Illustrator Spotlight: Luisa Uribe

© Luisa Uribe

August 31, 2018

Today we are pleased to feature picture book illustrator Luisa Uribe and her new book OPERATION RESCUE DOG, written by Maria Gianferrari (little bee books). Enter to win a copy!

Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.

Ever since I discovered illustration was a thing I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’ve always loved drawing and reading, and thought that if I could do something that combined those two things I would be happy. 

© Luisa Uribe

When I graduated high school there was no bachelor’s degree in illustration available locally, so I went into graphic design but always with the intention of becoming an illustrator. I spent a few years working as a designer and drawing on the side, and published a couple of books here in Colombia. Two years ago Bright Agency found me and I got the chance to work on some wonderful picture books for the US.

Congrats on your new book, OPERATION RESCUE DOG (little bee books), written by Maria Gianferrari. How did you go about researching and developing illustrations for this story?

Thank you! I love animals and have a lot of respect and admiration for the people who help them, so working on Maria’s book was inspiring. 

For this book I wanted to let loose and for the linework to be expressive and to add texture. My color palette is usually muted but I made the effort to add some brighter warm and pink tones, which would contrast the greens and blues of the scenery and backgrounds. 

© Luisa Uribe

The book has two protagonists, Alma and Lulu, and each have their own story. For Alma, who is Latina, I wanted to add little details and some Colombian references from my own experience, and make her a bright and colorful character, but not stereotypical. For Lulu, since it’s been a long time since I had a dog (we are a cat family, mostly), I did a lot of research and watched many videos of dogs moving and playing, trying to remember and learn. I also did research on rescue organizations, and the trucks that travel the US to help dogs in need and bring them to their new families.  

We love your fresh style. Who or what are your influences?

Thank you. I always try to develop a specific look for the project at hand, so every book looks a bit different from the others. 

© Luisa Uribe

I’m a fan of a lot of European and East Asian contemporary illustration, but it’s a mix of a lot of things really. Like many of my generation I watched a lot of anime and animated series when I was young and read a lot of fantasy, so all those things are in the back of my mind and mix with all my current influences and inspiration.

As for illustrators I’m in love with the work of Beatrice Alemagna (as are most of the illustrators and artists I know), Laureant Moreau, Marc Boutavant, Isabelle Arsenault, Christian Robinson, Okada Chiaki… List goes on!

© Luisa Uribe

You have worked with both U.S. and Colombian publishers. 
Have you found the experiences similar or different, and in what way?

It’s a big difference in terms of budget and schedule, and it’s a much smaller group of professional illustrators and editors/publishers, so we tend to at least know of one another. There is an advantage in that we share a language and a lot of our literature with the rest of Latin America, so it’s a big melting pot… But as a country we still have a long way to go to become steady readers, which limits the possibilities. 

© Luisa Uribe

What projects are you working on now?

There are a couple more books illustrated by me coming this fall, so I’ve been getting ready for that (so nervous!) and I’ve been working on my first picture book for a while; still unsure about how much to say but I hope there’s something there. I’m hoping it will be a silent book, but we’ll see!

© Luisa Uribe

What are the one or two things you did that most advanced your illustration career?

I collaborate with friends when I can. The illustration that was mostly responsible for Bright Agency taking notice of my work is part of a group project called “Color Piel”. There’s a freedom in that kind of project that sometimes brings out the best in your work.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I’m an audiobook and podcast addict. When I’m on a deadline and having trouble concentrating (which is always) I listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks in order, so I probably must have heard them at least 30 times by now.

Where can people find you online?

I’m a sporadic poster, but I’m mostly active on Twitter and Instagram, both @lupencita. My website is

Luisa Uribe is an illustrator and designer of children’s media. She loves books most of all but has also worked in animation and TV, earning a India Catalina prize for Art Direction for TV. Her favorite activities in no particular order are drawing, reading and chasing the cat around the house. She has a MA in Art and Design from the University of Loughborough and lives in Bogotá, Colombia with her partner and aforementioned cat.

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  1. Congrats to you, Luisa!! I am so lucky that you are the illustrator of this book--you brought it to life! <3 <3 I'm very excited for your other books, especially The Vast Wonder of the World. Carol just told me about it :)!!

  2. Congrats, Luisa! Love the color, textures, and spirit you bring to your art :)

  3. Wonderful work Luisa! Can't wait to see more books with your beautiful art!

  4. I was just reading in the past day about the new documentary about support dogs. I know rescue dogs have a slightly different job, but this is another work of art in the terrific-dogs vein!

  5. Love the artwork!!!

  6. What fantastic illustrations! I love the big tree picture.


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