Karen De La Vega is a Mexican freelance illustrator born and raised in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. After graduating as a children’s educational psychologist in 2021, she became an illustrator and comic artist focusing on Middle Grade and Young Adult literary fiction. about. about. She had a childhood obsession with drawing the characters she read about. One of Karen’s many muses as a 13-year-old was Rick Riordan’s five-book series, Percy Jackson, and the Olympians. The juvenile series takes Greek mythology into the 21st century, following 12-year-old Percy Jackson who discovers he’s a descendant of a Greek god. The series follows Percy as he embarks on a quest to put an end to a gods' war that has been raging and to fulfill a prophecy that was made long before he was born.
Percy and his friends captured Karen's heart, but it was Rick Riordan’s other juvenile series The Kane Chronicles to which she felt a closer connection. The Kane Chronicles is a three-book series that follows siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, two biracial children (Black and Caucasian), as they enter the world of the Egyptian gods. As the most powerful Egyptian magicians to be born in hundreds of years, the children must learn how to control their own abilities in order to survive the power of these awakening gods.
Family is very important to Karen, and she believes that books for middle-grade readers should address the ties that bind families together. The Kane Chronicles primarily center on Carter and Sadie, two siblings who were raised apart from one another after their mother passed away. Throughout the novel, Sadie and Carter form a strong bond, but they struggle to see each other as siblings after not only spending years apart but also because of the color of their skin. Whereas Carter takes after their father, dark-skinned with brown eyes, Sadie takes after their mother, light-skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes. Nothing can stop the siblings from defending one another as they learn more about their magical family history. Karen strongly identifies with Sadie and Carter as she, herself, has felt trapped between two cultures: the traditional Mexican culture she was raised in and the Western culture she was surrounded by.
Karen's decision to post her fan art online was influenced by her involvement in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson, and Kane Chronicles fandoms. Although she initially only posted her illustrations for herself, she soon realized the impact her work could have on minority representation thanks to the fans' response to her work. Karen continues to represent Mexican culture in her own original projects at the illustration agency Astound US.