Home » “Mum, I want to be a ‘painter’ like Picasso”
Gema Moreno drawing

“Mum, I want to be a ‘painter’ like Picasso”

If Mara Turing existed in the world of art, I’m sure she would be very similar to Gema Moreno. The illustrator who has given shape and texture to the drawings of Mara Turing. Rise of the Hackers is a Spanish girl who lives in London, and whom I’ve had the luck to meet through her mother, Maca, a good friend whom I met in a Michael Jackson forum some time ago.

While strolling with Maca around London some time ago, she told me many things about her daughter. We were at Hamleys toy store when she showed me some of Gema’s designs and paintings. I had already seen some of her work on Facebook, but that conversation left a buzzing in my head.

A year and a half later, in mid-August 2018, while I was working on the interior of the book and refining the plot, all this came to mind. I saw the light! So I wrote the following message to Maca:

Hello Maca!!!
A question about your little artist
Does she do illustrations for books?

She told me yes, and that she had just finished a cover for a book. Since she was a bit busy that day (Maca is a great professional in the world of cooking and catering), it took her about twenty-four hours to give me Gema’s contact: “I’ll pass you my daughter’s number, and you two can talk. She’s delighted.”

Great! Everything moved quickly from there. I sent her the text, explained what I wanted, and the little time we had to do it all.

It wasn’t a problem for her, even though Gema is much busier than your average 18-year-old girl. She studies at an art school, works… and illustrates my book at night, among other things typical of her age.

When she sent me the first sketches, I was delighted. That’s when I thought that both she and Anna G. Sola (the illustrator who created the cover figures) deserved an article on this blog.

To start, it’s likely that Gema won’t like (especially) that I’m here dedicating these compliments to her. She considers herself talented, yes, but she believes more in daily effort, trial and error, and an attitude: not settling. And that’s fine. In a society where people are getting used to exposing even the smallest insignificant detail of their lives in search of strangers’ approval, Gema’s attitude is a breath of fresh air.

And the truth is, it’s much more gratifying when others say good things about you. Bravo, Gema!

Maca told me some very amusing details about her daughter’s childhood: how they watched Michael Jackson videos together, how they went through certain difficult moments together, and how one day, while looking at Picasso paintings on the computer, she said: “Mum, I want to be a ‘painter’ like Picasso”.

It was then, when she was very little, that she began to spend hours and hours looking at paintings by famous artists on the internet. It was normal for girls her age to watch cartoons; she preferred to animate them in her mind and analyze how they were made. Probably, that habit of observation and analysis is what led her to develop her own art in a wonderful way.

Shortly after showing her special inclination for graphic creation and painting, Maca enrolled her in art classes at a store in Linares, where the owner (a Fine Arts graduate) taught sessions on learning to paint.

“Since then, she hasn’t stopped drawing,” Maca told me.

Of course, she has hobbies. She loves visiting museums and classical music, but also 80s and 90s pop or K-pop, which is so popular now. Her first big concert? The Rolling Stones.

In London, she has a fabulous habitat for dedicating herself to art. It may be the city with the most activity in Europe in this field, although that doesn’t mean that Gema isn’t passionate about the Asian world and has in mind to go there for a while.

Without a doubt, her grandfather was very right. Maca’s father always told her that Gema had “something special” and that she only needed time. Seeing the life her granddaughter leads, he would not only be proud, but also understand that she is capable of stretching that time to the maximum to make the impossible possible.

Thank you very much, Gema.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *