August 5, 2015

Alberto Montt: “Drawing is my way of getting to know myself.”

 Chilean illustrator, graphic designer and cartoonist Alberto Montt has illustrated more than 40 children's books. By now, his expressive cartoons appear in newspapers and magazines around the world. “Dosis Diarias” (Daily Dose) was awarded the “Best Blog in Spanish” by the German broadcast network Deutsche Welle – and rightly so: The artist’s outpour of creative energy and witty irony seems to be limitless, and his cartoon characters will accompany viewers for a long time. 

If you want to design cartoon characters yourself, download Alberto’s tutorials on the Create More website and get started. In the exclusive eBooks, the artist explains how he uses Photoshop and Illustrator to develop a simple, but unique character.

Watch the video to find out about Alberto Montt’s creative vision first-hand.

 

Alberto, most of your cartoons carry some kind of irony or dark humor. Does this humor come to you naturally?

I laugh easily, and I love how drama and comedy go together. Life is a comedy basically, and I tend to see the irony in things. It’s a kind of parachute for me. While life is so complex and we tend to let it pass by, I try to stop and watch. I always try to catch every single moment and think about living as a gift, even though I know it sounds a little bit cliché.

So drawing helps you seize the moment?

More so, drawing has become an exercise of getting to know myself. When I put my thoughts on paper it helps me understand the way I live and the way life happens to me. I absolutely see myself in every single one of the characters I draw. I see the parts of me that I love and also the parts of me that I hate.

In some of your cartoons God and the devil challenge each other. Is that a typical example of you showing the different sides of your own personality in a cartoon?

Well, at a certain point I started to think about duality, how there is no good and evil: there’s always this grey space between both extremes, and I like to work on that. Being able to see things from a different point of view is what creativity is, that capability of turning things around and finding another way to do or see things.


God&Devil  by Alberto Montt

Where do you find your daily inspiration?

I love watching people and listening to people, the way they interact and behave, the way they dress. I love imagining what they’re thinking. It’s like they’re bottles waiting to be filled with my literature. They are doing the things I imagine they are doing. As human beings we have an enormous capacity of assigning stories to things and to people.

Many of your stories can be found in your fantastic blog Dosis Diarias …

I use my blog for catharsis, and I post new graphic ideas there almost every day. The things that annoy me are in that blog and the things that I love are in that blog. It means letting myself go, for myself, not for anybody else. It’s my place, my sandbox to play around in.

What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

When I create I feel like a little god: There’s nothing there, and suddenly you have got something. You have an animal, you have a monster, you have a plant where there was nothing before. I’ve loved this feeling since I was a kid. At some point I realized that

nobody can tell you “Hey, that’s good or bad”, because it’s yours, you made it, it’s perfect. Anybody who has ever done anything creative can relate with that: If you have an intention with what you’re drawing or writing and it delivers, it’s perfect. The illustration starts living in you.

You started drawing at a very young age…

Everybody starts drawing when they are very young. I just never stopped. It became my second language. Sometimes it’s easier for me to express an idea through my drawings than through verbal language. When I sketch, I feel free, absolutely free. I just let my mind flow – for instance, when I travel around and find something that attracts me, I just let my consciousness flow. It’s like opening a little valve and letting everything out.

How has working with digital tools enhanced your creative process?

Moving into the digital world was like heaven. I never thought that it could really get that close to the analog experience, even though the two are somewhat totally different. Let me explain: The moment you’re trying to make a line, there’s a “noise” between your idea and the paper. I choose my tools so that I have the least possible noise between the two. Intuos Pro for me is that kind of tool. It allows me to put an idea from my head into a computer the most organic way possible. When it comes to drawing on paper, people may argue for the benefits of one tool or another. But when you consider drawing digitally, there’s not much arguing: You have one choice, which is Wacom.

What do you have planned next?

One of the beauties of being able to create something new is that even though you have something prepared in your mind or some space you want to explore, there is always the element of surprise. I guess those surprises and the places you find are what keeps you going. Had I always known where I would be going, I would have left the path a long time ago.


Alberto Montt’s illustrations of the epic poem “La Araucana” were selected for the IBBY Honour List, receiving numerous literary accolades

 

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