Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 24, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Sandra de la Prada

Sandra was born in Barcelona and, like others, she loved to draw when she was little. But something made her think that working drawing was an impossible dream and attended Fine Arts, specializing in photography and video and graduated. Then she studied some design and worked as a designer. Until she realized that no, that her work was something else, so she studied illustration at the Escola Massana and the Escola de la Dona, making her dream come true..

The Asturian publishing house Pintar-Pintar commissioned her to illustrate a book and since then She has not stopped working, mainly in the children’s and youth publishing field, with national and international clients.

Here are some of her clients: Estrella Polar , Timun Mas , Santillana , Cruïlla , Ediciones SM , Barcanova , Editorial Planeta , Edicions Salòria , OQO Editora , El Terrat de Produccions, Éditions Milan , Fleurus, Lonely Planet, Nosy Crow, Bonnier Books, Usborne, Albert Whitman & Company

She has also collaborated with the Barçakids and Puça magazines  with Londji toys ; the Escletxa , Bräva Büro and Tucan studies ; The Story of Berlin museum , the Fassulo and 9Barris Acull associations and the Impro Barcelona , Planeta Impro and Trotam Teatre theater companies.

Here is Sandra discussing her process:

For this commission they asked me to make the illustrations of 5 mini puzzles, one for each vowel. Each vowel should have an illustration of an animal that begins with that letter performing some action.

I decided to choose scenes of parents and children doing something together. For the letter E the chosen animal was the elephant. Here you can see some sketches of the character of the little elephant and a very rudimentary sketch of the first scene.

This is the color sketch placed on the die layout. I did several color tests with the computer, although later the final illustration would be hand painted. You can also see the color sketch of all the puzzlos together to appreciate the whole. In each puzzle one color should predominate.

Some tests with the material: acrylics and neocolor watercolor waxes on 350 gram gvuarro paper

This is the complete illustration finished. Even if the illustration was later cut into an E shape, it had to draw the complete scene of all the puzzles.

The final illustration placed on the die layout.

This is the result!

Interview with Sandra de la Prada

How long have you been illustrating?

I did the first illustration course around 2002, so we could say that more or less since then.

El primer curso de ilustración lo realicé sobre el 2002, así que podríamos decir que más o menos desde entonces.

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

Before dedicating myself fully to editorial illustration, I did a lot of illustration and design work for posters, flyers, etc. for some theater companies, as well as some individual commissions. I can’t say exactly when it was, but maybe 16 years ago.

Antes de dedicarme plenamente a la ilustración editorial, realicé bastantes trabajos de ilustración y diseño carteles, flyers, etc para algunas compañías de teatro, así como algunos encargos sueltos. No sabría decir exactamente cuando fue, pero quizás hará 16 años.

El primer encargo para ilustrar un libro fue en 2010.

What made you choose Escola Massana in Barcelona to study illustration?

At Escola Massant I took the first illustration course, shortly after finishing the Fine Arts degree, in which no illustration course was taught and, as I had always liked drawing, it was an that I wanted to explore. It is a school that is famous in this area and has very good teachers. I looked for a short course (4 months) to try.

En Escola Massant realicé el primer curso de ilustración, poco después de terminar la carrera de Bellas Artes,  en la cual no se impartía ninguna asignatura de ilustración y, como siempre me había gustado dibujar, era un area que quería explorar. Es una escuela que tiene fama en este ámbito y muy buenos profesores. Busqué un curso de corta durada (4 meses) para probar.

Did you take any children’s book illustrating classes?

Yes, the course I took there was specific to editorial illustration for children.

Sí, el curso que realicé allí era específico de ilustración editorial infantil.

Is Escola de la Dona an art school? What did you study something different there?

After finishing the course in La Massana, some years passed in which I put aside the desire to dedicate myself to this due to personal circumstances, but as soon as the desire returned I looked for a more complete course. The Escola de la Dona is a school that was originally created to teach trades to women but is currently an adult school open to everyone where very interesting workshops are given. You can study several years of illustration for an affordable price and with very good teachers too. I was there for 2 years and learned various aspects of illustration.

Después de terminar el curso en la Massana pasaron unos años en los que aparqué el deseo de dedicarme a esto por circunstancias personales, pero en cuanto volvieron las ganas busqué un curso más completo. La Escola de la Dona es una escuela que originalmente se creó para la enseñanza de oficios a la mujer pero actualmente es una escuela de adultos abierta a todo el mundo en la que se imparten talleres muy interesantes. Puedes estudiar varios años de ilustración por un precio asequible y con muy buenos profesores también. Allí estuve 2 años y aprendí varios aspectos de la ilustración.

 

Did either of these schools help you get work when you graduated?

Not directly, but everything I learned there helped me to achieve it.

Directamente no, pero todo lo que aprendí allí me sirvió para conseguirlo.

Do you feel school helped you develop you style?

Yes. I think it was at the end of the second year that I started to find things to work with at ease. But I also think that everything helps to develop your style, it is something that you are developing continuously: with each project, with each sketch, with each doodle, with everything you look at and admire.

Sí. Creo que fue al final del segundo año cuando empecé a encontrar cosas con las que trabajar a gusto. Pero también creo que todo ayuda a desarrollar tu estilo, es algo que estás desarrollando contínuamente: con cada proyecto, con cada esbozo, con cada garabato, con todo aquello que miras y admiras.

What type of work did you do after you college?

Some time after finishing at the Escola de la Dona I began to receive editorial illustration commissions, while I continued to illustrate posters for the theater.

Un tiempo después de terminar en la Escola de la Dona empecé a recibir encargos de ilustración editorial, mientras seguía ilustrando carteles para teatro.

You listed working with Londji toys. Did you design toys for them? 

I did the illustrations for a pack of 5 puzzles.

Hice las ilustraciones para un pack de 5 puzzles.

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

Well, it’s something that always caught my attention but I didn’t think it was a realistic aspiration until a long time later. At the University of Fine Arts I specialized in Drawing and Image (photography and video) because I liked many things and I was not sure what to do.

After some years working as a layout designer and designer, I realized that drawing was something that made me happier and children’s editorial illustration seemed like a very wide and appetizing field to do so. It was when I enrolled in l’Escola de la Dona.

Pues es algo que siempre me llamó la atención pero no creí que fuese una aspiración realista hasta mucho tiempo después. En la universidad de Bellas Artes me especialicé en Dibujo e Imagen (fotografía y vídeo) porque me gustaban muchas cosas y no tenía claro a qué dedicarme. Después de algunos años trabajando de maquetadora y diseñadora me di cuenta de que dibujar era algo que me hacía más feliz y la ilustración editorial infantil me pareció un campo muy amplio y apetitoso para hacerlo. Fue cuando me matriculé en l’Escola de la Dona.

 

Was EL LIBRO DEL BOSQUE (THE BOOK OF THE FOREST) your first picture book?

No, it was TÍA CLARA, from the same publisher. The FOREST BOOK was the second.

No, fue TÍA CLARA, de la misma editorial. El LIBRO DEL BOSQUE fue el segundo.

How did you get that contract with Pintar-Pintar?

When I finished studying, I sent portfolios to various publishers and Paint-Paint were the first (and I think I remember how unique) that they wrote me with a project proposal.

Al terminar de estudiar hice un envío de portafolios a varias editoriales y Pintar-Pintar fueron los primeros (y creo que recordar que únicos) que me escribieron con una propuesta de proyecto.

Do you have an artist rep.? If so, who and how long have they been representing you? 

Yes, I have done some projects through Illo Agency. I have been collaborating with them for about two years.

Sí, algunos proyectos los he realizado a través de Illo Agency. Colaboro con ellos desde hace unos dos años.

Was SEEK AND FIND CITIES your first book with a US publisher?

No, it was with Lonely Planet UK, so it was my first book with an English publisher.

No, fue con Lonely Planet UK, así que fue mi primer libro con una editorial inglesa.

How did you make that connection with Lonely Planet?

I met Tina García, editorial designer, several years ago because she interviewed me for Ah! Magazine, an online art magazine. Some time later he was working for Lonely Planet Kids and he contacted me for this project he had in hand.

Conocí a Tina García, diseñadora editorial, hace varios años porque me entrevistó para Ah! Magazine, una revista online de arte. Tiempo después estuvo trabajando para Lonely Planet Kids y me contactó para este proyecto que tenía entre manos.

How did you get the contract to illustrate WAY PAST MADwith Albert Whitman & Company?

It was the first project that the Illo agency got me.

Fue el primer proyecto que me consiguió la agencia Illo.

I just featured the second book in this Great Big Feeling series WAY PAST WORRIED. Was this a two book deal?

It wasn’t exactly a deal, I think they told me more about the possibility that more books of the same series would be made and that I could illustrate them myself, so I did this second one. The following I have not been able to do them due to lack of availability, a shame.

No fue exactamente un trato, creo que más bien me comentaron la possibilidad de que se hiciesen más libros de la misma serie y de que los ilustrase yo misma, así que hice este segundo. Los siguientes no he podido hacerlos por falta de disponibilidad, una pena.

You list 50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU ARE 11 3/4 published by Crow & National Trust in 2020 on your book page. I found this book on Amazon, but it was published in 2013 with a photograph cover published by National Trust. When did they reach out to you to remake the book? Did you, also, do interior art for the book? Do you expect the new version to become available on Amazon, soon?

In the middle of last year Nosy Crow contacted the Illo agency because they were preparing a new edition of the book and they needed new illustrations, both for the interior and the cover. Here’s the new version on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/National-Trust-Outdoors-Adventure-Handbook/dp/1788007298

A mediados del año pasado Nosy Crow contactó con la agencia Illo porque estaban preparando una edición nueva del libro y necesitaban ilustraciones nuevas, tanto del interior como de la cubierta.

Aquí tienes la nueva versión en Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/National-Trust-Outdoors-Adventure-Handbook/dp/1788007298

Are there any children’s book publishers in Spain?

Yes, there are many children’s publishers in Spain. I have worked with several: SM Ediciones,
Santillana, Estrella Polar, Timun Mas, Cruïlla and Barcanova, but there are many more.

Sí, hay muchas editoriales infantiles en España. Yo he trabajado con varias: SM Ediciones, Santillana, Estrella Polar, Timun Mas, Cruïlla y Barcanova, pero hay muchas más.

Is there any group of illustrators in Barcelona where you can interact and network with other artists?

Yes, there are many illustrators in Barcelona, ​​but personally I don’t usually participate or attend many events. I have some good illustrator friends, yes, and we help each other whenever we can.

Pues sí, hay muchos ilustradores en Barcelona, pero personalmente no suelo participar ni acudir a muchos eventos. Tengo algunos buenos amigos ilustradores, eso sí, y nos ayudamos siempre que podemos.

Would you be open to illustrating a picture book for a writer who would like to self-publish?

In principle I am open to the possibility, but whenever the opportunity has arisen, it has not ended up curdling, either because of my availability or for other reasons. I think I am more attracted to the possibility of working side by side with a writer with whom I understand well and creating something together.

En principio estoy abierta a la posibilidad, pero siempre que me ha surgido la oportunidad no ha acabado cuajando, o por disponibilidad mía o por otras razones. Creo que me atrae más la posibilidad de trabajar codo con codo con un escritor o escritora con el que me entienda bien y crear algo juntos.

Do you plan to write and illustrate a picture book?

It is an idea that attracts me more and more. I think that the text part is very difficult, so it would have to be something simple and with a lot of image weight.

Es una idea que cada vez me atrae más. Creo que la parte del texto es muy difícil, así que tendría que ser algo sencillo y con mucho peso de la imagen.

Have you ever illustrated a book or a cover?

Yes, I have illustrated several books and their covers.

Sí, he ilustrado varios libros y sus portadas.


Do illustrators in Spain do school visits?

Yes, some do visit schools, although I have not done any.

Sí, algunos hacen visitas a escuelas, aunque yo no he hecho ninguna.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I love painting with acrylics and waxes.

Me encanta pintar con acrílicos y ceras.

Has that changed over time?

When I discovered acrylics I immediately felt comfortable with them and to this day I still like them. What happens is that with the rhythm that I have been working, the tendency has been to use the tablet more and more.

Cuando descubrí los acrílicos enseguida me sentí cómoda con ellos y a día de hoy me siguen gustando. Lo que pasa es que con el ritmo que llevo de trabajo la tendencia ha sido a ir usando cada vez más la tablet.

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

Yes, as I was telling you, for a couple of years I’ve only used the tablet to illustrate. It allows me greater efficiency and the rounds of corrections are easier than if the illustrations were manual. But I really miss painting by hand.

Sí, como te comentaba, hace un par de años que sólo uso la tablet para ilustrar. Me permite una mayor eficiencia y las rondas de correcciones son más fáciles que si las ilustraciones fuesen manuales. Pero hecho mucho de menos pintar a mano.

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

Yes, I do a normal working day, except when I get many deliveries in the same period, then I have to extend the hours and get hours from wherever.

Sí, hago una jornada laboral normal, excepto cuando se me juntan muchas entregas en un mismo período, entonces tengo que ampliar el horario y sacar horas de donde sea.

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

I did an illustration for “Barça kids”, a magazine of the Barcelona soccer club for children, and a cover for “La puça”, a children’s cultural magazine.

Hice una ilustración para “Barça kids”, una revista del club de futbol Barcelona para niños, y una portada para “La puça”, una revista cultural infantil.

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

Yes, it is a part that I enjoy a lot, it makes me enter the project little by little.

Sí, es una parte que disfruto mucho, me hace ir entrando en el proyecto poco a poco.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Being able to dedicate myself fully to something with which I enjoy!

Poder dedicarme de lleno a algo con lo que disfruto!

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, the internet has opened many doors for me. Thanks to the internet I was able to send my portfolio in pdf by email to get my first job, and thanks to the internet I can also telework and collaborate with publishers from other countries easily. Also thanks to instagram or Behance

I have achieved some visibility that otherwise would have been very difficult. It is true that we are many illustrators who are there and keeping social networks up to date more or less is very laborious and heavy, but it cannot be denied that the internet has opened doors for me.

Sí, internet me ha abierto muchísimas puertas. Gracias a internet pude mandar mi portafolio en pdf por email para conseguir mi primer trabajo, y gracias a internet también puedo teletrabajar y colaborar con editoriales de otros países fácilmente. También gracias a instagram o Behance he conseguido cierta visibilidad que de otra manera hubiese sido muy difícil. Es verdad que somos muchísimos ilustradores los que estamos ahí y llevar al día más o menos las redes sociales es muy laborioso y pesado, pero no se puede negar que internet me ha abierto puertas.

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

Make your own book and take it easy, paint by hand.

Hacer un libro propio y poder tomárelo con calma, pintar a mano.

What are you working on now?

Among other projects, I am working on the illustrations of a book about the fear of being alone and another to sleep well, it seems that lately I am doing a lot of books related to emotions.

Entre otros proyectos, estoy trabajando en las ilustraciones de un libro sobre el miedo a estar solo y en otro para dormir bien, parece que últimamente estoy haciendo muchos libros relacionados con las emociones.

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.

Lately I only work with iPad Pro + Procreate app. I highly recommend them to work if you do digital illustration. In addition, working with iPad allows you to take your work wherever you want and it is something that is very practical for me.

Últimamente sólo trabajo con iPad Pro + la app Procreate . Los recomiendo muchísimo para trabajar si haces ilustración digital. Además el trabajar con iPad te permite llevarte el trabajo allí donde quieras y a mi es algo que me resulta muy práctico.

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

Find a way to enjoy, because there will be very hard times. If you cannot enjoy yourself, it will be difficult to be persistent.

Busca la manera de disfrutar, porque habrá momentos muy duros. Si no consigues disfrutar será difícil ser perseverante.

Thank you, Sandra for answering the interview questions and sharing your expertise with us. Please let me know your future successes so I can share it with everyone.

To see more of Sandra’s work, you can visit her at:

Website: https://www.sandradelaprada.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sandradelaprada/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandradelaprada?lang=en

Agency: https://illo.agency/industries/artists/sandra-de-la-prada

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. I love the beauty and whimsy of Sandra’s work

    Like

  2. Such happy, sweet and colorful illustrations! Congrats, Sandra!

    Like

  3. I ADORE Sandra’s work! Her feeling for color, shape, and texture are remarkable! So happy to read more about her and see even more work!

    Like

  4. Wow – absolutely gorgeous work!

    Like

  5. Beautiful! I really enjoyed reading WAY PAST WORRIED! Lovely illustrations. 🙂

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: