Miguel Cabrera, a BoomBoom Prints artist under the pseudonym Monfa, is the kind of dad everyone dreams to be. His compassionate stories send a message of love and pure kindness, the heartwarming moments he shares about his son are truly special, and there is no doubt that his artistic inspiration draws from his love as a father. If you want to feel reassured of love, read his story to fulfill your dose of hope:
“Having a child has allowed me to see life through my son’s eyes as he discovers new things every day.”
I’m from the small country of Costa Rica, a place that many recognize for its ecology and tourism. I am an artist and a father of a brilliant boy named Santiago. Santiago is 8 years old, loves to draw, and he’s always interested in my new drawings. He is my inspirationand my motivation to draw- I do every drawing, every job thinking about my son. He is an important part of my style, and memories of childhood have always been a recurring theme for me.
Having a child has allowed me to see life through my son’s eyes as he discovers new things every day. My illustrations have even started to reflect this with the sincerity and innocence that they emit. I want to give back to my son, so I draw things to make Santiago laugh and be happy. I am currently publishing a series of stories called the adventures of Santy (pictured, right), where my son is the main character and my partner in the adventure of making children’s books. I am also writing and drawing other stories that are all based on the stories that I tell him to sleep.
Unfortunately not everything is easy, for I live in Mexico to work currently. Every three months I go back to Costa Rica just to visit my son and to be with him for a couple of weeks. During this time we play, draw, and go on adventures together, and during the rest of the year we speak daily via video or regular phone. This hasn’t moved us away from each other, but rather unites us each day in our own way. Since I currently work freelance as an illustrator for a children’s book project, I speak with Santiago for inspiration. We talk each day, and sometimes up to three times a day, doing homework or playing on the phone.
BBP: What is your son’s favorite piece that you have made?
Miguel: My son’s favorite art piece is “The Ladder“, a piece of five parts that tells a story without words where he is the main character in a great little trip from the Earth to the Moon. I made this piece by asking Santiago about things he would find under the sea, up in the clouds, and how he would get to the Moon. “With a ladder,” he said. Recently he was looking at this piece when we were together and he said, “It’s my story!”
“I’m proud of my son because in any situation of his life, whether at school or in dealing with our distance apart, he always faces his little world with a smile.”
BBP: How did you decorate Santiago’s room?
Miguel: It’s an interesting question because the truth is that I have little say over how he decorates his room. He’s 8 years old so he has started making his own decisions, but it is very nice to see how his walls are filled with pasted drawings he made himself, sheets of paper, sketches, lines, and colors that he proudly shows those who visit his space. I have also tried to fill every possible space with children’s books and gifts I gave him or that we selected together. He especially likes animals and has a large hippopotamus, a big animal drawing, and a giraffe with a neck that goes as high as the ceiling.
BBP: What is your proudest moment as a dad?
Miguel: I can’t select just one moment because every time I do there is something new that makes me feel proud. I think the moments I remember most and that fill me with the most joy are the occasions Santiago discovered something new, a small detail that would seem insignificant to me but would be a big part of his life.
An example of this is when he learned to blow his nose as a small child: I told him he needed to make the sound of rabbits when blowing through his nose. When he did it I made an illustration of the occasion (pictured, right). Other favorite moments include how he learned to tie his shoe laces, or how even after rising after falling off his bike, he always continues to try again. I’m proud of my son because in any situation of his life, whether at school or in dealing with our distance apart, he always faces his little world with a smile.
BBP: What is your favorite way to spend time with your son?
Miguel: Since we only have 2-3 weeks together every 3 months, we always take it to the maximum. Our favorite way to pass time is doing everything possible together with the time we have: playing, drawing, talking, walking, doing homework, even cooking recipes that we invent like “Spaghetti Octopus”. I also love when he sits down with me at the computer and asks me to show him new drawings. He has told me he wanted to draw like me so we have started to draw together, too. Anything together is good, even when we do nothing.
BBP: How does art influence your life as a dad?
Miguel: Art opened my eyes at a young age. Even though I didn’t grow up in an artistic environment, I always found creativity in art. I learned about the lives of artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, and I admired how even their lives filled with difficulties didn’t prevent them from trying to be the best. Art has taught me many things, and as a dad I want to teach my son that he can be the best in what he chooses to be. There is no limit to what he can do by using his imagination, creating, and being happy. Art serves as a tool to share feelings, so it’s important as a parent to know my child’s feelings and teach him that it’s good to feel. Above all, I hope to teach him that hard work and perseverance are necessary to enjoy life, and that if does what he loves, this hard work will lead to happiness.
“I hope to teach [Santiago] that hard work and perseverance are necessary to enjoy life, and that if does what he loves, this hard work will lead to happiness.”
I have officially been an illustrator for 8 years, equal to the age of my son. I actually beganto draw seriously the day that I knew he was going to come into the world- I wanted to create something new, and to have a legacy to leave for him. I wanted to show him that he could be happy in life by working on what he loves, to show him a world full of color and imagination.
I am currently working on a character called Henry the Box, a simple box who shows that what really matters is on the inside. His message is one I hope to share with other parents and one for children to learn asthey travel through his adventures and stories. He has a website as well as an Instagram, and there are several products of Henry the Box on BoomBoom Prints.
There is so much more that I could tell, and there are many more stories and reasons explaining how I would not be the same if I did not have a son.
Miguel and his son, Santiago; illustrated by Miguel Cabrera, Monfa.