Though María Ramos’ delightful illustrations remain relatively similar in terms of technique, there is a more noticeable change in terms of a story’s structure. “I am interested in narrative”, explains the illustrator, “however, I would like to get away from the classic use of script and be more experimental. That is the magic of the picture book.”
Her new book BadBat, published by Mamut Comics, sees María taking on this challenge. She came up with the story two summers ago while staying with friends in her grandmother’s cottage. “We were having dinner outside late at night," she tells It’s Nice That, “when suddenly, a bat flew into the house and was flying round and round unable to find the exit.” Though this sounds like a pretty terrifying experience by most accounts, María managed to help the bat find a way out. But in doing so, the big wooden front door unexpectedly shut the group of friends outside, leaving them in the mountainous wilderness for the whole night, without even their flip flops.
“We had to sleep on sunbeds with towels as blankets”, recalls María. And though it was cold and uncomfortable, she adds that at least it was also quite funny and on a positive note, they witnessed constellations and shooting stars streaking across the moonlit sky. It was during this sleepover that María came up with the story for her new book and luckily the next day, the friends managed to use a passers-by’s phone to get help and resolve the situation.
Charmingly drawn and extremely sweet, BadBats signifies María’s increasing development in storytelling. Above all, she’d like her viewers to enjoy themselves while reading her books. “And if something goes wrong, it’s better to look at the good side and take advantage of it, similar to the events that took place on the night of the bat," she adds on the matter.
As well as working on BadBats, the illustrator has recently collaborated with the Hong Kong-based food platform, I Am Mama. Since María previously demonstrated her ability to illustrate the friendliest of foods in her book Picnic the food platform approached her with an open brief meaning she could do “whatever [she] wanted” as long as it was food-related.
Commissioned to write and illustrate a monthly story for its online platform, María’s most recent narrative revolves around a healthy doughnut that eats vegetables and takes part in sports. If that wasn’t endearing enough for you, María has just finished her next book Bubble Gum Boy, published by Fulgencio Pimentel. “It is a book about a boy who is a bubble gum balloon and it’s his first day at school”, she goes on to say.
As her storytelling continues to progress, María hopes to translate her drawings through to animated cartoons some day. “I have received some proposals of animated ads in the past, but they didn’t materialise in the end. But who knows, maybe there will be some other opportunities in the future," concludes the illustrator on her ever-captivating work.