Creative Cribs - Monica Armino Jan 23 2019

Meet the artists

Creative Cribs is back, and this week we are diving into the creative hub of our talented artist, Monica Armino! Monica is one of our illustrators who focuses on children's book publishing. Her style is particularly great for our Middle Grade category, which focuses on readers aged 5 Years to Young Adult. We asked Monica to tell us more about what inspires her, how she works and what her process is in order to create her expressive characters and striking illustration scenes. We did a short Q&A with Monica to find out more. Have a read below and enjoy scrolling through the images!

If you'd like to see more from Monica, check out her online Advocate portfolio for more, or get in touch with one of our artist agents!

What’s a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me as an illustrator used to be to work all day, especially during the periods I combine working in the animation industry and my illustration projects. Since I became a mother the situation has changed, basically I work when I can now. I'll try to get up as early as possible and have breakfast, which is my favourite meal of the day (probably because I have it alone and in complete silence hah!). 

Next, I work until my child wakes up. Working with a toddler around you is not easy, but it is also hilarious, we have having a lot of funny and lovely moments together. Combining work and parenting is not easy at all, even if you work from home like I do. But I feel lucky because I’m receiving a lot of support from our families, I can work and I can also see how my son grows up.

Where do you work?
I work from home. My workspace is simple: a drawing desk, two spots with computers and shelves full of artbooks, picture books, comics. As I usually work in digital, all my art materials are stored in drawers. I love the workspaces of other artists, full of tiny papers, bottles and paint tubes, pencils and brushes. Digital works better for me because it is faster, cleaner and cheaper. Although, I have to admit I miss so much to work in traditional techniques. And I also have to admit I have cleaned a bit my workspace for the pictures, I tend to be a mess.

Do you share the space and if so with who?
I share my workspace and actually my whole life with Luis, my partner. He is a photographer, although he can't devote to this activity full time at the moment, he is really good

Where do you draw Inspiration from?
I take inspiration from everything I see, books, comics, movies, but reality itself is a great source of inspiration. Although I do not have the good habit of always carrying a notebook with me to make sketches, I try to memorise everything I see: people, environments, colours as if I drew mentally to have a bank of images in my mind. One of my favourites things before starting a new project is to browse the art books of animation films that I collect. I have a good number of them and I usually call them my treasures.

Do you have a inspirational view in your studio?
The view from my studio is not very inspiring. I live in a modest neighborhood of Madrid, full of small old flats, but we are very close to the center of the city and we can walk everywhere. From our the terrace we can see part of Madrid skyline, we can't complain! We live also very near from Madrid Rio, a lovely park crossed by Manzanares river. When works allow it, I like to walk there. Now that the biodiversity of the river has been recovered, you can see herons, cormorants, geese of the Nile, lots of seagulls and ducks.

What’s your favourite method of illustrating?
I don't have any favourite method. In fact, I'm always trying to discover new forms to do the things, forms to improve, to be faster, to do better. I  get bored quickly if I do things the same way, that's why I work in many different styles. Working in digital this experimentation is easy. Lately, I'm experimenting with watercolour textures, adding them digitally and I like the results, they bring warmth to the illustration. Here is a close-up of a tiny grass area that I painted for an animation project recently.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what your working now?
Here is sketch that I’m working on right now…I can’t show you more, but, do you notice the incredible amount of layers I use?

Do you have the latest sample you received?
Although I've been working in several books past year, one of the last projects I've seen published is this book Illustrated in April, called “La Balada de los Unicornios”. It’s written by Ledicia Costas, an incredible author from Spain, and this book has received the Lazarillo Award. I'm very grateful to have been able to illustrate this project.

Any pets? 
Like most part of the illustrators you can meet, I have a cat. His name is Odin although we affectionately call him Odi. It is not fair to consider him a pet, as we think he’s a part of the family. This pic was taken a few years ago. Unfortunately, he’s very ill now, he has lost almost the half of his weigh and we are trying to make his life as comfortable and calm as we can.

Anything else you’d like to tell about coming up?
One of the things I want to develop the incoming months is my own online store to sell prints and maybe some original artwork. In fact it is almost ready, I only have to find a bit of time to upload some items and prepare the first products to launch the store. So stay tuned, as I’m going to try to open it as soon as possible!. In addition, I have added a tab to my website where you can buy most of the books I have published through my Amazon affiliate links. For every purchase made through these links, I receive a small percentage. So if you're interested in buying any of my books, I'd really appreciate it if you did it this way.

Monica Armino was founded by our team of illustration agents, based at our UK and USA illustration agencies. If you think any of our artists would be suitable for an upcoming project, be sure to reach out to our agents!