The town of Caceres saw Ester grow up, come and go…
As long as she can remember, she always loved coloured pencils, acrylics and pastels.
After graduating in Fine arts at the University of Salamanca, Spain, she moved to Madrid, and started working in publishing houses there dedicating herself totally to her vocation.
Ester works in pencil, watercolors, acrylics and digitally.
She is always searching for a way to express her own dreams, and see inside and outside of things…
She has lived and worked in Madrid as an illustrator since 2008.
Here is Ester discussing her process on Illustration for The Wind in the willows. Ladybird Books.
This is the sketch or the first approximation to the composition. I usually do several point of view, and finally the last sketch was the good one with more foreground and air.
After the sketch I pass the image to watercolor paper, Canson Montval in this case, with pencil. And I start to work with a layer of watercolor over the pencil.
I continue defining details like lights, or fur, and shadows with Caran d´Ache color pencils. Layer over layer and working with the color I cover the watercolor. I leave some areas of the foreground without pencil color. The smallest details are made with mechanical pencil. And the final details of shadows are made by photoshop.
Here’s the final illustration!
Some Book Covers above and below.
How long have you been illustrating?
Since I was a kid…🙂 But I have been illustrating as a professional since 2008, more or less.
Have you always lived in Spain?
Yes, I have lived in different cities of Spain: Cáceres, Salamanca and Madrid. I love to travel as much as I can.
What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?
It was a big painting of a forest, made with oil paint while I was a student of Fine arts.
How did you decide to attend the Fine arts at the University of Salamanca in Spain?
Because I always loved to draw and paint, so I decided to follow this passion. Since I can remember I lived surrounded by children´s books. My mother is a school teacher so I learned a lot from illustrations and books. Finally, I linked both worlds, drawing and books. Studing Arts was the natural path for me.
What did you study there?
Painting, History of Art, Design and Engraving mostly.
Do you feel College helped develop your style?
At Fine Arts I was able to explore a lot of different things, and College helped to learn techniques, but style was something that comes after that.
What type of work did you do after you got out of school?
I started to work as an illustrator after got out of school.
Did art school help you get work when you graduated?
Have you seen your work change since you left school?
Yes, definitely. I can see an evolution in these 8 years of work, I am happy about that.
When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?
I think I always loved children´s books. My parents’ house was full of them when I was young, so maybe since then I was thinking about that.
What was your first book you illustrated?
It was in 2009, a book of young readers of Anaya Publisher: “Los tres cerditos y el inspector”.
How did that contract come about?
After the College I built up my first portfolio (small but solid) and I moved to Madrid. There I started to send my portfolio to several publishing houses, and Anaya liked my work and wanted to contract me for one book. I was really excited.
Did you do other types of illustrating before you got that book contract?
I made some illustrations for educational books before that contract.
How many picture books have you illustrated?
17 books. Working on 18 and 19. But I do other thigs as well, related with Design. I love to work for wine branding, for example, or packaging. As illustrators we can develope our work in a lot of stuff.
Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own book?
Yes, I would love to do that in the near future. I have some ideas, and all I feel I need is the time to make them real.
What book do you think was your biggest success?
I specially like the book “Why cats do not wear hats”, written by Victoria Pérez Escrivá and published in English by Epigram books.
Have you ever tried to do a wordless picture book?
How did you connect with Good Illustration to represent you?
They found my page in internet and got in touch with me. I was lucky.
Do you illustrate full time?
Yes, full time, every day.
Do you have a favorite medium you use?
I specially love watercolor, graphite and color pencils for work. I really enjoy these techniques.
Do you take research pictures before you start a project?
Yes, I use to look for information before I start a new project, to develop a new world in each book.
Have you work with any publishers in the United States?
Yes, mostly in schoolbooks projects. The last one for a National Geographic Spanish poetry big book.
Have you worked with any educational publishers?
Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?
I use Photoshop to detail and finish some artworks once I have scanned them. The final touch.
Do you have and use a graphic tablet?
Yes, I use a Wacom.
Do you do exhibits to show off your art?
I often take part in collective exhibitions here and there, in Spain or abroad.
Would you be willing to work with an author who wants to self-publish a picture book?
It depends on the story. If I see myself illustrating the text. At the end, it depends if that project touches me.
Has any of your work appeared in magazines?
Yes, in Spanish magazines like MIA magazine.
Are you happy with the studio in your house?
I am happy, I have a space with light where I can concentrate very easily. Especially by night, I am a like little owl.
Is there anything in your studio, other than paint and brushes that you couldn’t live without?
I can´t live without music, a nice light trough the window and my plants.
Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?
I believe more in the daily work than in good luck. So a normal day for me means working a lot! You have to be really disciplinated. But I also enjoy going out for a walk, reading a good book or being in contact with nature and friends. I think being an illustrator is not a part time job… it is more a full time way of thinking and seeing things. So you keep working or thinking even when you go out for a walk.
Any exciting projects on the horizon?
Totally! I am illustrating “On the origin of species” of Charles Darwin. I am loving this project. Since I was little I always loved drawing animals, the different families and species… so this project is a gift to me.
Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?
Yes. It is amazing how creatives and artists can reach and contact each other from any corner of the world! Today a lot of clients can find you via internet.
What are your career goals?
Enjoying every project, keeping the excitement of the first day. That is the challenge for me.
What are you working on now?
In Darwin, in a poetry book and in another children´s book for young readers.
Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you?
Technique tips? I love to work with different hardnesses of graphite in watercolor paper (especially Canson papers) and it works good for me. I also love the quality of Caran d´Ache color pencils, they are supreme.
Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?
Be patient and love what you do.
Some Black and Whites (Above and Below).
Thank you Ester for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Ester’s work, you can visit her at website at: http://3ster.blogspot.com.es/
If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Ester. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!