“I thought I was in deep trouble when my second-grade teacher demanded a conference with my mother,” remembers Costa Rican artist Allan Murillo. At issue was an illustration that Allan created for a class assignment; it was so well done that the teacher assumed that Allan’s mother must have done the homework for him. Murillo had drawn a shepherdess flower, complete with a cardboard frame. With apprehension growing about the upcoming conference, Allan and his mother arrived at the school. When confronted with the situation, Allan’s mother simply asked him to draw another picture, right in front of her and the teacher. Amazed with the new drawing, the teacher praised Allan and he passed his assignment with glowing colors.

“Although drawing was second nature to me as a child and one of my favorite pastimes,” Murillo tells us, “it wasn’t until I was 17 when my advertising-design teacher fanned the spark to motivate me to follow the path of the arts.”  


Graphic design was his curriculum of choice as a student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Fine Arts, from 2004 to 2009. 


“My favorite type of art is drawing,” Allan says. “I admire the way the line is expressed, the subtlety of a well-done stroke, the purposeful simplicity that motivates imagination, the ease, and above all, the feeling of working with the strokes.” 


Nature’s beauty


The sensation of freedom generated by the creative process and the taste for beautiful things in nature, with all its different manifestations, brings boundless inspiration to Allan. Having the good fortune to live in an area with vast arrays of greenery and fauna also aids Murillo to concentrate his illustrations on his feathered-friends. So far he has documented 71 species of birds on the property, so his determination is endless.


“Despite the fact that my art tends to feature the simplistic beauty of birds,” he explains, “after more detailed observation of these animals, I was motivated to begin my own naturalistic illustration project, concentrating on the birds that visited my house. Then I moved on to the never-ending diverse species, and now I have expanded my free rein to the illustration of mammals of Costa Rica.”  


Frequent visits with his uncle to the jungle areas in the northern section of San Carlos taught Allan to enjoy the features of the infinite green landscape: listening to the sounds of frogs, birds, rain and wind, feeling the humidity of the moss with his hands and breathing the aroma of mountains. 


“These are the sensations that make me feel alive and connected to myself and stimulates my artistic endeavors,” he says.


Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist and watercolorist, Bill Waterson, is held in high esteem by Murillo.  

“I love the way he uses the counter-form and his ability to present a powerful character in his drawings; it is almost as if they speak for themselves. In addition, Mr. Waterson is a master of watercolor techniques, which when including it in his arts achieves an incomparable effect.”


For more information about Allan Murillo, please visit our website at or contact us at

Roseate Spoonbill - illustration

Roseate spoonbill - illustration

Murillo red-legged honeycreeper illustration

Keel-Billed Toucan - illustration

Owlet Mochuelo-illustration

post a comment

− 4 = 1