Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 26, 2022

Illustrator Saturday – Claudia Ravalli

While she started her journey in NYC, Claudia Ravalli now lives in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. She is already an accomplished illustrator after winning the SCBWI Big 5-Oh Portfolio Showcase. She is inspired by her children and her own childhood in the countryside. Her work is so daring and original, yet accessible and is perfect for the picture book market.

Here is Claudia discussing her process:

First I scan my pencil sketch

Then I add the background color

After choosing a colour palette, I start working on blocking in the shapes

Here I begin to add details

Lastly, I add texture and shading.



How long have you been illustrating?

Like many illustrators, I have been drawing since I was very young.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

It was for a children’s magazine.

Your bio says you started on in NYC. Is that where you were born?

Yes, I was born and raised in NYC. I lived there for 24 years.

How did you end up moving to Geneva, Switzerland?

My husband is Swiss; he was studying English at university when I met him, which is how I ended up in Switzerland.

What art school did you attend to get your BFA?

After high school, I wanted to go to art school but instead I went to university to study art history. Later, I attended Parsons School of Design in illustration.

Did you do any freelance art while getting your degree?


Did you have a favorite classes?

I took a pen and ink class which I really enjoyed.

What made you decide to wanted to illustrate children’s books?

Do you feel attending Parsons School of Design helped you developed your artistic skills?

My art skills developed much later, with lots of patience and practice.

Did PSD help you find illustrating work when you graduated?


What type of work did you do after graduation?

After finishing my studies, I moved to Switzerland and worked in an office before getting back into illustration.

Can you tell us a little bit about winning the SCBWI Big 5-Oh Portfolio Showcase? How many illustrators were in the Showcase? Did you have to be invited? Did it take place at an SCBWI Conference? How was it judged?

Thank you for the question! I was really surprised to have been chosen as one of the grand prize winners of the SCBWI Big 5-Oh Portfolio Showcase amongst so many talented illustrators. It was really exciting news and am very grateful. The event was a five day virtual conference. It had over 300 portfolios showcased, reviewed by a panel of judges. To participate in the Portfolio review, you had to be a member of SCBWI and showcase your portfolio on the SCBWI website.

How did people see the virtual exhibit? Is there a link that people can use to see all the art?

The participant’s portfolios are on the SCBWI website for public view.

Do you exhibit your art? If so, has it helped you get work?


Since Nicole Tugeau represents you, do you still market market yourself and your talent?

My portfolio is on the SCBWI website and I am also present on Instagram. I am currently in the process of setting up my personal website.

How did you connect with T2 agency and how long have you been represented you?

I was contacted by my agent, Lillian Mazeika, from the T2 agency. I had been following them for a while and was really excited for the opportunity to be part of their group of very talented illustrators. I have been with the T2 agency for about 6 months.

Do you still work still work on your portfolio?

I am always trying to improve my work and create new pieces for my portfolio.

Have you illustrated a picture book, yet?

Not yet.

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

I would love to write and illustrate my own picture book, but first, I would have to develop my writing skills.

Has your style changed over the years?

My style has definitely changed over the years. In the past I worked in ink, watercolor and pencil. These days, I mostly work digitally.

Would you consider working with a self-published writer to illustrate their book?

Yes , if the story is intriguing.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

No, but I would love to.

Have you illustrated anything for children’s magazines?

Yes, many years ago, for a Swiss children’s magazine called Kodi ,Editions Eiselé , developed by Roland Godel.

Do you sell your artwork online?


I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

I think my biggest success is to be fortunate to be doing something I love. Also, participating in the SCBWI portfolio review gave me the confidence I needed show my work.

What is your favorite medium to use?

My favorite medium to use is the graphite pencil.

Has that changed over time?


What type of Graphic Drawing Tablet do you use when illustrating?

I use the Ipad Pro.

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

I try to spend at least 5 hrs a day.

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

At first, I like to do many sketches before I do my research, then I go online to find resources or I use my own photographs.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely, the internet has made everything much easier. I was able to take online classes, participate in the SCBWI conferences and my share work.

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

Yes, to illustrate a picture book!

What are you working on now?

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.

I love using Technalo pencils by Caran D’ache. They are water soluble graphite pencils, great for sketching and shading when used with a water brush pen.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

I think the advice I would give, is to keep working hard at what you love and don’t be too hard on yourself. Also, to join SCBWI, it is a helpful and supportive community.

Claudia, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Claudia using the following links:




Talk tomorrow,



  1. Wow! Your work is beautiful. Congratulations on winning the SCBWI showcase.


  2. Fabulous art! Viewing it brightened my day!
    Congrats on winning the showcase. What a wonderful honor!


  3. Beautiful, Claudia! I love seeing the imagination in your illustrations! Congratulations!!!


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.


%d bloggers like this: