Presenting: Ana OCHOA

 

Even though I only realized this when I was older and the time came to choose my career, I always knew I’d be doing books.

Mexican universities did not offer any specific courses or degrees for aspiring illustrators. So I studied the next best thing, Graphic Design, at the National University of Mexico. Later, I was lucky to get involved with the local IBBY chapter, where I realized that writing and illustrating books would be possible: that was my first real contact with the world of making books.

After finishing my degree, I started working as an illustrator doing a monthly literary newspaper for kids. Then came a couple picture books. And then I received a scholarship to study in Strasbourg, France at L’Ecole Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. It was there that I learned, with M.Claude Lapointe, what it was to be a children’s book illustrator.

My work for the book “Storms in a Bottled Sea” was selected for the Illustrators Exhibition in Bologna in 1997; and my work for the book “A Loved Cow” was chosen for an Encouragement Prize in the NOMA Concourse in Japan.

My work has been exhibited in Japan, Taiwan, New Delhi, Bratislava, Brazil, Colombia, Bologna and Mexico. And I have worked for major publishing houses in Mexico, Spain, and the United States.

I have been a professional illustrator for almost 20 years, doing picture books, educational books, cards, calendars, etc. I have also taken creative writing courses, because I wish more than anything to write and illustrate my own books. From those courses I have a big collection of stories and book ideas, some of which I have started to develop.

I work traditionally as well as digitally.

In 2010, my first book as an author was published: “The Chocolate Boy”. It came out just before the big earthquake in Haiti, and coincidentally, the main character is a little Haitian boy who goes to live in a foreign country and is subject to discrimination and ignorance. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published my book, I am very proud of it!

Also, as part of my creative process, I also design and make silver and enamel jewelry; I also knit and sew, do collage, embroidery (I’d love to do an embroidered book!) modeling and collect all kinds of stuff and trinkets that I could eventually use in my art.