Recent Work

Rafael López

The artwork of Rafael López is a fusion of strong graphic style and magical symbolism. He is inspired by his rich cultural heritage growing up in a family of architects, poets, musicians and artists in central Mexico. Rafael paints on wood boards, selecting each board for grain and texture, he applies acrylic paints with sable brushes then distresses with hand pottery tools to create brilliant backgrounds and rich colors.

Rafael’s award-winning picture books include Drum Dream Girl (written by Margarita Engle, HMH), Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del mambo (written by Monica Brown, HarperCollins), and Book Fiesta! (written by Pat Mora, HarperCollins). His picture book Maybe Something Beautiful (written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, HMH) is inspired by the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, which was spearheaded by Rafael and his wife Candice and has inspired many art community projects throughout the United States. The book has been awarded the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award and named an ALA Notable Book. Rafael’s newest book BRAVO! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle has been awarded a 2017 Society of Illustrators Silver Medal.

Rafael’s work is featured in murals around the world, the World Wildlife Federation, Amnesty International, United States Postal Service, Grammy Awards, and the “Voz Unida” Obama campaign. Rafael was the poster artist for the 2012 National Book Festival. Read more here: here.

  • 2017 Society of Illustrators Silver Medal for BRAVO! Poems About Amazing Hispanics
  • 2017 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award for Maybe Something Beautiful written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
  • 2017 Andrew Carnegie Award for Outstanding Video for Drum Dream Girl  written by Margarita Engle and produced by Dreamscape Media
  • Pura Belpré Award for Illustration for Drum Dream Girl  written by Margarita Engle
  • Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration for Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del mambo  written by Monica Brown
  • Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration for The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
  • Pura Belpré Award for Illustration for Book Fiesta! written by Pat Mora
  • Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration and Americas Award for Yum Mmmm Que Rico! 
America’s Sproutings written by Pat Mora
  • Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration and Americas Award for My Name Is Celia Written/Me llama Celia written by Monica Brown