The comics and animations of Walt Disney and the novels of Jack London, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson are cited as just some of the influences that spurred West Dorset based illustrator Claudio Muñoz in his career path.
However also remembers how the busy port where he was born in Southern Chile provided many colourful characters which he says were marvellous material for his self training. There were many other important influences on his work: “Cervantes’ extraordinary story ‘Don Quijote’ and the dramatic illustrations to it by Gustave Doré, the beautiful work of the chilean illustrator Mario Silva Ossa (‘Coré’) and his collaborations for the children’s magazine ‘El Peneca’ were formative influences” he says, “as were the encouragement of my parents and the years spent studying Architecture at the Universidad de Chile.”
Claudio remembers how drawing gave him great pleasure, even from a young age. “As a child every scrap of paper available got filled most evenings with observations of that day. Later on, I added a profusion of illustrations to all my school books, including maths” he said.
Claudio left college without graduating and started to work in graphic design and drawing for an educational publisher. However he left Chile five years after the tragic 11 September 1973 military coup and settled in England, where he remembers being “surprised and inspired by its rich illustration tradition.” He worked in advertising, produced editorial work for most newspapers and magazines and developed as an international children’s book illustrator.
His drawings have since appeared in many major newspapers and magazines and his illustrations for children’s books have been short-listed for the Mother Goose and Smarties awards. In 1997 he won the French Prix du Livre de la Mer for Le Petit Capitaine (The Little Captain). Claudio is also a regular contributor to The Economist.
He now lives in West Dorset and is married to painter Jill Newsome.
In December some of his original work will be included in a mixed exhibition at Fox and Worthington Fine Art in South Street, Bridport.