Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 24, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Gladys Jose

Gladys Jose is an illustrator and storyteller. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2012, where she earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts degree, specializing in graphic design. She has worked with clients such as Scholastic Book Fairs, Tangerine Press (a Scholastic imprint), SunDance Graphics and many others.

Gladys lives in sunny state of Florida, with her husband and daughter. They spend most of their days trying to recall if they had carpet or tile underneath the mountains of toys and books. Time will tell… unless it gets worse. It doesn’t get worse… does it?

Here is Gladys explaining her process:

I normally start off with rougher sketched but I couldn’t find my sketch book. 

I do most of my work in Photoshop. But really any of these steps can be applied to most drawing software.

step 1: once I have a rough idea and composition of the illustration, I make a sketch that has most of the details that I want in my final piece.

step 2: I then take the sketch in Photoshop, set it to “multiply” and start coloring in a layer underneath it. I don’t care too much for it too look perfect at this stage.

This is something I didn’t always do when I first started, BUT mocking up the colors actually saves me a lot of time and keeps me from getting to finished piece and NOT liking the color palette i end up with.

step 3: I start laying out the flat colors for all of the shapes. I don’t add a ton of details at this point.

step 4: For the shadows I add a layer set it to “soft light” and in a dark blue or dark purple start adding in the shadows.

step 5: I add another layer I add details I may have missed. I add textures, fur, blush etc.

step 6: For the “highlights” I add a new layer, set it to “overlay” or “soft light” and use the either white, or an very soft yellow. for this particular piece its hard to really see it because the opacity for this layer was set to 15%.

Here is a video to see it in action:

Interview Questions for Gladys Jose

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve always loved art and drawing. But I got serious about honing my illustration skills about 6 years ago.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Before I graduated I had painted the new music/theater building at the University of Central Florida, and the Dean bought it.

What made you choose the University of Central Florida to study graphic design?

It had a good program and was close to home.

Did the art school present any opportunity to delve into children’s illustrating?

Not really. There was one illustration class, but I never had the opportunity to take it because I was so focused on graphic design at the time.

Did the school help you find illustration work?

Yes, through networking events. But the work was more graphic design related.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

Not really, at UCF since everything was more fine art or graphic design related. After graduating I took a ton of online classes through with Will Terry and Jake Parker when they first started offering their online classes and honestly I think 75% of my growth as an artist was from that.

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I got freelance work doing graphic design and building props for scholastic book fairs photoshoots.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

During my last semester when I realized I wasn’t as excited about designing logos and websites as I thought I was. I’ve always liked telling stories and illustrating gave me the freedom to create new characters and worlds.

Have you illustrated a picture book or book dummy?

Yes, I’ve Illustrated a few dummies.

How did you find representation with the CAT Agency?

I met Chris Tugeau at a Florida SCBWI portfolio event a few years ago. And Have been in close contact with Chris and Christy since then.

Have you done any book covers?

I haven’t but would love to if given the opportunity.

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


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

Unfortunately, at the moment, no.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I’m working on my first one with Highlights Magazine now!

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

The first dummy I ever created was wordless.

What do you think is your biggest success?

My biggest success would have to be managing a freelance career while taking care of a toddler! Haha

What is your favorite medium to use?

I love gouache, markers, pastels! I love everything, I can’t really pick! But most of my Illustrations are actually done digitally!

Has that changed over time?

Yes. I think having a toddler running around means you need to adjust your routine and way of doing things. I don’t get huge 10 hours of uninterrupted time to work like I use to. It’s easier to stop and save a file digitally and pick it up later when I have another small window to work.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

I have two studios at home! My office and the dinning room table! I wake up ridiculously early and get more focused work done in the office. During the day I work  on my laptop in mini chunks of time (or whatever my daughter allows) I save emails and easier tasks for dinner-table-day-time work.

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

I try to spend the quiet morning hours doing creative work. Usually I’ll wake up between 4a and 5a and work till 8a.

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

I have a Pinterest board for every single project I work on. Also, for the dummy I’m working on I actually recorded myself acting out each character to get poses to look as “natural” as possible. If I can go out I take pictures. I do that as well.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

The internet is really great. But I feel like meeting people in person is still best. I love attending conferences and workshops and getting to know people in “real life”.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I use photoshop.

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

Yes, and it’s the best investment you can make!

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

My dream would be to have long career in writing and Illustrating picture books!

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a really silly humorous picture book dummy! I’m really excited about it!

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.

Don’t be too attached to your sketchbook. I know a lot of artist who just sketch and sketch but never take any work to final art. Sketching I great don’t get me wrong, but you need to get to a point where you’re also creating finished pieces. Also, I don’t own a sketchbook. I’m too much a perfectionist and end up not drawing in them because I want to draw something nice. Instead I use regular printer paper, it makes making ugly drawings easier, hehe.

If you can afford a drawing tablet, get one! It makes working on digital stuff feel more natural.

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

Just put in the hours. Like everything in life, it takes time and hard work. Will you have to balance your day job and working on honing your skills in the beginning? Yes. Will you have to sacrifice your spare time? Yes. Will you cry out of frustration? At least once a week! Will you want to give up? Probably. Should you? NO! Keep going! Please keep going! If it’s something you are serious and passionate about don’t do yourself the injustice of not giving it your all and giving up.

Thank you Gladys for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Gladys’ work, you can visit her at her website:

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

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Such charming work – love the vibrancy and sense of fun!


  2. This is wonderful – I love the vibrancy and familiarity of your illustrations and I love your encouraging words! (And I’m with you on balancing kids and work and pursuing your dream – not easy but a must-do!)


  3. Gladys, I love EVERYthing about your work! And REALLY enjoyed the video! I do ache to own a tablet and REALLY learn photoshop. Just wonderful stuff. So beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing! (and you, too, Kathy 😀 )


  4. Great post, fun to see the process for these adorable illustrations!


  5. Appreciated your art work and especially your encouragement. Thanks so much for sharing your process. Enjoyed the film also.


  6. Such energy and joie de vivre emanates from Gladys’s art! I love how the kids’ and animals’ faces are so expressive and really invite readers into the story moment. Although I am a children’s author (not illustrator), these Illustrator Saturday posts are my favorites! Thanks for creating the forum, Kathy. These blogs are always so entertaining AND informative/instructive.


  7. Quel talent! Belle découverte.


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