Interview with animator-illustrator Catalina Matamoros

Catalina Matamoros is an award winning animator and illustrator from Colombia. She has been animating for the past 10 years and is currently working in very exciting projects for interactive children’s books in places such as Airbnb.
To learn more about her work please visit

Her work is whimsical, full of joy and unique! I am very happy to share with you an insight of Catalina’s work:

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations/animations ?

I really like looking children’s books and other illustrators’ work.  I like taking pictures and later using them for illustrations and animations.

Forbidden Music – A story told in Gifs – Airbnb

Q. Can you describe your process and how you came to find your voice? Which are your favorite tools?

My favorite tool is Photoshop! I do everything with it. Usually my process starts with writing. I like doing to-do lists of ideas that I have that I can later go back to. When I have a project I also write the ideas down. I try to describe as much as possible what I am visualizing and I make little doodles.

Once  I go with one of the ideas, I start sketching it out. I like working in Photoshop because I like using layers. I first start with a simple drawing creating the composition. After I go refining in different layers until I have a result I am happy with.

At the beginning I was always copying the work of others. I felt like I didn’t have a signature of my own work. but that was good in the way that I learned to be versatile. Now I prefer, flat, geometric and colorful compositions.

For animation I usually do a rough animation in Anime, after I go to Photoshop and paint it, and do compositing in After Effects.

Two Americans – A story in Gifs – Airbnb

Q. Congratulations on your amazing new animation projects for children! Can you tell us more about this projects and your experience in it?

Thank you! Yes, I am working on a series of interactive books for children. These are aimed to inspire children when they travel anywhere in the world. The idea is to teach them about the destination so they can be inspired to go to new places.

It was a fun experience, for this I collaborated with Lisa Vuong a talented interactive designer. Something I learned in the process was to develop interactive stories. Usually in animation we just create the story for an audience but here the audience plays and modifies the stories so it has a different structure.


Character design – Animals

Q. Favorite children’s book(s)/animations:

My favorites animated movie for children are:

The Secret of Kells by Cartoon Saloon
A cat in Paris by Folimage
Mulan by Disney
and Song of the Sea by Cartoon Saloon

The big O by Shel Silverstein
El viaje de los Elefantes by Dipacho
Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
and of course Madeleine!

Q. What projects are you working on right now and what are your dream projects for the future?

I am finishing a film about face blindness, it’s a story a about a man who falls in love but doesn’t remember the face of the person he fell in love with. This short film received an animation grant from the Sloan Foundation and now it is almost done. I also want to start developing a short film about my great grandma.


Q. What advice would you give to people who aspire to be animators / illustrators?

Just try and practice and be patient. If something doesn’t come up the first time, try a second or a third time and I am sure it will be better. 

Thank you so much for the inspiration, Catalina!