Maker: Whimsical Illustrator Carla Roque

Carla Roque is a whimsical illustrator– her work instantly transported me to childhood, where I was constantly nestled under a table or in a closet, completely transfixed by the drawings that leapt out at me. Carla has THAT sort of hand. This week, we talk to Carla about her family art studio and how she got her start.


please introduce yourself.

Hello Dear Handmade Life! My name is Carla and I am an artist/illustrator living the dream (being creative and making a living doing it) here in Southern California. I grew up in Orange County where I currently live and work along side my husband and our 4 kids.

what do you make or do?

I am a freelance illustrator creating commissioned work for varying clients working in both traditional and digital media. These commissions include: character design, concept art, caricature illustrations, logos, mural design, and painting. I am also a children’s book illustrator in which I am most passionate about illustrating the stories that I create and write. After completing the Graduate Illustration Program this past December at Cal State Fullerton, I have been working to promote my stories as narrative illustration pieces and have been showing and selling my art at galleries, local art walks and creative community events such as the Patchwork Santa Ana and Long Beach Show this past summer. I currently have a solo exhibition “Once Upon a Time” on display at the Oceanside Library in Oceanside California, this show runs until November 15th, 2013. This show displays the original paintings of two of my stories: “The Creeping” & ” The Little Foxes”. Through this particular opportunity I had the chance to do my first promotional library reading visit as well as being able to have my stories published as zines through collaboration with a not-for-profit Art promoter, The Hill Street Country Club.

where can we find your creations?

My website, along with an online store set to launch in late November 2013.

In the meantime my illustration portfolio can be seen at my facebook page.

My original paintings as well as prints, jewelry and zines are currently on sale through November 2013 at

how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?

I have been working as a freelance creative and entrepreneur for the past 9 years, since my husband and I started our little family. This is my full time/part time job, as my most demanding job is being a stay at home mom. I am so very thankful for the flexibility that a freelance creative career gives me. It allows me the opportunity to be a part of my children’s daily life throughout the week. Being able to make a living as an artist and be accessible to my family during the day is so vital to me; I couldn’t really imagine it being any other way.

when you’re not making things, what do you do?

I do loads of laundry, dishes and cleaning of the home/studio and work out themes and designs of art I am currently working on, or daydream about what I will create next. I love to spend time looking over large stacks of children’s picture books at the library and bookstores and spend time studying and being in awe of other illustrators. I like to go jogging and go on dates with the husbands to check out new gallery shows and eat ramen when ever possible. I also like to go hunting for vintage frames, books and other treasures at thrift stores and the weekend swap meet down the street from my house.

is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?

Creativity is very much a necessity for me; I have found that being a creator is such an essential part of who I am, I am truly a better person, Mommy, Wife and everything when I am actively tapping my creative vein. My husband is also a working artist (Art Director/ Toy Designer) we both have a common understanding of how essential fostering our creative person is. I feel fortunate to have someone along side me for the ride that gets that and is continually supporting me to grow in my artistic skills professional pursuits.

My kids all also love to create and make art in some form or another, so we often find ourselves in our family art studio at the back of our house making art and messes (mostly messes) whenever possible.

did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?

I had an awesome first grade teacher that was also an artist; she saw something in me and sought out special opportunities for me to display my talents. I also wrote and illustrated my first children’s book as a project in her classroom, I still have that book today. My parents were also super supportive of me pursuing art as a career (while I am sure they had their doubts) they never voiced them and only encouraged me to just get my AA degree at least. They also allowed me to paint all over my walls and ceiling of my bedroom while I was growing up. My other brother is also a successful working artist, so I guess that says a lot for how they fostered our creative talents.

what’s on the horizon for you and what you do?

I will continue to create and illustrated my own children’s book stories and hope to find those works published and have the opportunity to share my stories with an expansive audience.


 Roque Dear Handmade Life

 Roque Dear Handmade Life

 Roque Dear Handmade Life

 Roque Dear Handmade Life


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