A solitary child, Morales became a keen observer of the world around him, and discovered early his ability to draw. His parents sent him to study at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City. Upon receiving his degree, he began a career of teaching art at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City.
In the later years of his career, Morales' paintings and prints were widely exhibited in Europe and the United States. For all the international exposure, Morales' work remained firmly rooted in the life, landscape and mythology of his home village, ranging from the grand tableaux of his paintings and lithographs to the delicate but often humorous vignettes of his collages. His work is considered one of the best examples of Magic Realism in art. A major retrospective of his work with an accompanying monograph, was organized by the MARCO Museum of Monterrey in 2005.