Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 20, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – André Ceolin

André Ceolin is a self-taught illustrator based in Brazil. He first worked as a professional illustrator in advertising agencies. However, being afraid of such labor market in Brazil, he elected to attend pharmacy school at college. Nevertheless, his passion for illustration spoke louder and he decided to devote 100% pf his time to what really fascinates him: illustrating.

He illustrated his first book (“Um Dia na Vida de Micaela” de Cauê Steinberg Milano – Editora Roda & Cia) in 2009. Since then, he has illustrated more than 20 books, issued by great publishers in Brazil (Roda & Cia, Saber e Ler, SM, Moderna, FTD, Editora do Brasio, Editora Abril) , targeted at children, middle-grade and young adult readers.

In order to develop and solidify my personal illustration style and learn new techniques, he attended some good art courses at renowned schools, such as SVA (School of Visual Arts) in NYC, Melies and Escola Panamericana de Artes, both in Brazil.

Even though his working technique is currently more focused on digital painting, he also makes use of traditional painting techniques such as inking, watercolor and crayons.

Here is André discussing his process:

I start with some thumbnails sketches, which are very small sketches, only to develop some ideas

next, I work on the ideas I liked the best, in order to have a clearer sketch.

Now, I work a little further on those sketches, in order to have a better Idea of light, shadows and composition. Those are the sketches I will send for the client for approval.

Once they are approved, I can proceed with the final art. Making use of Photoshop, the software I use for digital painting, I work to define the shapes and add colors to the images.

Same Process:

Below are some of Andre’s book covers:

Interview with André Ceolin

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating children books for about 9 years.

What and when was the first piece of art where someone paid you?

It’s hard to tell, but I can remember a time when I was a child, and I managed to sell a drawing ( don’t remember if it was a monster or a dragon)  to a friend of mine.

How did you get to take classes at Visual School of Arts in NYC when you live in Brazil?

It was on a period when I wasn’t developing any project, so I took the opportunity to travel to New York and attend the course. It was held on the summer, for around five weeks.

Were you already illustrating picture books when attended SVA?

Yes. I attended the course in 2014, and by that time, I have already illustrated several books here, in Brazil.

Do you feel SVA influenced your illustrating style?

Yes, through their feedback. I got some direction regarding things in my style that wasn’t working very well, and other ones that I should keep.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I made that decision by the time my son was around 4 years old, and noticed the amazing art in some children books I bought to him. The Idea of using art, in a creative way, to deliver great stories and good messages captivated me.

Do you do other types of illustrating in addition to children’s illustrating?

Although most of my work is focused on children, I love to work on illustration for young adults as well.

Have you illustrated a picture book or book dummy?

Yes, I usually do that whenever I receive only the text to work on, without any layout previously done by the client.

How did you get your first picture book contract?

It was back in 2009, when I met Beatriz, the art director of a publishing house in Brazil, who gave me the opportunity to work in my first picture book. Throughout that process, she  gave me many valuable insights and directions about my work. We are big friends nowadays.

Was DROUGHS your first illustrated picture book with a US publisher?

No, I worked on some projects for US publisher before.

How did you find representation with the MB Artists agency?

I was searching for a good representative in US, so I found the MB Artists website. I loved the works displayed there, and I wanted to be part of that. So, I got in touch with Mela Bolinao who was very kind and receptive. She liked my work and, some days later, she accepted me do be part of the MB family.

Is My Journey to the Stars your latest book?

Yes, that’s my latest released book. But I’m already working on some other projects for the near future.

With 20 books illustrated and published since 2009, you must have been extremely busy. Do you ever turn anything down?

Yes. I fit some small jobs between bigger ones, but sometimes I have to decline some projects from Brazil, for schedule reasons .

Have you done any book covers?

Yes, once here in Brazil, I’ve only worked on the cover of a book.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

Oh yes, that is something I really would love to do. I’m already working on some ideas for text-less books, because my English is still a little rusted.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

With this kind of project, a conjunction of things would need to happen to be successful, like a good chemistry and communication between author and illustrator,  a long period of time available to be devoted to that job in collaboration with other professionals from the publishing field and, of course, a good story. In my case, due to my schedule, It’s hard to have enough time to dedicate to this type of work. But it’s not impossible.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Yes, I’ve worked with publishers like Room to Read, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and  Scholastic Press.

You are probably too busy, but have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Yes, I´ve done illustrating for Times for Kids and Storytime Magazine

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, some of the future books I am working on, where I am also the author are wordless.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I thing my biggest success is to be part of MB Artists. Mela Bolinao is a great professional, who frequently gives me valuable orientation regarding my work and brings me great opportunities.

Now that you have an agent, do you do any work to find illustrating jobs?

Not directly. Now I work more on my style, and means to make my work more visible.

What is your favorite medium to use?

The computer is my favorite medium. I’ve been working with digital painting for a long time, so it became kind of natural for me. I also love to work with pencils and ink.

Has that changed over time?

There are so many things that have changed through all these years, but I can notice a deep changing in my style and the way I work.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes, but sometimes I struggle with all the daily distractions that take place at home, to the point that I have to go somewhere else to get inspired, mainly on the early stages of a project.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Yes, I always try to finish at least one illustration a day. But depending on the deadlines, sometimes I have to make some crazy calculations in order to know how much time I have available  to work on each image.

Do you take pictures or do any type of research before you start a project?

Yes, I do a lot of research through internet, and I go outside to see actual places and people, whenever I can.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

I don’t have any doubt about that. Without internet, it would be much more difficult showcasing my work, getting in touch with clients and publishers and receiving specs and send images. In addition, the internet allows me to learn new things, techniques and styles. When the internet is used in a proper manner, it is a wonderful tool.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Yes. Practically all my work is done by making use of Photoshop.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes, I have my Wacom Intuos.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Oh, there are so many, from working for the movies field to elaborating toys and action figures.

What are you working on now?

Once I am in that brief period between commissions, I’m working on a personal project, on which I am learning and improving on several fronts, like storytelling and style. Hopefully, it will be published in a near future.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

About digital painting, when thinking about buying a graphic drawing tablet, it is worth investing in a medium or large model instead of a smaller one. I have a small one that I use with my notebook wherever I go out to work, and a medium one that I use in my studio. I can feel a big difference mainly when I do some tracing or when I working on line art.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

I think one of the most important things you may  have when pursuing the illustration career is perseverance and a bit of self-confidence and faith. Even if you are struggling at the beginning and feeling a little down, If you stay on, things tend to get better as you acquire more experience.

Thank you André for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of André‘s work, you can visit him at his website:

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for André. I am sure he’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love your illustrations, Andre! They really pop off the page. And I wish I was the lucky writer who wrote the story to go with the undersea militia illos–really fantastic. Thanks for sharing with us.


  2. Lovely work, Andre! Thank you for sharing.


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