Marta Ponce: “Stories are a teaching tool, they are fantasy, they are traveling around and knowing other realities”
“Tales are not just for children. Their stories were born from the need to tell and be heard”
Today we chat with Marta Ponce, a professional illustrator born in Barcelona and living in Madrid. He has always been passionate about drawing. Because he didn’t have enough outside motivation in his school years to focus on his future and do art studies, he grew up with the idea that you couldn’t live on art. So she opted to study a children’s teaching career, and work for two years in schools in Barcelona as a nursery school teacher.
As he was not happy and his artistic and creative restlessness continued to resonate within him, he decided to leave everything, abandon work and sign up for a Higher Cycle of Illustration at the Escola Massana in Barcelona. He felt like a fish in the water, and after finishing his studies, in 2013, he started working on his own portfolio, exhibiting in galleries and publishing books with children’s and youth publishers. From then until now, he dedicates all his time to illustration, combining exhibitions, publishing with editorials, creating his own merchandising for fairs and art markets and online stores. It is defined as sensitive and nostalgic for the past.
Botó de Cotó: Are you of the opinion that stories are not just for children? Why?
Marta Ponce: Yes, definitely, stories are not just for children. The stories were born from the need to tell and be heard, to transmit messages, ask questions and find answers for ourselves. They are a teaching, they are fantasy, they are traveling, knowing other realities. And both children and adults need it. There’s no age.
Adaptations are another thing. The story of the Little Red Riding Hood in the seventeenth century does not have the same tone as that told in the children’s classrooms of the twenty-first century.
Botó de Cotó: You have your own style. What or who usually inspires you to illustrate your characters?
Marta Ponce: My style emerged little by little and very naturally from elements that have always inspired me: the Victorian era, Gothic fantasy, the figure of women, nature and animals, Japanese art, landscapes Nordic, … in general and summing it up in one sentence, my work is highly influenced by the 19th century (modernism, symbolism, etc.) brought to modernity.
Botó de Cotó: What methods do you usually use to translate your ideas into your works? Do you think digitizing the illustration takes away its charm?
Marta Ponce: I work exclusively with traditional techniques: paper, pencil, ink, acrylic, watercolor, textile collage, colored pencil … I only use Photoshop to finish regulating contrasts and saturation of colors, and at most, add some texture.
Many times, seeing the great heyday of digital art among illustrators, I have considered starting with it, but I have no idea of using the graphics tablet, nor do I find the opportunity to do it, and to tell the truth, I think I don’t feel like it for the moment. I feel very good with the techniques I use, and in addition to each illustration I make, I have the original work, which adds a different value. I think my work would not look the same if I did it digitally.
Botó de Cotó: The stories you illustrate make you travel to different stories and countries. Which one do you stay with?
Marta Ponce: Uff, very difficult … I love Russian tales and those set in the English countryside. I am left with timeless tales set in a nonspecific place that simply begin with a “Once upon a time there was a palace in a distant country where there lived a king and queen who …” by Charles Perrault. So I can invent myself the time and the country.
Botó de Cotó: Tales are children’s first contact with the art world. What do you think about it?
Marta Ponce: Stories are an excellent tool for many things (parent-child contact, learning to read, …) Artistically, if the illustrations are more or less adapted to the age of the children, they are wonderful for the development of the imagination and inspiration.
Botó de Cotó: How do you see yourself as an illustrator in the future?
Marta Ponce: I see myself investigating more in my line, perfecting the technique, and working on my personal projects (as a writer and illustrator) that I hope to be able to publish. And above all, reach the international arena.
Sobre Marta Ponce: