Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 28, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Rogério Coelho

Rogério Coelho has illustrated more than 100 literature books for Brazilian and foreign publishers. He has received several awards for his work such as the “Highly Recommendable” seal by FNLIJ (National Foundation for Children’s and Youth Books), the HQMIX Trophy in 2016 (national designer) and the Jabuti Award in 2012 (1st place didactic and educational category) and 2016 (1st place category for children’s or youth books). He was also a finalist for the Jabuti Award in 2016 in the “illustration” and “children’s book” categories and received the gold medal in the category “children’s picture books” (for all ages) at the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2017, for the American edition of my image book “The Boat of Dreams”, published in the USA by Tilbury House Publishers as “Boat of Dreams “.

Here is Rogério discussing his process for Eileen Spinelli’s One Earth:

Layout for the book cover illustration. A drawing just to indicate the main idea and the general composition.

The detailed outline of the cover, with all elements and final composition defined.

A color base is created with a basic marking of the elements.

The color base begins to be complemented with indications of areas of light and shadow, looking for a way to obtain the desired visual impact.

The color base starts to receive the most refined details of the illustration. This step is the one that requires the most time and work.

The finished illustration.

The final illustration receives the title and the name of the authors, the design is by Eve DeGrie.

Below is a sneak peak of two illustrations from The GRAY BUTTERFLY (work-in-progress) from Rogério’s new wordless picture book “The Gray Butterfly” to be published in Brazil.

Below is the cover Rogério illustrated for YOU BE YOU written by Richard Brehm. It is unpublished unpublished and looking for a publisher in the United States. Below: Interior art.

Louco Book Cover:

Interview with Rogério

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating professionally for 23 years. I started with school books and newspapers and, from the year 2000 on, I started to illustrate children’s literature.

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

Professionally, it was in 1997, when I was working in a small studio that used to get work from advertising agencies and we also did short-film cartoons.

Do you live in Brazil?

Yes, I am Brazilian and I live in Brazil. I was born in Sao Paulo, but I live in a city in southern Brazil, called Curitiba.

Have you always lived there? Did you go to college to study art?

I’ve been to other countries but I’ve always lived in Brazil. In fact, here in Brazil, I lived in several cities in different regions of the country. And I studied art in college but didn’t complete my degree.

What do you think helped you develop you style?

Encouragement from my parents and other family members, hard work, curiosity and a lot of reading.

What type of work did you do when you started your career?

Illustrations for school books and small newspapers, in those jobs I made caricatures of politicians and other personalities.

How did you find your first illustrating job?

Through a newspaper ad. My father saw the ad and informed me, I put up a portfolio with the drawings I had and went to the job interview, in which, fortunately, I was hired.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

When I started to illustrate school books, I started to get to know this market and its artists better, and I identified a lot with this work. I always liked illustrated books, but my initial intention was to draw comics, drawing books was an interest that came later, it happened between 1998/1999, approximately.

Was Amor Pega Feito Um Bocejo your first illustrated picture book?

No, this book is much more recent. My first children’s book was published in Brazil, the author is a Brazilian poet well known to Brazilian readers, called Elias José, the name of the book, in free translation, is “What do you read over there?”, and it was published in the year 2000.

How did you get that contract?

The writer saw my work in school books and liked it. So the publisher invited me to illustrate his book.

Was Books Do Not Have Wings your first book published by a United States publisher?

Yes, it was my first job for a publisher in the United States and I am very grateful for the opportunity that Sleeping Bear Press offered me.

I just featured the book you illustrated, One Earth by Eileen Spinelli. How did you get that contract?

This contract was obtained through the work of Illozzo, which is the agency that represents my work. Illozzo presented some samples of my illustrations and the publisher liked it and thought it identified with the book, so they asked me to do it. I have had some opportunities through Illozoo and I am grateful to them for representing my work.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate a picture book?

I have already written and illustrated some short comics and also a graphic novel called “Louco – Fuga” (in free translation, it would be something like “Madman – Escape”). My author’s illustrated books are books without text, composed only with illustrations, one of them was published in the USA by Tilbury House Publishers, it is called “Boat of Dreams”.

Do you work full time as an illustrator?

Yes, at least 8 hours a day. But it is usually more than that.

What was the first award that you won for Illustrating?

An award given by the National Children’s and Youth Book Foundation (“FNLIJ” in Brazil) called “Highly Recommended” for books that stand out in the year and are evaluated by this entity, which is the Brazilian section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People).

It looks like you have won a number of awards for your illustrating. How many have you won and which ones are you most proud of winning?

I won several awards for my work, in Brazil I highlight the “Jabuti” Award, which is the most important literary award in the country, I received the award in 2012 and in 2016. I also received the IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) the gold medal in the category “illustrated book for all ages”, awarded to my book “Boat of Dreams”.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

I lost count, certainly more than 100 among those published in Brazil and the USA.

How many of your books have been published in the US?

I published six books in the United States. I illustrated another book called “You be You” written by an American author named Richard Brehm that has not yet been published, but is ready, as soon as an interested editor publishes it in the United States.

Initially, through my direct contact over the internet, sending my portfolio. Thus I got my first job in the US. Then, through the work of Illozoo, which started to manage me.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s Magazines? If so, who?

Here in Brazil I illustrated for many of them, the most prominent one was a magazine called “Recreio”, which I illustrated for 5 years. It was a weekly magazine for children, and I illustrated different sections of it. I also worked for an English magazine called Storytime Magazine.

Have you ever tried illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, I published two of them, the “Boat of Dreams” that was published in the USA, and also “O Gato e a Árvore” (in free translation, it would be “The cat and the tree”) published only in Brazil.

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes, all my work equipment and library as well.

Do you have an artist rep? And how long have you been with them? How did you meet them?

I have been represented by Illozoo since 2016. The invitation to be part of the agency was sent by email, after one of its owners got to know my work.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

Yes, I have already worked in these terms, it is something specific and depends on the negotiation.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Without a doubt, my most successful work is the “Boat of Dreams”, for being an authorial book and composed only of images, and for the various awards and recognitions I received from it.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I work 100% digitally and I feel completely at ease this way.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, until 2007 I worked with traditional artistic techniques in my illustrations: watercolor, colored pencils, acrylic paint. Gradually, I migrated the processes to the digital environment, until I got to do all the work in this way.

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

I use a Wacom Intuos graphic drawing tablet and, before that, I already had others, from other models and brands.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

Basically it is my computer, a Dell, the Wacom graphic drawing tablet and Adobe Photoshop.

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

I try, but I’m usually working on several projects at the same time. A book can be made in 3 months or even a year, it depends a lot on the project and the decisions for it.      

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

Yes, I always try to read the text and establish different approaches to it, think how the illustration can dialogue with the text without just repeating what the text says, and research is essential to make my work richer in a way that I can offer the reader something more than a well-made illustration.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Surely, without it I could not work remotely with publishers from different places as I do today, it has shortened all distances.

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

My dream is to do better with each job. In general I think I have already realized my career dream, which has always been to work as an illustrator, now the goal is to continue and make small dreams come true within a bigger dream.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new authorial book that will be published in Brazil in 2020, the name of the book is “A Borboleta Cinza” (in free translation, it would be “The Gray Butterfly”)  and it will also be a book with only images and will have a lot of pages. In addition to this project, I am finishing two books for Brazilian publishers, with texts by other authors and also a book for an American publisher.

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.

Today my work material is Adobe Photoshop and I have obtained from it an artistic expression that satisfies me in relation to the plasticity and results that I would have with traditional techniques. So I recommend Photoshop, the software is excellent.

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

The whole idea is to try to be happy. And keep that motivation. If you are happy, your work develops and the results will come.

Thank you Rogério for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure to let us know your future successes. To see more of Rogério’s work, you can visit him at:

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

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Reblogged this on The Neophyte Writer and commented:
    This illustrator is fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your work!! Such talent. Thank you for sharing and congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful, all of it! I love THE BOAT OF DREAMS. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such gorgeous colors and fabulous characters! I love your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your motivation. Wishing you much happiness! Thanks for sharing the post, Rogerio and Kathy. (stay healthy, everyone!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What breathtaking artwork! The colors, the light, the detail and patterns — my mind is blown away. Thank you for letting me see this, Rogério Coelho and Kathy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. LOVE the details in your work, Rogerio! So much to look at, and each work is full of emotion and feeling. I loved Roof Octopus! Thanks for sharing. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much, Rogerio and Kathy, for providing me with an escape during these difficult days – into a world of incredible and breathtaking images! Your talent is immense, Rogerio, and yes, it is apparent that you are very happy doing what you do! The world is a better place because of your art. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rogerio is one of my favorite illustrators. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you very much Kathy! And also thank you very much for the compliments and respect for my work to everyone who commented here. Greetings from Brazil!


  11. It makes me so HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY to be able to
    thank you, personally, Rogerio, for how beautifully you illustrated
    ONE EARTH. This is filled to brimming with joy and admiration.

    Cheers! And warmest thoughts across the miles…from Jerry too.


  12. Rogério, I have been a big fan of yours for a long time, but I have never seen an interview with you in English. This is SUCH a treat. I discovered this so late, but I am so glad I did! Seeing your process visually is incredibly inspiring and informative, and as a beginning illustrator I can’t thank you enough for sharing so much of your work! I have tried to make studies of a couple of your pieces on my own, only to learn why you are such a master! They are so rich in detail with all your layering and vibrant color and movement in shapes and linework. I missed your Kickstarter for You Be You, but I bought a copy on Beezeus and can’t wait to see it with my own eyes. Please know you have made a huge impression on me, and I continue to admire and value you as one of my very favorite illustrators.


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