I found very early in life pleasure in drawing from memory. As a child every scrap of paper available got filled most evenings with observations of that day. Later on, I added a profusion of illustrations to all my school books. Including my math book.
The busy port where I was born in southern Chile and the colorful characters that surrounded me provided marvelous material for my self-training.
Cervantes’s extraordinary story Don Quijote and the dramatic illustrations for it by Doré, as well as the beautiful work of the Chilean illustrator Mario Silva Ossa (“Coré”) and his collaborations for the children’s magazine El Peneca, were formative influences. As were the encouragement of my parents and the years spent studying architecture at the Universidad de Chile.
After college I started work in graphic design and drawing for an educational publisher. I left my country after the tragic military coup of September 11, 1973, and settled in England, where I was surprised and inspired by the country’s rich tradition of illustration. I worked in advertising, produced editorial work for newspapers and magazines, and developed as an international children’s book illustrator.
I have three children: David, a musician; Isabel, a singer and theatre designer; and Fernanda, a dancer. I also have a ten-year-old grand-daughter named Lili, who is the model and dedicatee of Tía Isa Wants a Car. I’m married to painter Jill Newsome and live with her in a small farm near the sea in the county of Dorset.
It was both a pleasure and a challenge to illustrate Meg Medina’s poignant Tía Isa Wants a Car. I relished the opportunity to reach the Latino readership through a story that is sure to touch the hearts of many in the community as well as opening those of others to the experience of exile and immigration.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. My hometown’s name is Talcahuano, which means “Place of Thunder” in the Mapuche indian language. And it really was: the storms were terrific and I loved them!
2. They’ve told me I could draw before I could walk. Sorry: I was too young, so I’m not sure about this.
3. I learned to dive before I learned to swim. Of this I’m sure, because I’m still learning the last.