Last week, Laurence students (and faculty) spent a magical and inspirational afternoon with children's book author and illustrator, Rafael López. Born in Mexico City to architect parents who loved books, López connected to stories and drawings from a young age. During his virtual visit, López shared that his style of illustration is influenced by his son and the way children draw. He plays with scale, dimensions and is not bound by realism.
López taught students about his process for creating art, showing them how they, too, can draw, practice, and create illustrations. When illustrating a story, López explained, he starts by making many sketches to create ideas for the characters. He then creates a storyboard of sketches on the wall of his art studio. López showed students how he uses paints and other art tools to make textures and backgrounds, which he uploads to graphic design software, along with his hand-drawn sketches. He also demonstrated how he uses design software to create the illustrative spreads. Starting with simple line drawings, he explained, he adds color to the bigger areas like the sky and ground. Then, little by little, he fills in the spaces with other characters and details to create a rich, textured scene.
Not only is López an author and illustrator, but he is also a muralist who creates collaborative community muralists. "It's not about making a wall beautiful," he said, "it's about a great opportunity to make new friends and build a community." His real life experiences creating these murals inspired his book, Maybe Something Beautiful.
Our visit wrapped up with López doing live drawing demonstrations from his art studio in San Diego, teaching students how to draw animals with simple geometric shapes and lines. He left students with this final thought, "Follow your heart. Draw and create whatever feels good in your heart."
Watch below for a timelapse of Rafael López drawing a seal out of simple shapes!