Sitting at a little folding table drawing…that is probably the first memory of me drawing. I was a five or six year-old, growing up in Nicaragua. The middle photo, to the right, shows it wasn’t actually a folding table but one of a set of small découpaged tables my mom had finished herself. Along with a little wooden chair with leather stretched seat and back, I could take my studio wherever it needed to go.
I have always known myself to be the kid in the family, or the kid at school who could draw. I don’t remember how that happened, but I have warm memories of my first Prismacolor pencil box, of coloring with my older sister, and of borrowing her cards and stationary in order to design mine after them. Later, watching cartoons became my source of humor and imagery—the Flinstones, Tom & Jerry and The Jetsons.
Having moved a bit as a kid, I did the fourth grade in two countries—the US and Guatemala. And I’m glad it was that way because two important things happened in those two (same) grades. At St. Norberts, the magic of the Scholastic Book Fair brought me together with the book How To Draw Funny People by Bob McKay, which I pored over until I could draw the characters by heart. Then at Colegio Americano, I wrote and illustrated an unauthorized sequel to The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown (and self-published it; and by self-published I mean an edition of one, comb-bound with a cover made ever so much fancier with clear Con-Tact paper!).
I grew up learning and loving English—reading and writing it, and not wanting to read in Spanish. Now we have a kiddo whom we are raising bilingual, so I read in Spanish more than I ever did growing up! I am curious about bringing Spanish into my writing when I think it works for the story; and think of writing stories fully in Spanish too. However, I still tend to develop my stories in English first.
With drawing and writing as my background, I’ve been lucky to have taught a wide range of people and ages: drawing and ceramics to students at universities, art to children and adults at a contemporary art museum, and most recently, writing and reading to Kindergarten and 4th grade kids, and art to 1st graders.
I work in my home studio in northern New Jersey, surrounded by books, pencils and paper, and share my days with my husband and our 7-year-old daughter.