Meet Filipino Illustrator Ramon Abad + Book Giveaway

Ramon is a graphic designer, children’s book illustrator, and a storyteller! He is based out of San Francisco, California, USA. Let’s get to know him a little better.

What is a favorite book or story from your childhood?

There’s soooo many stories & books from my childhood I loved so much…and still love ’em til now!

I grew up reading & doodling in the pages of ALL of my Dr. Seuss books! I would try to draw my fav characters from Cat in the Hat, The Sneetches & Other Stories, The Foot Book, etc….and would try to draw the typical Dr. Seuss style character: content doing their own business, in profile with a big grin & closed eyes! Why closed eyes? Who knows? But I thought that was so cool! 
And later, the most influential children’s book that’s still in the DNA of whatever I do is Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
The surreal story & non-sense characters appealed to me as a kid…but later as an adult to learn that some of the characters were a satire of the politicians of Carroll’s time brought my appreciation of the books to whole new level of understanding. Making children’s art that also questions contemporary politics – sure, why the heck not?
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I see inspiration for designs as soon as I put on my glasses in the morning!
Street art, urban murals, hand-made signs for lost cats taped on lamp posts, a steady diet of art & animation blogs…and going to bookstores like Green Apple in San Francisco & picking up new children’s books to see what’s being published now. The SF Museum of Modern Art’s bookshop also has one of the BEST contemporary children’s book sections in the Bay Area, in my humble opinion.
It is a great time to be in the children’s books industry since there is NOT just one style out there to express well-written stories for children. The variety & complexity of illustration styles & subject matter is awesome!
I am currently obsessed with ALL the books from the design collective Wee Society right now…look ’em up! Their kid’s joke book Wee Hee Hee is so much fun!
What topics do get excited about illustrating? / What upcoming projects are you working on?
I love working in collaboration like I did with Gayle Romasanta for Beautiful Eyes & the Beautiful Eyes Activity Book…and I also really dig illustrating characters for the puppet shows that I currently perform at Fil Am festivals & parties.
I studied the engineering of pop-up books in order to make stories that I perform with puppets that come out of big pop-up books that I’ve hand-made.
These puppet shows bring together my deep love of books, puppets & good stories to tell children of all ages…and since they’re flat they’re a heck of a lot easier to carry on the bus than big, bulky puppets!
The next time I’ll perform one of these puppet shows will be at the next UNDISCOVERED in SF this July – hope to you there!

What languages do your/your family speak?

My 4 other siblings & I were born where our mom is from in Iligan, Northern Mindinao, so our family speaks Visaya at home…but our dad is from Pangasinan and we’re able to speak Tagalog as well.

What is your favorite Filipino food?
Since I was born in Iligan it has to be kinilaw…or as my family would joke, it’s like Filipino sashimi!
There’s something about the raw fish with onions & vinegar (usually not on the most fav food childhood memory list!) but when it’s done right, it’s just not good healthy food, but it’s a point of pride for Iliganons!

Take a look at Ramon’s portfolio at and follow him on Instagram

Book Cover

We’re giving away 1 boardbook copy of Beautiful Eyes by Gayle Romasanta and illustrated by Ramon Abad. Click the link below to enter the contest (open to US residents only), starts 5/24/19 1200pm PST to 5/30/19 1159am PST.

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