July 21, 2020

Let's Talk Illustrators #150: Cinta Arribas

Today I'm talking to Spanish illustrator Cinta Arribas, whose illustrations in Naomi Danis' My Best Friend, Sometimes are equal parts funny and relatable. This is the same duo who created I Hate Everyone two years ago, and it was such a pleasure to catch Cinta to discuss her uniquely bubbly and energetic illustration style with this new book. Enjoy!

About the book: 
Stephanie and I like each other. And we don't like each other. Both.

It all begins on the day Stephanie proposes, If you give me a cookie, I'll be your best friend. From then on, the two girls are inseparable, but not always at peace. They love to giggle, whisper, observe their classmates, and share their most outlandish, secret dreams. But sometimes they are at odds. Some days one doesn't feel like sharing. Taking turns isn't always easy. If they can't agree on a game to play, who decides? One day it seems like Stephanie is mad for no reason at all. The ups and downs of friendship can be steep, and often unpredictable. My Best Friend, Sometimes navigates the path of two girls moving towards, away from, and back to each other again.

Let's talk Cinta Arribas!

LTPB: Can you talk a little bit about the visual evolution of My Best Friend Sometimes? As you got to know the characters, how did your illustrations change?

CA: The most important thing for me is creating the characters, so I do a lot of  sketches until I find the perfect shapes, faces and clothes they wear. At that moment I feel like a movie director choosing actors in a cast.

My Best Friend Sometimes is about two friends who love each other but also have differences, and that fact had to be aesthetically shown too. I drew them the same age but very different: one of them is tall and has brown curly hair whereas the other has got red hair and a lot of freckles in her face.

LTPB: What is the first thing you do when you receive a new project? How do you make a conscious effort to tailor your illustration style to each new manuscript?

CA: The beginning of every book is amazing because I have a complete universe to create. I read the manuscript that Naomi Danis wrote and I did the first sketches with a lot of freedom. I have my own style when illustrating but I try to adapt it to the story. The color palette and the scene change in every book.

LTPB: What did you use to create the illustrations in this book? Is this your preferred medium? How does your process change from book to book?

CA: I firstly draw with pencils and color markers, in order to get more natural textures. Then I digitalize the drawings and continue drawing with Photoshop. I don't change the medium a lot from one book to another, but I'm lately experimenting with watercolors.

LTPB: What are you working on now? Anything you can show us?

CA: I'm working on a book for a Spanish publishing house, but I can't still show you anything. It's a nonfiction book, very funny. It will be published next spring.

LTPB: If you got the chance to write your own picture book autobiography, who (dead or alive!) would you want to illustrate it, and why?

CA: That's a difficult question because I admire a lot of illustrators. I may choose Conxita Herrero, a Spanish comic artist. She is brilliant and it would be cool if she illustrates my life.

A big thank you to Cinta for talking to me about this book! My Best Friend, Sometimes published this spring from Pow! Kids Books!

Special thanks to Cinta and Pow! Kids for use of these images!

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