Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 28, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Caro Libreros

At the age of four, my innate curiosity found this magical atmosphere where walls, clothes and furniture spotted with bright pigments were welcoming me into a new discoverable charming surrounding. This was my first day in an art class and, from that very moment on, my heart surrendered to a wonderful universe in which you never stop having fun and everything is allowed through the experience of color and texture. Ever since that instance, I’ve never stopped drawing and painting.

I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Design in Mexico followed by a Master’s Degree in Fashion Design in Spain. I have accumulated over 15 years of extensive experience working as a fashion designer in diverse international clothing companies. This has allowed me to travel the globe working in multicultural environments while researching new trends and pursuing inspiration.

Becoming a mom initiated in me a world of colorful scribbles, silly made up songs, spontaneous giggling and the fresh view of the world through the eyes of a child. It also revived my love for children’s books. Therefore, I decided to continue on building my experience as an illustrator at The Cooper Institute, Parsons, The New School for Design and The School of Visual Arts in New York City.

My paintings are created with acrylic, watercolor, paper cut and color pencils.


First sketch of the concept I want to depict.

Experiment with different angles on  post-it notes.

Preliminary sketch where I arrange the composition of the drawing.

Final lay out of the elements in the drawing.

Define color chart and placement of colors on the piece.


Finished Piece.

How long have you been illustrating?

Previously, as a fashion and textile designer, illustrating was an important part of my creative process to develop a fashion collection.  Later on, when I became a stay home mom I continued doing it just for fun and as a creative practice.  In 2014 I then started developing illustrations for children’s books. In total, I’ve been doing it for about 20 years.

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

As a designer I developed a lot of artwork for children’s wear.  I think the very first one was

an embroidery with the shape of a leave for a boy’s polo shirt, probably around 1995.

As an Illustrator my first commissioned artwork was a little girl’s portrait for a nursery room, about 2012.

What made you chosen to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Design in Mexico?

I grew up in Central Mexico. My intention was always to follow a creative career. When I had to select a career path there was a boom in the regional textile industry and therefore, a big demand of professionals in this area.  The Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes and the textile manufacturing industry jointly developed this new promising career…so for me it was an easy choice.

What made you extend your education to get an MA in Fashion Design in Spain?

After several years of working in the fashion industry I needed to learn more about design and manufacturing techniques as well as methodologies for trend research.  I also wanted to experience the fashion market from the core, so looking towards Europe was the best option. I picked Barcelona; because besides being a beautiful city, it is also an important textile Hub in Europe and it has great schools for diverse niches of the Fashion Business.

You name The Cooper Institute, Parsons, The New School for Design, and The School of Visual Arts in New York City as places you have studied illustration. Did you take night classes at these schools?

Yes, I’ve studied under Continuing Education Programs.

Do you live in NYC now and still taking classes?

I live in Jersey City, within the NYC Metro Area.  This semester in particular I’m fully dedicated to work on my personal projects, but I plan to go back to school in the fall 2018.

Which school do you feel influenced your illustrating style?

The “Watercolor and Abstraction” course at the Cooper Union opened my senses to the wonderful possibilities of watercolor.  There I started experimenting with what I think is now one of the distinctive elements of my illustrations.  Later on, at SVA, the input of my teachers helped reinforced my style. I recognize my work is a blend of the learning experiences in all these places.

Do you exhibit your artwork?

The platforms to exhibit my artwork are my own website and instagram.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

When I became a mom I revisited my love for picture books.  Therefore I decided to take an Illustration Portfolio class at SVA where I realized all optional assignments I selected were children’s theme related subjects.  The next period I registered for a Children’s Book Illustration class and that’s when I discovered my true passion.

Do you have an artist rep. to represent your illustrations? If so, who and how long. I not, would you like to find one?

I don’t have an agent at this time.  Yes, I’d like to find someone to represent me.

Have you done any book covers?

No, I have not yet had that opportunity.

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

I’m currently working on my first written and illustrated dummy.

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

I would be open to discussing the type of project he/she wants to pursue.

Have you worked with educational publishers?


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


Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes. Originally my dummy started as a wordless book, but it’s been evolving and now it has a few words.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Being able to re-experience my love for illustration is a big success. Organizing my life in order to find time to do it and developing my own style are additional great achievements.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I predominantly do mixed media with watercolor, a few touches of acrylic and finishes in colored pencil.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, in my first illustrations I did only acrylic and I was more spontaneous on the surface I worked on.  Now I use mixed media and I’ve become more structured by planning, sketching and experimenting before I start working on a final piece.

Can you tell us a little bit about your studio?

My studio is an office room in my house.  It has two floor-to-ceiling windows.  I have an old wooden desk that seems to diminish its size the more I use it.  The space is colorful with other people’s art hanging on the blue walls.  Flowerpots and plants surround me.

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

Yes, I try to dedicate two to three full mornings of the week to work on my projects.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I do both. For my illustrations of nature I research about the ecosystem and its animals, I also look for several physical references.  If it’s a commissioned portrait style illustration I study the pictures of my subject in order to sketch the features more accurately.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

I think I’m in the position to get more exposure as long as I do the appropriate outreach work.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?


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

I used to sketch on my ipad with the ‘Paper’ App.  Right now I feel more confortable using just paper and a soft pencil.  A drawing tablet is a goal in a near future.


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

I’d love to establish myself as a full time professional illustrator.

What are you working on now?

I’m developing my dummy and also working on a line of invitations.

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.

Instead of the traditional plastic palette I recycle plastic egg trays for my watercolor.

And, as for paper for my first sketches I usually use post-it notes that I continually arrange in a cardboard folder as a preliminary storyboard. For the final piece I go for cold press/140 lb. watercolor paper.

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

I’d love to answer that question when I get published! In the mean time I try to learn more about this industry and I exercise my creativity by looking around, discovering the beauty in unexpected details…and sketch about them.

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

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

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for sharing your colorful and fun work!


  2. I always enjoy the Saturday illustrator posts but this one is exceptional. The colors Caro uses are so vibrant, and I love the way she creates faces and the pictures with rain. I usually choose a favorite or two but today, I could only narrow it down to 5 and that was being ruthless. What a great collection!
    Thank you for sharing your talent.


  3. Beautiful work!


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