David Pintor is a Spanish artist, illustrator and draftsman. He has been invited from Biennial of Illustration Bratislava; he won many awards: for Venezia the Gianni Rodari’s one. The book dedicated to Venice is the fourth of the travel notebooks dedicate to the cities: Compostela, Barcelona and Lisboa, all of them with Kalandraka press.
You have drawn many cities and you have dedicated an entire book to Barcelona, Lisbon and Venice. What captures your attention when you walk around?
There are many things that can catch my attention: from a square to a street, a fountain, a door, a balcony… Everything is likely to be drawn.
Your drawings of Venice are very precise: it is a city with faithful details. The drawings of calli and campielli are both faithful and visionary: how long did it take you?
I do not know. These books follow a very long process since I decide which city I will draw, until I travel there, and then I do the illustrations in my studio. It is a process that I do calmly.
What is the process behind your work? Do you take photos, sketches or do you draw directly?
During the visit to the city I take many notes, I take photographs, and I write down ideas that come to my mind while I ride. All this material is analyzed at the back, in my studio, and from there, I’m making the illustrations.
Beside you, there are many cats and birds that appear in the drawings. There are also flying fishes and red leaves (from American ivy and plane trees) almost like personifications of the city’s spirit. Although people are missing, there is a crowd of other creatures…
I always try to convey a sense of timelessness in my drawings, that’s why I do not draw cars, or people. Only the character that is common to all books. The main character of the book is the city itself, although there are also secondary characters that have much to do with the spirit of the city, as in the case of Venice, the street cats so characteristic of the city of the canals.
Is there a word or an adjective you would like to use to define Venice? A word that evokes the feeling the city has given you?
There is a particular viewpoint that shows the reflection of churches and buildings shivering in the water. It is not the eye of the viewer that shivers (or, maybe, that fluctuates) but the monuments themselves: an uncertain view. Is there a reason behind this choice?
Water is one of the elements that are present throughout Venice. Water relates the city to itself through reflections, and I liked being able to represent that idea in an illustration.
Do you think you have had masters?
There are many people that I have learned and learned from during my professional life. Painters, illustrators, filmmakers, designers… People who have always inspired me… Chagall, Steinberg, Sempé, Gorey, and many more.
Is there something of Venice that you would have liked to draw and then decided not to or that you did not publish in the book?
Due to the structure of the book, I can only make 30 illustrations of each city; therefore it is evident that in the final selection, several places were left out. Anyway, I always try to have a sample as varied and representative as possible.
There is also a bicycle that becomes amphibious and that goes around the canals…
The bicycle is the means of transport that the character uses to move. It is a bicycle that represents freedom and timelessness, and that allows the protagonist to fly, climb the highest roofs, and even walk the Venetian canals.