Mar Villar. Children’s illustrations
Today we chat with Mar Villar, a children’s illustrator based in Valencia. He will tell us about his projects and concerns about the profession of illustrator and about creativity in general.
“It is exciting to think that many children have among their favorite books some in which I have worked”
Botó de Cotó: How would you define your work as an illustrator?
Mar Villar: I am very bad if I have to define myself or define what I do, because I usually try different things when I work and when I draw for fun, and that makes it evolve over time and change the definition. But according to what people tell me, my illustrations are clean, colorful and fun, with an elegant point.
BDC: Why do you work mainly in children’s illustration? Has it been a bit by chance or is it something sought after?
MV: Because it’s what comes naturally to me, I have a style and a way of narrating and expressing myself that fits very well for children’s books and illustrated albums. Sometimes I would like to adapt my work and illustrate something for adults, or paint murals, but for now I move more in children.
Working as an illustrator is something sought after but it has its share of chance. I started studying Fine Arts because I liked to draw, but once in the race I was a little lost until in the third year I enrolled in the elective illustration, without knowing very well what that would be. There I crossed it and I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to that. The rest has been many years of working hard, improving until it has an acceptable quality, researching markets where to fit in, building good portfolios … And so on until little by little things were coming out, the first years almost all of the textbook, but this 2019 also four illustrated books have come out: Mom, this is how much for you (Zenith Books), Ana is furious (The Steamboat, SM), The Blau Train (Cruïlla) and Rapunzel with lice (Anaya). Right now I have one almost finished and I am working on four more.
BDC: Have you ever thought that the first contact with the art of most children is through the illustration of children’s stories? What do you feel about it?
MV: Of course I thought about it! My first contact with art was through illustrated books. I keep a few when I was little because of the love I have for them. It is exciting to think that many children have among their favorite books some that I have worked on and that in a few years they still keep them with love, read them to their children … In the end the books are small treasures.
BDC: Do animals have any special meaning in your illustrations?
MV: I draw animals because I love them, from a very young age, I think I like them more than many people, hahaha! I used to read books about animals since I was a dwarf, I loved bird books (in fact, I am something like a frustrated ornithologist and it is likely that some morning you will see me, binoculars in hand, watching birds in the Albufera). I did not end up studying biology because I liked drawing a lot and because I had to go to the branch of science and I hated mathematics to death, either I am denied or I have not had luck with the teachers. The fact is that I still enjoy them but in another way.
BDC: What do you like most about drawing with traditional techniques?
MV: I confess that when I started I worked with digital techniques. The first orders I received were from a textbook and I was much more comfortable when it came to making the changes they asked for quickly. But it is true that he had the thorn to try other things. A few years ago I gave myself a box of colored pencils and it was like connecting with the girl I was a long time ago and who spent hours drawing. That is precisely what I like, the enjoyment of making spots and strokes on paper.
BDC: How do you see the future of illustration after the emergence of digital techniques?
MV: Digital techniques are not a threat, they are another tool. In fact, I work the final versions on the computer myself, assembling the pages, coloring and adding things … Also, when the order is a textbook, I work with almost 100% digital technique. There is a certain idea that the computer or iPad does the job for you just by pressing a button or with little effort, when it is not. As a tool, like pencils or watercolors, the result will always depend on the hand and head that works and not on what you have spent on material or on a latest model equipment.
BDC: How do you see the future as an illustrator?
MV: I love working on something that fills me and I find it so rewarding, but sometimes I find it difficult, sometimes it makes me want to throw in the towel and look for something else. It is complicated when prices are so low for the work that it entails, when they haggle you, or they offer you royalties that make you sad … But well, one virtue that I have is that I am persevering and in the end I am making my way, sowing, and collecting . I am getting jobs, negotiating conditions, and I hope that the situation will improve in the future.
About Mar Villar