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Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"

Esther Gili: "It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister"

Posted on 5/4/2018 by
Clàudia Laporte

-The illustrator from Madrid lands in Barcelona for Sant Jordi, where she will sign copies of her latest book "El Lenguaje de las olas"

-Gili says she has drawn "always", that it "fascinates" her the rose and the book day in Barcelona and is now working on a book about pirates reading


She has drawn Zipi Zape and the Alatriste maps for the cinema, Panrico, Azucarera or Honda products for advertisements, she has participated with her illustrations in several comics and books, and has taken out her own work of illustrations: "39 weeks". She is Esther Gili, a pencil and paper artist who lands in Barcelona for Sant Jordi, where she will sign copies of "El lenguaje de las olas", a book she illustrates together with the writer Magela Ronda.

This 36-year-old from Madrid, who confesses to us that she has "always drawn", studied illustration, became famous for her blog about her motherhood and assures us that if her sister likes a drawing, "it's fine". Declared fan of Harry Potter, says she has a ‘great’ daughter and, today, and nowadays she has written six books.

Since always introverted, she prefers not to take pictures or to record her, but she attends the QHE team with great pleasure. 

QHE- What message is behind the illustrations and texts of "El lenguaje de las olas"?

Undoubtedly, this book talks about love, over falling in love. I, as an illustrator, reinforce the message that the author wants to give and I contribute ideas, but always at the service of the book.

QHE- How did the collaboration with the writer Magela Ronda happened?

Gerard called me -the editor-, he told me about the book and he told me that the author was Magela. I had worked with Magela in "Encantadas" - she had been my editor at that moment - so when I found out that she was the author of "El lenguaje de las olas", I was very excited to work with her again and I said yes.

QHE- Fairies, sirens, spells, fantastic beings... There is a lot of magic in your creations. Do you think adults should see more with the eyes of children?

Undoubtedly, girls and boys are much cooler than adults and have the clearest principles.

QHE- What illustrations or stories marked your childhood?

I have a lot of stories illustrated by María Pascual. I still keep them, although now I have left them to my daughter.

QHE- You studied illustration and you say that you have been drawing "forever". How it all started?

It all started with some Alpino, blank paper and my sister. 

QHE- When did you decide to take the step of drawing as a hobby to draw as a profession?

When I heard that there was a bachelor of arts and great arts cycles. 

QHE- How did your blog "39 Semanas" change your life about motherhood and upbringing?

Actually, "39 Semanas" did not change my motherhood too much; it helped me to make friends, because thanks to the blog I started with social networks and there I found great women who I am really good friends with. And most of them are not mothers [laughs].

QHE- Do you think about your daughter when dealing with the characters in your albums? What does inspire you to get a new book?

I only illustrate – setting aside the case of "39 Semanas" -; I stop inventing stories to people who know how to do it with mastery. But, logically, I only choose the projects that I like, so in the end there is a union between everyone.

QHE- What did Esther Gili want to be?

Everything: a cook, teacher, judge ... even a notary! –Only singing documents, it seemed like a bargain-. As a teenager I wanted to be a fashion designer but with 17 I changed my mind and decided what I would like to be. And I got it.

QHE- What do you think about the "reading" of picture books through mobile devices?

Like everything, it has its pros and cons. The cons is that touching the paper, feeling its smell, having the object... in short, what is the magic of reading is less complete when you read in digital, but digital picture books tend to have animations and be interactive. I would chose both so the two types can coexist without problem.

QHE - Your originals are sold out at minute 0 of posting on social networks. How has the digital environment influenced your career?

Oops! I owe a lot to social networks. To begin with, before I would have never thought of selling originals, it was like a magpie with my drawings. But life led me to have to sell and I was pleasantly surprised, not only to see that they were sold so fast -that is very cool-, but the reaction of people and how they care for them. After all, I have my drawings in boxes and they expose them in their rooms. The drawings live happier with them than with me, almost certainly -except for the most timid ones.

QHE- How are you doing with Spanish illustrators? Any reference?

Very good! I live with one of them, my sister is another, and I have many friends from the studios and also new friends that I have met.

QHE- What project do you feel most proud of?

I think "39 Semanas", but because I did it by myself; writing is very difficult and I got away with it. But my favourite book is "Olivia y las plumas". That adorable story has my heart stolen. I hope to repeat some day with Susanna Isern.

QHE- What do you spend your free time on when you are not drawing?

I like to be with my family, traveling, the cinema, board games...

QHE- What is the part of the creative process that gives you most laziness?

Scaning, no doubt.

QHE- What is the relationship with your sister Marialu, author of the blog 'Star en rojo' and founder and soul of Marialu?

Unbeatable. She is older than me and I have always been following her, as we both liked to draw, I followed her steps: she went to the baccalaureate of arts, three years later I went too; she was doing a cycle, three years before that you had me there too. Then she got into fine arts, which was her dream, and I started working as an illustrator. 

QHE- What are you working on now?

I'm with a pirate reading book. I will not start uploading photos in Instagram because now I'm working on the sketches.

QHE- Will we have the pleasure of seeing you in Barcelona for Sant Jordi [to sign "El lenguaje de las olas"]?

Yes, I'll be there, I just got past the schedules:

-10: 00 h to 11:00 h: signature at Casa del Llibre - Rambla Catalunya

-13: 00 h to 2:00 p.m.: signature at Noma - Passeig de Sant Joan

-16: 00 h to 17:00 h: signature at Fnac Triangle - Plaza de Cataluña

-18: 00 h to 19:00 h: signature in Abacus - Plaza de Cataluña



• What does blank paper smell like?

Like dreams.

• In your bag there is never missing...

The keys, the rest is dispensable.

• A destination to find inspiration?

Kyoto, Japan

• You feel a weakness for this kind of food...


• Cold or hot?

Heat, but soaking.

• With which of your characters do you identify yourself the most?

I will not say with the mother of "39 semanas" because it is obvious, so Bermellina of "Encantada" because I get super red when something embarrasses me.

• The Beatles or Rolling Stones?

The Beatles.

• Favorite day of the week?


• What do you love most about Barcelona?

Sant Jordi amazes me, it's amazing to see everyone with books on the street... it's wonderful! But what I like most about Barcelona are my friends [laughs].

• If you could have a superpower of Harry Potter, which one would you prefer? Harry Potter has no superpowers, he is a magician. With being able to do magic, I am satisfied.

• Fetish clothes.

Long shirts.

• A colour?

Greenish blue.

• The patatas bravas, with spicy or without?

With spicy If not, they are not patatas bravas.

• Who would you go for a beer with: Goya, Dalí or Picasso?

With Picasso.

• Apart from "El lenguaje de las olas", what other book do you recommend for the kids on Sant Jordi's day?

Illustrated by me, "Olivia y las plumas". One that is not mine, I recommend "La princesa y el poni" - we love it at home.