Greetings friends my name is Zeke. I’m a cartoonist and illustrator from El Paso, TX.

I like making comics and illustrations because they are an accessible way to explore complex issues. I studied Art History at the University of Texas at Austin and I’m mostly self-taught in illustration and painting. I have published work with, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 I received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for my illustrations in the graphic biography Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications 2017). My first children’s book My Papi Has a Motorcycle was written by Isabel Quintero and will be published in Summer 2019 by Kokila, a Penguin Young Readers imprint.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my work. If you're an art director or editor I'd love to hear from you about collaborating on something.




Zeke Peña is a cartoonist and illustrator from El Paso, Texas. He studied Art History at the University of Texas, Austin and is self-taught in illustration and painting. He has published work with, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 he received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for a graphic biography he illustrated titled Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. His first children’s book My Papi Has a Motorcycle was written by Isabel Quintero and will be published in Summer 2019 by Kokila, a Penguin Young Readers imprint.

Please email for CV, Press Requests/Photos and Academic bio.




for Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

2018 Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner

2019 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens

2018 Moonbeam Children's Books Gold Award Winner

NPR Best Books of 2018

Booklist Top 10 Arts Books for Youth: 2018

One of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2018

Photo by Sara Waldorf 2018.

Near the beginning of this gorgeous book, the celebrated photographer Graciela Iturbide says: “I photograph and exist in the in-between: those spaces where unknown worlds, real and imagined, intersect.” This also is an apt description of the book itself, which revels in the in-between; mixing elements of photo essay, memoir and graphic novel to create a powerful biography that – like Iturbide herself – defies convention.
— Minh Lê for NPR Best Books 2018

Quintero and Peña strike a good compromise, featuring many of Iturbide’s photographs as a complement to the biography, but without being dependent on them. The result is a book that expertly combines various aspects to become something utterly unique.
Quintero and Peña’s biography of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is far more than an account of her life . . . Eye-opening and masterfully rendered.
— BOOKLIST *Starred Review
Graphic novel honors a provocative life by taking a provocative form.
Striking black and white illustrations. . . . A powerful homage to the five-decade evolution of an artist still working—and still evolving—today.
— THE HORN BOOK *Starred Review
From pieces such as Our Lady of the Iguanas, Juchitán, Oaxaca (1979) to Rosario and Boo Boo in Their Home, East L.A. (1986), we see Iturbide become one with her subjects, somehow transcending her role as photographer and entering into a relationship with everything her camera captures. The artwork of Penã, which depicts these interactions, seems to do the same, joining audiences to Iturbide’s experiences. . . . Recommended to anyone interested in fine art photography, particularly of Mexican and Southwestern American subjects, and for library collections with a focus on this area.
I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone… There’s darkness and death; but it’s not a morbid story. It’s about learning to find who you are and be brave and true to yourself, and finding beauty in forgotten places and people.
Mixing original illustrations, first-person prose, and lyrical interludes with gorgeous reproductions of photographer Graciela Iturbide’s work, Quintero and Peña patiently reveal their subject’s many angles, producing a “kaleidoscopic unraveling” of the artists… Teens will come away with an evolved sense of how to look at a creator’s life and work and how to think critically about art as a process. The importance of being seen, specifically in regard to indigenous communities in Mexico and Mexican Americans in the United States, as a narrative thread will resonate strongly with readers. VERDICT Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies. A must for teen collections.
A fascinating book that blends the story of Iturbide’s life with poetic interpretations of pivotal moments in her career. . . . Even if you’re not already a fan of Iturbide, Quintero’s story of the photographer’s journey as an artist is incredibly inspiring. Like Frida Kahlo, Iturbide was born into a life of privilege, which came with the burden of overwhelming expectations. Her decision to reject that life in order to pursue her art is nothing short of courageous.
Photographic is one of the most creative and original nonfiction books I’ve read this year. . . .Quintero and Peña expertly convey the meanings behind Iturbide’s photographs.


This 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award–winning biography introduces readers to “an icon. Orgullo mexicano. Maestra.” Photographer Graciela Iturbide’s (b. 1942) story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality reproductions of her own photographs, and spare first-person narration drawing upon her writing and interviews; interspersed are section introductions in a more conversational third-person, direct-address text. Together the sections trace, in not-quite-linear fashion, Iturbide’s travels from her home of Mexico City to the neighborhoods of East L.A. and Tijuana; the pueblos of Oaxaca and Juchitán; Jaipur in India; Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Coyoacán; and beyond. We see the development of the many “obsessions” she is compelled to document and understand through her work: birds and the freedom of flight, death, life in “in-between” spaces, ritual, gender politics, the stories objects tell. Iturbide’s photography, frequently featuring strong women at the center of their indigenous communities, is intensely personal and culturally specific, yet universally resonant. Her philosophy is rooted in “intimacy and respect” (“I respect my subjects because I am subject, too. Always”) and in curiosity about liminal places where “the present and past,” “the indigenous and postcolonial,” “the real and the imagined” overlap. As author and illustrator document Iturbide documenting hersubjects, they embrace all of these elements of Iturbide’s ethos. A powerful homage to the five-decade evolution of an artist still working — and still evolving — today. Additional biographical information and a recommended reading list are appended. KATIE BIRCHER

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.



Beginning by thanking the teachers in the audience, calling them “keepers of culture, protectors of everything we value,” Peña spoke about how he came to illustrate the graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero (Getty Publications). Peña, whose background is in community organizing, initially became familiar with the photographer while on a road trip through Mexico. When he and Quintero teamed up for the project, he made the decision to draw less from historical context, and more from Iturbide’s photographs themselves. However, he didn’t want his illustrations to be replicas of Iturbide’s images, but to instead express a similar “visual language.” As Iturbide often captured in her photographs, he hoped to distill something of the “in-between space,” or the moments that occur after laughter subsides, or artifice falls away. Throughout his process, he remained cognizant of the tricky line between “fact and imagination,” and how much leeway an author and artist have when creating a story of a person’s life.

Excerpt from A Gathering of Minds: A Hopeful and Incisive Bank Street Book Festival - By Matia Burnett | Publisher’s Weekly Oct 30, 2018


Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who can.
— Herbert Marcuse : The Aesthetic Dimension