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Five Questions With… Liza Flores (Hugging Trees)

By Olivia Duke
 | Aug 27, 2015

Liza-Flores-with-Her-Art--e1395985568429Liza Flores is the amazing illustrator who created the cover for this year’s International Literacy Day Activity Kit. Her delicate work in cut paper has been used in children’s books and in art exhibitions, but she doesn’t stop there. She is also one third of Studio Dialogo, a design firm in the Philippines.

You studied Visual Communication (Fine Arts) in college. Did you always want to be an illustrator?

I have always loved drawing, but it never occurred to me that illustrating can be a career until college. It was only when I saw an exhibition of children’s book illustrations did I realize that real people made books!

The paper cutout technique you use seems so intricate. How much time do you usually have to complete your illustrations?

It depends on the size and the complexity of the illustration. A page for a book can take a day. The biggest I made was 4-by-5 feet. Those took me about a month each.

Between Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK), the only association of Filipino children’s book illustrators, and Studio Dialogo, your design company, you are always working with other artists. What do you enjoy about working in such a collaborative industry?

The idea that one problem or opportunity can be addressed in many ways is what excites me about working in the creative industry. Each person (or artist) brings in something new and different to the table. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to bring so many ideas and talents together towards a common goal. There’s so much potential and possibilities!

How do you bring each author’s unique vision to life?

I attended a design conference several years ago, and one thing that stuck with me was, “The problem is the problem.” Which basically means the only way to solve a design problem is to figure out what the problem is. I feel the same is true with illustrating stories. I try to find the core message of the story first. Only when this is clear does the possibilities on how to visualize it opens up.

Is there a character that you have illustrated that you love most?

I illustrated a story entitled “The Star Thrower” in 2008. The character didn’t have a name. It was just a girl, but I’ve repeatedly drawn her or a version of her in other works. Because of the simplicity of the character’s form, I feel that she’s like a blank canvas. She can be anybody.

Olivia Duke is ILA’s communication assistant.


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