Claudia Dávila - Author/Illustrator
In a world that's becoming ever more digitized, Claudia Dávila remains a believer and appreciator of books you can hold in your hand. She writes, illustrates and designs books for kids of all ages, with stories and themes that encourage children to be strong, thoughtful, compassionate and responsible people.
Claudia is the former art director of Chirp and chickaDEE magazines, and is the author-illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel series The Future According To Luz and the picture book Super Red Riding Hood. Claudia was born in Santiago, Chile, and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband and daughter.
June 23rd (Cancer, Year of the Ox).
Where do you live?
Who is in your family?
My mother, Herta; my father, Patrick; my older brother, Patricio; and my husband, the wonderful and famous illustrator Michael Cho.
Do you have any pets?
Only the neighborhood squirrels that visit the back deck.
What is your favorite book?
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
What is your favorite movie?
What are your hobbies?
Cooking, baking, doing yoga by myself and with friends and biking around my neighborhood to buy veggies.
When did you start drawing?
When I was a child of around five years old.
What was your schooling or training?
I am self-taught.
How did you get involved with children's books?
I always wanted to do children's books, so I started as a designer at Owl magazine, which was part of the same family as Owl Books. After five years working in magazines and developing my illustrating career, I left Owl magazine to begin a freelance career designing and illustrating children's books.
What is the thing that you like the most about creating children's books?
I love how unpretentious it is. The look rarely has to be cool or hip, so there's more room to be creative and let your style expand to suit the topic and readership. Also, each book is a brand new project, so there is always an exciting project in the works.
Where do you work?
At home, in a sunny room with hardwood floors and a couch. There I have my computer, art supplies and a floor-to-ceiling bookcase full of inspiration.
How do you create your artwork?
Most of my illustrations are done on the computer after a pencil sketch that is scanned in. The forms, color, texture and shading are all done in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
Do you have any tips for young creators?
Sure! If you like drawing, draw a lot. If you like writing stories, write a lot. If you like making things or taking photos, do it as much as you can! Everyone has an artist inside of them.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Visiting my grandmother in the country in Chile, summertime and horseback riding through fields.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First I wanted to be a midwife --- that's someone who helps women have their babies naturally. But in high school, I realized what I really wanted to do was make art and draw.
What is your next project?
There's never just one project, so right now I'm working on a book on decorating your bedroom, but after this, I'm illustrating a book on all things sweet and sugary, then designing a book on really scary things. I'm also always working on personal art projects for myself or with my husband.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job you have ever had?
When I was in university, I was the curator of the student center art gallery, so I got to coordinate all the art shows for a year. The very last show was for me and my two best friends. We had a big party and had lots of fun showing our paintings!