Illustrator Spotlight: Carolina Pedraza


© Carolina Pedraza

Jan. 1, 2023

Happy New Year! We are excited to feature illustrator Carolina Pedraza and her banner design for Kidlit411! 

© Carolina Pedraza

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

I've loved to draw since I could hold a pencil and have never stopped. In 4th grade, I remember self-publishing an "unauthorized" sequel to The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown (by self-publishing I mean I typed an edition of one, comb-bound with a cover made ever so much fancier with clear Con-Tact paper). I was so proud of that book! I delighted in the reaction from my teachers and classmates at what I had made. I think the idea of illustrating children's books might have started then. 

© Carolina Pedraza

Many years later, while working as a museum educator, I began teaching primarily 3 to 6 year-olds so I paired picture books with every lesson, and spent a great deal of time reading picture book after picture book. I learned about authors and illustrators, and I witnessed the power of stories when I read to my students. I would like to have that kind of impact on children. 

© Carolina Pedraza

We love your banner design for Kidlit411! Tell us about how you approached this project. 

During 2020, my family and I lived through a very strict lockdown in Madrid, Spain. Drawing and creating were my lifelines. Our main access to the outside world was through our window. I began a series of cut paper illustrations in which tiny worlds were framed within apartment windows. I had fun working with patterned paper, creating funny little characters and imagining their lives indoors. The birds on a wire, a signature of Kidlit411 banners, reminded me of clotheslines on buildings— which I see in Madrid; and incorporating a depiction of writing and drawing as part of the characters to reflect the kidlit community, was a welcome challenge. 

© Carolina Pedraza

What projects are you working on now? 

This year has been a bit slower in terms of drawing for me. However, I try to always keep a personal project or two going. I'm currently working on sketches for a series of 50 drawings— figuring out how they will relate to each other and whether there will be a narrative. I'm focusing on the concept of "home" drawn as a symbol that interacts with the characters in all fifty drawings. I also continue to do a series of daily lunchbox drawings for my daughter. I began drawing them in fall 2016 when she started full day PreK. To date, I must be nearing 700+ drawings done on blank notecards with a Sharpie. 

What is your preferred medium and illustration process? 

My favorite media are pencil and pen on paper. They are my strongest by far, and allow me to get my ideas down quickly. I also love to work with cut paper because the work becomes somewhat of a puzzle or game to put together, there is a bit more freedom in deciding a composition, and it's fun to manipulate a material that is simple, yet so incredibly versatile. 

© Carolina Pedraza

What is one thing most people don't know about you? 

Most people don't know that I like to bake—cookies, breads, cakes—and then get all Martha Stewart-y coming up with clever ways to package them to give away as gifts. 

© Carolina Pedraza

Where can people find you online? 

I have a website at; I used to post daily on twitter and instagram (@cpedrawza), and occasionally on facebook (@cpedrawza), but about a year ago I became somewhat disillusioned with social media and stopped posting. My accounts are still there, and I visit the platforms every once in a while to keep up with illustrators and kidlit news. 

Carolina's first memory of drawing is of her sitting in a little wooden chair with leather stretched seat and back at a little folding table with paper and a box of Prismacolors. She was always the kid in her family and at school who could draw. Watching American cartoons became her source of humor and inspiration—the Flinstones, Tom & Jerry and The Jetsons. As a child she lived in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and in a suburb of Chicago. This last one was where the magic of the Scholastic Book Fair brought her together with the book How To Draw Funny People by Bob McKay. She pored over that book until she could draw the characters by heart. She grew up learning and loving English—reading and writing it, and not wanting to read in Spanish. Now she has a daughter whom she is raising bilingual, so she has read in Spanish more than she ever did growing up! With a background in drawing and writing, she has taught a wide range of people and ages: drawing and ceramics to college students, art to children and adults at a contemporary art museum, and writing and reading to Kindergarteners and 4th graders. Last year she started a graphic novel book club for pre-teen girls for whom English is a second language. She currently works in her home studio in Madrid, Spain, surrounded by books, pencils and paper, and loves to spend time with her funny and creative 11-year-old daughter.


  1. Love the banner! It was fun to learn more about you and to see some of your work.


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