Laura Catalan

Laura Catalan

Represented by Good Illustration
Laura Catalan Interview

Laura Catalan

Children's Illustrator

How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?

I used to have a "formal" job at a company which bore no relation to art at all. It was comfortable and kind of interesting but I really couldn't see myself doing that my whole life. On the contrary, I could see myself being an illustrator, I loved drawing and the endless possibilities this path seemed to offer.

At one point, I started attending lots of illustration workshops and drawing classes at Fine Art Center (Sant LLuç) here in Barcelona. I was lucky enough to meet and learn from Alexis Deacon and Lisbeth Zwerger as well as from prominent Spanish illustrators like Rebeca Luciani, Arnal Ballester, Elisa Arguilé and Mariona Cabassa. It was through this experience that I decided I wanted to pursue illustration as my career. Initially, I combined a day job with illustration commissions up until a point when my illustration work took off and I could aford to make a living from it.

Nowadays I'm lucky enough to work with clients such as Oxford University Press, Salariya, Santillana and Edelvives among others. It's been a hard but amazingly rewarding path and, what I love the most, is, I still feel there is so much room for learning and growing!

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Which books from your own childhood really stand out?

So many! Some that come to my mind are the "Frog and Toad" collection by Arnold Lobel, "Hairy Monster" by Henriette Bichonnier, anything written by Roald Dahl and amazingly illustrated by Quentin Blake, especially "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "The Witches". Also "The little Vampire" by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg...I could go on and on! Books were such an important part of my childhood, they expanded my world and were just so much fun!

Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.

I work in a very inspirational coworking space inside Hangar, an artist hub in Barcelona. There is lots of cultural activities going on here, from music to artist performances and workshops. Apart from the stimulating social environment, we are lucky to have a super spacious office. We even have a lovely yard where I love to go to and sketch, have lunch or enjoy some tea.

When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?

I enjoy meeting friends in bars and cafes, but also love peaceful walks with my dog. Travelling is also a big passion and try to do it as often as I can. A good book or movie is always relaxing. And I'm starting to learn pottery, I love the relaxing feel of the humid clay in my hands. 

Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?

Yes I do :)

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What do you hope children take away from your drawings?

I hope they are interested in exploring all the little details, the fun, vibrant colours & engaging characters as well as getting a clear understanding of the scene depicted, whether it's a simple or a very complex scene with lots of different things going on.

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