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Marcos Viso was born in Ourense, in 1973. He has a degree in Architectural Technology from the University of A Coruña, and he worked as a freelancer until 2013, when he decided to devote entirely to his passion: the illustration.
He has an NVQ in Higher Technical Illustration from the Art School of Ourense, and he also attended the “A to Z Workshop: Creation of an Illustrated Album”, which was carried out by Jorge Zentner, Mariona Cabassa and Rebeca Luciani in Barcelona.
He currently lives in Ourense, where he carries out some personal projects related to illustrated album, and he also teaches drawing and illustration.
When did you start to dedicate to the world of illustration?
When we were informed about the economic crisis, I enrolled myself in the Higher Technical Illustration Course. In the Art School of Ourense, I’ve discovered an unknown world for me so far. It was wonderful! One year after, in 2013, when I became a father of a beautiful girl whose name is Iria, I was given the final boost.
The desire to be the best father required some changes. I took my pencil, I packed my bags, and I went to Barcelona to participate in a workshop with Rebecca Luciani, Jorge Zentner and Mariona Cabassa. Since then, and enjoying myself, I’ve tried to gain a foothold in the world of illustration.
How do you define your illustrations?
I love those stories that I can tell through metaphors, where I can play with atmospheres, empathize with characters, and convey emotions.
I like to think that the illustrations can provoke curiosity at any age. They can encourage children –and also grownups– to travel to the other side of the text. And they can also create other possibilities than those that can be just read or seen in an illustrated story.
Opening a window into the imagination and suggesting other options… I want the illustration to be a reason for reflection, for imagination. I think this idea of “spark” is pretty gorgeous.
What can you tell me about your publications or books?
I use the empathy in order to connect with the story and readers.
Working with emotions is something that I find crucial when writing or illustrating a story.
I have accomplished two kinds of projects: on one hand, jobs carried out by a publisher that have a writer, and on the other hand, personal projects where I am the writer and the illustrator. I enjoy more the second ones, of course!
In 2015, I had the opportunity to illustrate Todos os soños (All Dreams). It is a children’s novel written by Xavier Estévez and published by Editorial Tambre.
A few months later, I illustrated Unha casiña branca (A Little White House). It was written by Marcos Calveiro and published by Edicións Xerais de Galicia.
At almost the same time and after meeting the writer María Canosa, we created an illustrated album: Parar o Mundo (Stop the World) published by Editorial Trifolium by the end of 2015.
In January 2016, Vaite xa! (Go Now!), my first illustrated album was published. It is about a bear that has to leave its home, so it can look for a better future. This album was developed during summer 2013 after my daughter was born. This was my first attempt to get into the illustration world. Funnily, it was published by Edicións Xerais de Galicia in 2016.
What is the latest?
Last October, I had the opportunity to illustrate Todo o tempo do mundo (All the Time in the World), a story written by David Pérez Iglesias, which was awarded with the Premio Merlín de Literatura Infantil 2016 (Merlín Children’s Literature Prize 2016). It was published by Edicións Xerais de Galicia. Moreover, I used a more “pictorial” technique for this novel. I used an ink-based with gesso mixed media.
Currently, I have just finished a new illustrated album. It is a personal project I was willing to accomplish. I have used the most typical narrative sequence from comics mixed with the conception of the album, which uses double page illustrations for example. I’ve worked with enthusiasm and I hope to see it published. I prefer not to say much more yet.
With what technique are you more comfortable?
Currently, with mixed media. I draw with a pencil (graphite) and I apply textures and colours digitally. I have to confess that I do not draw too much. I mean, I do not do many sketches or details of major studies in notebooks such as the “Moleskine” ones.
I “observe” rather than drawing. I invest a lot of time thinking, to empathize with the character, so as to capture emotions or to generate a feeling that could be transferred to the paper. Sometimes, the inspiration comes from a more or less complex picture in my head, a word, an emotion, a sound, a smell…
From there… I apply the technique.
Have you published outside your country?
Not yet. Hopefully soon. It would be great!
How is children’s publishing industry in your country?
As far as I’m concerned, I think it is too early to draw conclusions about the situation of the industry in my country, but I feel it is volatile. It seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy, and it is actually in crisis.
Is it very different from what is done in your country from other countries?
As in the previous question, it is difficult for me to answer this one. I think the only differences are those purely cultural.
What are your influences international illustrators?
I think Edward Hopper’s work is pure poetry.
Who are some of the other artists you take inspiration from?
Shaun Tan, Rebeca Luciani, Ana Bustelo, Joanna Concejo, Sonja Danowski… The list is endless!