are wonderful, and I’ll get happy accidents that can inspire. Plus, you can work outside on a sunny day! (A rare treat in Washington State.)

I’ll usually make thumbnail ideas by pencil and scan them into the computer. Once in digital form, I’ll move its chunks around until I’m excited about it. From here I have a choice to continue digitally or print out the art for transfer via a light table. This works great for moving forward with Ink and Watercolor.

Sometimes I’ll stay traditional if it’s graphite or dry media, or go all-digital if it’s going to be something that demands more control. The important thing is knowing your tools and which approach will be most useful.

Location:

Visit David at:

Available for School Visits:

I enjoy doing visits in the classroom setting. This allows for hands-on learning with the students and making something collaborative together. My goal is to inspire the next generation of creatives, and to encourage anyone to try drawing and storytelling, whether they consider themselves an artist or not.


Elizabeth Jancewicz

Watercolor

Elizabeth grew up in remote northern Quebec where she developed her love of natural landscapes and wild animals, which greatly influence her paintings.

She spends much of her time touring the country with her husband Eric in their band Pocket Vinyl, where she creates large fantastical oil paintings on stage while Eric sings and plays music. In 2019 they beat the world record for playing shows in all 50 states in the fastest time (45 days).

Elizabeth also writes & illustrates a twice-weekly autobiographical webcomic called The Touring Test, which focuses on the characters of Elizabeth & Eric, their two cats, and their experiences of being in a small touring band on the road.

Artist and graphic novelist Elizabeth Jancewicz headshot

Who or what inspires you the most, and why?

I love being around creativity. My walls are filled with other artists’ work, my shelves are full of graphic novels, and I love spending my time in DIY art spaces and seeing how other people interpret and express their individual creativity. I feel very fortunate to live and work with a creative person, whose artistic medium is so vastly different than mine.

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT ELIZABETH

Mediums:

Art Process:

I describe myself as purely a traditional artist. I’ll “clean up” pieces in Photoshop (brightening colours, or adding shading to my inked comics), but besides that I do not work digitally.

My comics are all penciled onto bristol paper, then inked in pen and marker.

My oil paintings are typically done on gessoed masonite board.

I like to work fairly quickly so that I can’t overthink an idea. I may then step away and let it sit for a while before either changing things up or deciding it’s finished.


Jenny Fine

Watercolor

Jenny Fine is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and designer. She got her start in Los Angeles doing posters and merchandise for comedians. Her work can be seen on television (Room 104, I <3 You America, Children’s Hospital), on the web (Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Dreamworks TV), and in editorial (Vice).

Before moving to New York, she spent 3 years as a Digital Designer, first at Warner Brothers and then at the CW Network. She enjoys salsa dancing, karaoke, history podcasts, and creating comics about her quirky interactions.

Favorite food:

Chèvre with sweet potato, chèvre with honey crisp apple, or chèvre with cherry tomatoes and avocado and taco seasoning on top.

What was your favorite book as a child?

The books I favored most were the ones where I could pore over each little detail, like “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” and “The Littles” especially, with the detailed cross sections of the characters homes that were built into unconventional places with improvised furniture. I also loved books that I could experience viscerally. I don’t remember the title, but one I read all the time was about a man who needed to make his ration of cheese last while traveling a long distance. I would slowly nibble a piece of cheese while reading, finishing it at the end along with the protagonist.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT JENNY

Mediums:

Specialties:

Art Process:

I do “pencil push-ups” every day before I start on an assignment. I get to draw anything I want, but I stay within the medium and subject matter. This usually involves an ipad because most of my jobs are digital.

When I start a new project I stir up inspiration by searching through thrift store fashion Instagram accounts – they rarely have uniformity with regards to “traditional” beauty standards; and they have really fun color themes and locations.

Colors are either done using Photoshop, resulting in a slightly more polished look, or hand-painted with watercolor for a more classic, vintage feel.

Location:

Visit Jenny at:

Published books:

Not announced yet.

Awards and honors:

Member of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS)

Available for School Visits:

Yes.


Michele Cajes

Watercolor

Michele Cajes is a Filipino-American illustrator based in the Bay Area. She loves to create fun illustrations with bright, bold color combinations. Her main goal is to get people excited and happy when they see her illustrations. If it starts a conversation, it’s very satisfying.

She graduated from the Academy of Art with a Master in Fine Arts focusing on sequential illustration. She’s had illustrations in 3 zine projects and has been a part of a fully backed Kickstarter artbook called Amongst the Toadstools.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein The illustrations and poems still draw me in.

Favorite travel spots:

Jedediah Redwoods State Park was a great place to camp and hike. It’s like time stands still when walking through giant redwoods centuries old.

Mediums:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT MICHELE

Specialties:

Art Process:

Before I start working on a rough draft with pencil and paper, I look up references like costumes, props, patterns, plants or locations. I try to have at least two strong ideas sketched out for the client for their approval to move forward with one.

If the illustration is colored and there was no specific color palette given, then I send a clean inked digital draft with color roughs for approval. I then complete the illustration digitally.

Location:

Visit Michele at:

Available for School Visits:

Yes.