'Tricolín' story about pollution, published in Tricolor in 1973.

Félix Arburola Bustos was one of Costa Rica's most notable children's book illustrators, who also worked as a painter and art director. He is best known for his illustrations to several important children's books, and for his contributions to the children's magazines Tricolor and Tambor.

Early life and education
He was born in 1947 in Cañas in the province of Guanacaste, where the natural surroundings left him a lasting source of inspiration throughout his career. His interests in the arts were probably inherited from his mother, a dressmaker and fan of dramatic arts. Arburola began scribbling in his notebooks at age 7, and took classes at the Escuela Casa del Artista of Olga Espinach from age 15. Later he enrolled several free courses at the University of Costa Rica, only to discover that academics were not his thing.

Early assignments
The young man was just under 20 when he started earning his living as an illustrator. Early jobs were making educational brochures for doctors and patients of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund. Later he joined Carlos Enrique Figueroa's children's magazine Tricolor (1972), where he drew the early educational comic strips starring the 'Tricolín' character. This Figueroa creation would later evolve into one of Costa Rica's largest cultural franchises for children.

Professional career
Arburola in the meantime continued his career working for agencies like the Alberto H. Garnier Ad Agency, as well as public and private publishers, including Editorial Costa Rica, Universidad Estatal a Distancia and Editorial Santillana. He made designs for brands like Jack's snacks and Dos Pinos skimmed milk, and most notably invented the mascot for Grupo Nación's children's magazine Revista Tambor, which was published from 23 March 1986 until December 1989. As art director, he played an important role in the visual presentations of both Tambor and the magazine Andrómeda. One of the most recognized illustrators of children's literature, Arburola illustrated the work of noted authors such as Carlos Luis Sáenz, Alfonso Chase, Lara Ríos and Julieta Pinto.

Illustration for 'El rey que quería escribir un cuento' ("The King who wanted to write a book") by Lara Ríos.

He had his studio near the mountains of Barva in the province of Heredia, where he furthermore worked on more personal projects. As a painter, he was inspired by Costa Rica's rich natural beauty, but also Zen poetry and art. He enjoyed playing with shapes and colors, and experimented with several art forms, including origami and culinary art.

Illustration for 'El cuento que me gusta más', a poetry collection by Manuel Aguilar (2007).

Félix Arburola passed away on 8 November 2015 from the results of lymphatic cancer. The Hotel Villa San Ignacio in El Cacao, Alajuela, hosted an exhibition dedicated to his work in its gallery from April through July 2016. Each of Félix Arburola's four children are active in artistic fields. His daughters Moy and Ariel are actress and illustrator, respectively, his oldest son Sebastián Boreal works as a visual artist and DJ, and his youngest son Félix is a rock musician and illustrator.


Series and books by Félix Arburola Bustos in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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