The Festival Eñe Talento a bordo Award has been granted to Catalan writer Pol Guasch. With two poetry collections and one novel under his belt, the jury has highlighted the maturity of his gaze and his experimental audacity.
Love of drawing
Isaac Sánchez became famous as Loulogio. Today, the YouTuber is dedicated to what he really loves, drawing, and is the creator of the poster for the Feria del Libro de Madrid 2022. From the Retiro booths and the sensations they arouse among lovers of literature, we visit the place where he first began to draw, Baños Pleamar; the restaurant that his parents run and that stars in his next comic.
Isaac Sánchez (Badalona, 1981) is the designer of the poster for the Feria del Libro 2022. He will also soon launch a new comic, Baños Pleamar. His previous comic work, El Don, landed him the Book of the Year award from the Madrid Bookstore Guild. And if there is one thing Isaac has always been, it is a cartoonist, even though his "stint" as a successful YouTuber (Loulogio) still casts a long-lived shadow. We chat to him about the present, the past and even the future — he even confesses to us what will he do when he is 80 years old.
You are the designer of the poster for the Feria del Libro de Madrid 2022, what did you want to capture?
This year's poster had a specific purpose: travel. But beyond that I wanted to reflect optimism and fun, not to look too melancholic or too classic. I simply wanted to convey the joy of picking up a book or a comic, reading it, and journeying to another place. More than something grandiloquent, rather the very energy that is generated when you are inside a story.
What is your first memory related to literature and what works have impacted your life
I think I learned to read with Mortadelo y Filemón, from Ibáñez. I was blown away by that comic and I wanted to know what those characters were saying. He was an absolute devourer of comics. Other Spanish authors like Giménez (Paracuellos), Azpiri (Lorna) or Jan (Súperlopez) have influenced me a lot. And classical literature. For example, my favorite books are Historias de cronopios y de famas, by Cortázar, or La montaña mágica (The Magic Mountain), by Mann.
"With the poster I wanted to convey the joy of picking up a book or a comic, reading it, and journeying to another place"
Let's travel to the past, how did you start drawing?
My parents had a restaurant next to the beach, Baños Pleamar, and I was a kid who spent many hours there, so I started drawing comics about what I saw to entertain myself. In fact, my first pay check was once when I photographed a client and he was so amused that he gave me ten pesetas or something like that. He told me: "Here, your first salary as a cartoonist."
Your next comic, which you will present at the Feria del Libro, is called Baños Pleamar and is about that same place, what else can you tell us?
For me it will be super special to be at the Fair with the poster and with a comic that I have been preparing for two years that is very important to me. It is not a comic that talks about my childhood, but rather it is the biography of the place where I grew up. A beach restaurant in the 90s and a boy who hardly knows the vicissitudes of life, but is exposed to many stories, some happy, others sad. Baños Pleamar was a place with a lot of personality and a lot of identity, and I wanted to tell its story as if it were a life, with its beginning and its end. The protagonist is the restaurant, but it is a choral story that jumps through the different people who inhabit it.
How would you encourage visitors to the Feria del Libro to buy a comic?
The first thing is to walk around and get carried away by the environment. Then, if you are interested in comics, you go to a specialized stand and say to the bookseller: “I like this, what do you recommend?”. And since booksellers are so experienced in finding the right comic for you, they'll be spot on. If you like drama, they will tell you one, if you like fantasy, another, and if you have a lot of criteria, they will tell you: "Buy the new Isaac Sánchez comic" (laughs).
Do you think that Spanish talent for comics has the recognition it deserves?
In Spain there is a lot of talent, specifically it is the arts that overflows. If we look, for example, at Spanish cartoonists who work in the United States, for Marvel or DC, there are many. Unfortunately, in Spain there is more talent for comics than there is industry and that is why many have to go abroad”.
To continue talking about talent, how would you define it?
For me, talent is a drive, something irrepressible. It is not a skill that you have for no reason, but rather it is something that does not stop motivating you to repeat that technique or that discipline over and over again. It keeps knocking on your door and telling you: “Do this, insist, do it again”.
"In Spain there is more talent for comics than there is industry and that is why many have to go abroad"
We are talking to Isaac Sánchez, but surely people continue to know you more as Loulogio, do you miss your time as a YouTuber?
No. When you decide something you have to be consistent and it's true that that endeavor could have been a mistake. But I knew it wasn't going to be like that because my intuition told me that I had to dedicate myself to what I really loved. There are moments when a memory comes to me and I think: “That was very cool”. But I wouldn't go back at all. In fact, I remember that whole stage as if someone had changed the screenwriter of my life. He was very funny, very greedy and very lucrative, but he wasn't me. It was an endearing period, of which I have a thousand anecdotes, and I will always be grateful to the affection of the people, but it is over.
Your success on YouTube made you put aside your role as an artist, but did you really stop drawing during those years?
I stopped drawing seriously. I could draw something from time to time, thanks to the impulse that I told you about before, but for me, drawing really means going to bed and getting up thinking about it, and I didn't do that. I wasn't immersed in a creative process with all that it entails. I abandoned that part enough to make me angry.
Is there anything left of Loulogio in the Isaac Sánchez illustrator?
In the end, everyone accumulates experiences and cannot be oblivious to what they have lived, even more so when drawing a work. In some moments I have even included nods in my comics to that stage of my life. When one is immersed in that world of show business, one can lose perspective of oneself, and sometimes I look back and see Loulogio as a character with whom I identify less than I would like. These four or five years that I have been drawing more seriously have helped me find my identity. Personal evolution is something that is transmitted a lot in the drawing in the end.
"Sometimes I look back and see Loulogio as a character with whom I identify less than I would like.”
Loulogio's story has a lot of potential, would it be ideal for a comic?
It has crossed my mind... I have experienced truly extraordinary things. Who was going to tell me that it was going to fill theaters all over Spain and that there were going to be people screaming and asking for photos? I have adventures and stories of absolute chaos, of absolute fantasy. Could I count them? Yes, but I'll do it when I'm 80 years old, when I don't care about everything and I don't have to keep quiet about anything (laughs).
You succeeded as a YouTuber before the word even existed, do you feel like a pioneer?
I don't feel particularly pioneer-like. I made videos at home for my friends and gave them to them on DVD, then I uploaded them to YouTube. I was doing it for fun, to be silly, and with no expectation of getting rich and famous, so I can't get a lot of medals. At the time I underestimated the need for foolishness that this country had. I offered Loulogio as much as I could (laughs). He said a lot of nonsense, but he always did it for the parody. Humor always starts from an intention and mine was never to provoke or fail, it was simply to make people laugh.