Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 17, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Valeria Abatzoglu

Class ’84, Valeria Abatzoglu was born in Rome from Italian mother and Greek father. She grew up in Greece but now lives and work in Rome. Growing up she was surrounded by colors and drawings (mother painter and dad architect) and started drawing as soon as she took the first pencil in her hand.

After earning a degree in architecture and graduating from the “Scuola Romana dei Fumetti”, she worked as an interior designer, then in 2016 she followed her true passion to live the electrifying life as a freelance illustrator. She works mainly in digital, but she also loves traditional medium such as acrylics, watercolor and crayons.

Although most of her time is spent drawing while listening to music, she reads a lot of books and enjoys sports.

I get emotional watching sport movies and I like, no matter where I am, sing Disney songs.

Here is Valeria discussing her process:

I aways start with a sketch that i develop later.

Sometimes I do it with pencils otherwise directly on photoshop.

When I define the final sketch, I do a layer for rough colors just to see if the final result is ok.

I do first flat colors and then I add shadows and lights.

Usually a I use various layers for the elements I’m coloring just in case I change my mind and I want to change color.


How long have you been illustrating?

I  grew up in an artistic environment ( my mother is a painter and my father an architect), so I’ve been drawing  from a very young age. But professionally 3-4 years.

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

An illustrated log for a shop here in Rome. Then portraits and illustrations for special occasions.

Did you go to school to study art? If so, where, when, and what did you study?

Actually, I have a bachelors in Architecture  and in the meanwhile I went  to the a school for comic design in Rome  ( SRF)

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

We had different classes, from cinema storyboards, the scientific illustration  but the development  of children’s illustration was a personal interest.

How did you find illustrating work? Did the school help?

When i ended the 3 years of comic school I focused on my architectural studies .

After that , I prepared a portofolio and I went  to the Bologna Children’s book fair and maked   contacts with publishers.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

It helped me to understand various techniques but a lot of personal research is what influenced me the most.

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

I worked as a architect/interior designer but in my free time I’ve always drawn and participated in illustration contests.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

The first time i laid my eyes on  a book by Rébecca Dautremer.

Have you illustrated a picture book or book dummy?

I’ve participated in a few fanzines but always with comic strips.

Are you a full time freelance illustrator?

Yes and I collaborate with a wedding planner as an illustrator.

How did you find representation with Beehive Illustration?

They were recommended to me and I send my portofolio to them.

Have you done any book covers?

My illustration won in a book cover literary contest a few years ago.

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

Yes. Actually I have a story on my mind and I’ve already done the the two first illustrations. We will see in the  future how it goes.


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

yes if it’s the right fit.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

not yet, but I would like to if the opportunity presents itself.

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

not yet, but I would like to if the opportunity presents itself.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

That would be a project a would definitely want to be a part of.

What do you think is your biggest success?

to be able to put aside years of study to follow my dreams.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I mainly work with  digital mediums  but i also use acrylics.

Has that changed over time?

being a self-taught digital artist i couldn’t mix colors as i wanted. Now, I enjoy getting pictorial results.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?


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

I try to work 8H/ days except Sundays, but sometimes I work overtime.

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

i do  a lot of research especially for vintage dresses and accessories but I usually  let my imagination run wild.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Sure you can interact with people all around the world and conduct research a lot easier.

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?

my beloved,10 year old, wacom tablet bamboo.


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

i’d loved to have  my own book published .

What are you working on now?

At the moment i’m working on a collection of classic tales  coming out on Christmas 2018.

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.

For the acrylics i use  “polycolors” and “liquitex” and i love the “portofino “paper by CARTIERA MAGNANI. to add more depth  I redefine it all with charcoal.Digitally, wanting to recreate the acrylic effect I always search suitable brushes.Now I’m using MG’S BRUSHES, you can buy them online.

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

Never stop. Don’t be afraid of being rejected and criticized. Draw a lot until you find your own style.

The main point is to make your heart smile doing what you love, and you’ll find your way.

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

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

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I really enjoyed this blog about illustrator Valeria Abatzoglu. Her work is so beautiful, the colors of her drawing pops out at you. Her journey to get where she’s at is inspiring. Hard work and never give up on your dreams, awesome!


  2. Valeria, I made the mistake of opening this post on my phone but I needed to switch to a larger screen to fully enjoy all the beautiful colors and details of your work.


  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely work!


  4. she has a talent! she is unique and i hope the best for her! i love her draws


  5. I’m always amazed how very distinctive artists can be! Just beautiful 🙂


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