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Juana Martinez-Neal

A Mini-Interview with Marta Altes

Welcome to our first interview for the 2013 November Mini-Interviews. I’m starting by introducing you to the work of the Spanish author-illustrator, Marta Altés.

Marta has a fun, loose style. I found her work online a year ago and immediately loved it. So when it came time to short list our guests for this year, she was one of the names on my list. Now, she’s here with you and me. With you the author-illustrator, Marta Altés.


Brian Won

About Marta Altés

I studied graphic design in Barcelona and after working there as a graphic designer for almost five years (The Original Cha Chá), I decided to pursue my interest for illustration that I had since I was a child. I moved to England and I joined the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. Now, after finishing the course, I think it was the BEST decision I have ever made.
Since I graduated, I’m working as an illustrator and it makes me feel so lucky and happy. I always try to have a positive and funny vision about life and to get a smile from who is looking at my drawings or reading my stories is what I like the most about illustration.

To learn more about Marta, you can visit her website: martaltes.com. You can also follow her on her Blog, Facebook Page, and Twitter.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Art for ‘NO!’ by Marta Altés

Please describe your career as an author-illustrator in 5 words:

Work / Luck / Work ( work appears twice, because I’ve worked a lot) / Friends / Change

Which books, that were your favorites when you were little, have had the greatest influence on your work?

This is one of those very difficult questions… It’s very difficult to respond… I don’t remember particular books that influenced my work. I’m one hundred per cent sure that all the books you read, like all the movies you watch, or all the activities you do when you are a kid, have an influence on your work. I used to read a lot when I was little. My mum was a teacher, and she would bring home lots of books. I also LOVED comic books. On the weekends, we would go to get the newspapers for my parents, and my little brother and I would get a small comic book.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Playing with Pencil Shavings by Marta Altés

Please share an instance in which you had an idea or experience, that started out small, but took root and grew to become a book.

The idea for my first book NO!, came from missing my dog… I had just moved to UK, and I missed him very much. I took him from the dog’s pound 3 years before, and he seemed not to mature at all… He was sooo naughty! He is 5 years old now, and he keeps being as “helpful” as he used to be. When I started this story, I wanted for it to be about a dog that stops being naughty, and his owner worrying about that… That led me to start thinking about his point of view. And that changed everything! I thought that maybe he was doing all of that cause he wanted to help out! And that ended up being the idea of my book.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Art for ‘NO!’ by Marta Altés

Do you ever hide little images, names or personal details in your illustrations? Please give us a peek.

I do!! My parents have appeared in different drawings I’ve done. For example in this chapter book I did.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Marta’s Family illustrated in one of her books.


Daily routines are important for both writers and illustrators. Could you describe your typical work day, and tell us the one little thing you absolutely cannot begin your day without (besides caffeine)?

Well, yes, I think daily routines are very important, but my life has been so changing in the last couple of years, and so have my daily routines. I’ve lived in many different places, and depending on the place, my routine has changed. What hasn’t changed as you say is the caffeine! Wherever I lived I used to work from home, in my room, but this Monday I’m starting a new experience! I’ll be working from a little shared Studio. I can’t wait! Working from home can be a little bit lonely, plus I’m very unorganized, that’s why I absolutely love working from cafes (where I am right now). It makes you plan your day better, and it always helps if you are stuck with one idea to change space.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Art for ‘My Grandpa’ by Marta Altés

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

Art for ‘My Grandpa’ by Marta Altés

Would you tell me about your first experience as an author-illustrator? How did it happen? Who gave you that chance?

Long reply alert! Ok… Everything started 4 years ago. I was a graphic designer, but something inside me made me make the decision of quitting everything and to give my dream a chance. I left the graphic design studio where I used to work, I asked for a loan to the bank, and I joined an MA in Children’s Books Illustration in England. Best decision ever! It changed my life. I worked VERY, VERY hard during the course. One of the first projects I did, was my book NO!. I went to the Bologna Book Fair with my classmates, and I showed the book to many publishers. Many people liked it, but nothing else happened. After Bologna, I kept sending a pdf version of my book to different publishers, and Martin Salisbury (the director of the MA) also sent a few of them. After a few months, Child’s Play International (UK) contacted me back saying that they wanted to publish it!!! I was over the moon! I still now cannot believe it! I’m SO grateful to them! They gave me my very first chance. That was before finishing the MA. When we did finish the MA, we did an exhibition in London, and Macmillan Children’s Books contacted me. They’ve been my publisher ever since. I couldn’t be any happier. My third book with them is coming out in June 2014! It will be called “My New Home”.

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

‘NO!’ by Marta Altés

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

‘My Grandpa’ by Marta Altés

Mini-Interview with Marta Altés

‘I Am An Artist’ by Marta Altés

Thank you very much, Marta! We can’t wait to see your new book!

I’ll be back here next Tuesday with our Mini-Interview with Yuyi Morales. But don’t wait until next Tuesday, this week we have an amazing list of guests. Just see below:

This post is part of the Mini-Interview Series where 4 children’s illustrators interview other Children’s Illustrators and Author-Illustrators throughout the month of November. Our guests for 2013 include:

You can learn more about the Series and the guests to this blog here.


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Children's book author and illustrator, mami of three, wife, sun aficionado, amateur singer and Margarita lover born in Lima, Peru and living in sunny AZ.


  • November 5, 2013

    I love this series! Lovely interview with Marta – only left wondering if she has a dog where she is now!

  • November 5, 2013

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! the pencil shavings art. AMAZING!!

  • November 7, 2013


    It’s always encouraging to hear of someone fulfilling a dream! Marta’s work is so fun – imaginative. Thanks for sharing.

  • November 7, 2013

    Thanks for the mini interview with Marta Altes. I like her simple line work where she’s also showing emotion in the way she’s drawn the object(s).

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