Luciana Navarro Powell

Luciana Navarro Powell was born in Brazil and worked as a product and graphic designer before becoming an illustrator. She incorporates watercolor, photographs, and scanned objects into her artwork. She lives in San Diego, California.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I grew up in Brazil, so I read brazilian books as a child – my favorite is called O Menino Maluquinho by an author/illustrator/cartoonist named Ziraldo. It translates to something like “The crazy little boy”, but “crazy” with a positive connotation: the book is about a spirited little boy that got into some trouble here and there as a kid, but was smart and kind and creative, who grew up to be a great guy. I have an autographed copy, which makes it more special.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

One that comes to mind immediately is the dialogue at bedtime between Olivia and her mom, at the end of Olivia by Ian Falconer:

“You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway.”
And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says: “I love you anyway too.”

That one word there, after “I love you” – “anyway”, makes all the difference. It tells you how spirited, spunky and sweet – all at the same time – this character is, and it’s a perfect closing line for a great book.

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

That is always such a difficult question to answer because I have so many favorites – and the number keeps increasing as I find more artists and authors that I like! So I will mention three illustrators that are on my top list right now – Jonathan Bean, Isabelle Arsenault and Nicoletta Ceccoli.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

It feels to me that I always wanted to be an author and illustrator, even before I could realize that it could be a career. I was always drawing and creating stories as a kid. Even after getting a degree in Design and working as a designer for a few years, I started to get freelance jobs as an illustrator and kept going until I made it a full-time career. I think the short answer is because I love drawing.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

It sounds so cliche, but my advice is: Keep at it. Never stop pushing yourself to evolve and eventually your work will be seen and recognized. Develop a very tough skin because rejection is inevitable, don’t take it personally, learn from mistakes and keep at it. But only do it if you can’t do anything else.