Rafael López is an internationally recognized illustrator and artist. A children’s book illustrator, he won the 2016 Pura Belpré medal from the American Library Association for his illustrations for Drum Dream Girl and the 2010 Pura Belpré medal for Book Fiesta. In 2012, he was selected by the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival poster. He has been awarded the 2017 Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award, three Pura Belpré honors and two Américas Book Awards. The illustrations created by López bring diverse characters to children’s books and he is driven to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.
Born and raised in Mexico City to architect parents, Rafael López was immersed in the rich visual heritage, music and surrealism of his native culture.
His clients include Amnesty International, Apple, Charlesbridge Publishing, Chicago Tribune, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IBM, Intel, Lee & Low books, Library of Congress, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Grammy Awards, United States Forest Service, United States Postal Service, The Washington Post and the World Wildlife Fund. His work has been selected into multiple juried shows with illustrations featured in publications like Communication Arts, the American Illustration Annual, Graphic Design USA and the Huffington Post.
He is a founder of the Urban Art Trail movement in San Diego’s East Village creating a series of large-scale murals that brought the community together. His murals can be found in urban areas, at children’s hospitals, public schools, under freeways and at farmer’s markets around the country. López’s community work with murals is the subject of the children’s book Maybe Something Beautiful, How Art Transformed a Neighborhood.
López was commissioned to create seven United States Postal Stamps including the Latin Music Legend Series. His stamps have been featured on the cover of the commemorative stamp yearbook and exhibited at the Smithsonian. In 2008 and 2012 he was asked to create official posters for the Obama/Biden campaign to win the pivotal Latino vote. The illustrator lives and works in an industrial loft in downtown San Diego and in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.