“To be an illustrator is to be an artist who illuminates ideas”

Mikel Casal
Mikel Casal

Más sobre:

Mikel Casal, illustrator of books, press articles, cartoons, posters... refers to himself as an eclectic illustrator. He touches on everything that concerns illuminating an idea. We can find Mikel's prints in an Art-Shop in the Old Part of Donostia San Sebastian (Lance&Malone) and, moreover, he has just published the book 'Hector o el lado optimista de la vida'. He has granted us an exclusive interview.


How would you explain what you do to someone outside the art world?

A day by day account of your work. I'm quite an eclectic illustrator, who touches on different aspects of my profession. I illustrate press articles, I've illustrated a lot of opinion articles for different newspapers, as well as caricatures for characters, book covers, posters, children's books... I illustrate everything that has to do with illuminating an idea.

How and when did you start in this world?

My beginnings were in an animation production company designing characters. It was a good school. From there I started working as a freelance for different advertising agencies, publishers... A fairly early background. At the age of 23 I was already working for different media. In my time there was still no internet, I went with my portfolio under my arm to all of them.


What are you up to at the moment?

'Hector o el lado optimista de la vida' has just been published and, at the moment, I'm very involved in my Art Shop Lance And Malone, located in the Old Part of Donosti, where I sell my prints and my work; it's a very personal project to which I dedicate a lot of time. And then I continue to work for local press, and also for different countries: I have an agent in New York who handles my work in the USA for example. I work for a lot of places really.

What can we find in this Art-Shop?

Here I try to have very personal works that I like the most and offer them to people who really appreciate them. Caricatures of popular characters, about musicians and artists... there are people who collect them. I also have works in which you can see what is local: our San Sebastian, but in my own way. They are not ordinary postcards. I also have some very personal things: the 'Egurrak', screen-printed inks on wood for decoration, walls... It took me a long time to get to the final product and I'm very happy. And, although I don't always do it, I usually personalise them.


Author of books, illustrations... What do you feel most identified with?

If I had to choose one thing, although it's very difficult, it would be illustrated books. Another thing I feel totally happy with are my cartoons, I think they are my best version many times.

Do you feel more comfortable working on your own projects or in collaborations?

Any artist would say alone, on your own... I'm also very comfortable working in a team, it's very satisfying. Sometimes working like that brings out something more in you, if the team is good.


What is one project that you are particularly fond of?

The two children's books I have written and illustrated: 'Gente poco corriente' and 'De qué colour es este libro'. One of them has won a prize in fact. And well, the one I'm most satisfied with is a book I illustrated called 'Así es la dictadura' which has been translated into more than 12 languages. It is the work that has given me most satisfaction internationally.

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