Amadora BD ’16

The main comic book festival in Portugal happens yearly in the capital’s suburb of Amadora.  Although it is constantly under the risk of being culturally overwhelmed by Lisboa, and lying just northwest of the city, Amadora prides itself of being an autonomous cultural hub in the Metropolitan Area, and the comic book festival is a long-standing venue in the town, showcasing authors, exhibitions and works both domestic and foreign for 26 years now.

O principal festival de banda desenhada em Portugal acontece anualmente na Amadora. Apesar de estar sob risco constante de ser culturalmente dominada por Lisboa, e apenas a um pulo a noroeste do centro da cidade, a Amadora orgulha-se de ser um forte pólo cultural autónomo na Área Metropolitana, e o festival de BD é um certame de longa história, mostrando autores, exposições e obras de banda desenhada tanto nacionais como estrangeiras há já 26 anos.

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While stockpiling there on comics for the coming winter, I bought Vampiros, a graphic novel about a Colonial War commando dealing with their own terrors on an undercover mission to Senegal. It was ilustrated by Juan Cavia and written by Filipe Melo and, by chance, the latter was in the venue signing books. Being the talkative type, the queue went for ages, as he gave all his fans equal attention. But it was worth it, because while Filipe sketched his elaborate autograph in the black endpaper, I got to sketch him, daydreaming about his own characters in the jungle. Great exchange!

Enquanto açambarcava BD para o inverno vindouro, comprei o Vampiros, uma novela gráfica sobre os soldados de um comando da Guerra do Ultramar lidando com os seus próprios terrores numa missão clandestina ao Senegal. Foi desenhada pelo Juan Cavia e escrita pelo Filipe Melo, que, por sorte, estava lá a autografar livros. Sendo do tipo que gosta de conversar, a fila demorou, já que ele deu igual atenção a todos os seus fãs. Mas valeu a pena, porque enquanto o Filipe desenhava o seu elaborado autógrafo na folha de forro preta, eu pude desenhá-lo a sonhar acordado com as suas próprias personagens na selva. Boa troca!

Poland sketches #1 Train to Warszawa

train, Katowice, Warsawa, Poland, travel, traveller
Compartment carriages are the best!

Excerpt of my text in Diários de Viagem 2 (Travelling journals 2) freely translated from the original Portuguese:

“It was pretty early that, in my mind, the act of travelling was coupled with that of sketching, at least since I had the habit of reading and re-reading my father’s decades-old copies of Corto Maltese graphic novels. When they started publishing them again a few years ago, they included a few dazzling watercolors of the romantic soldier of fortune, set in exotic atmospheres and locations. It further spurred my will to travel and sketch, to record in line and color that which I see, taste, smell, hear and feel, the people that I meet, or that I don’t meet, but for one reason or another, compelled the pen to scratch the paper of yet another page of a sketchbook.

Travelling and sketching are two of my favorite activities. The first, fed by the mystery of the unknown and the curiosity that the other awakens, drives me to walk the globe, finding similarities and oddities, the different aspects of the human experience, that help me build a mosaic, an idea of what in the world are we doing here.

The second takes care of recording what I feel about all the things I come across while travelling. Sketching is an interface with the outside world and that which results from distilling the I and the other together. Maybe the second is the answer to the big question of the first: to find our own way of merging with the world.

A few days trip to Poland doesn’t seem to fit next to the esoteric and romantic wanderings of the sailor, and it’s certainly not the key to the secrets of the human experience, but I think that even in the shortest trips or the least exotic locations, sketching serves the purpose of interpreting and assembling tiny bits of wisdom and knowledge to the pool of oddities and patterns that makes us unique.

Further on, for more prosaic matters: sketching while travelling is a fine way of filling 3 hours of railroad travelling. It’s a better ice-breaker than wódka. It’s an excellent long exposure camera, capturing all the things that are happening around the sketcher, with more clarity and verve than a camera (or a cell phone for that matter).”

train, Katowice, Warsawa, Poland, travel, traveller
Cheap beer and wódka welcomes travellers to Warsawa late night. Pijalnia is a franchise of polish wódka bars that doesn’t feel like a franchise.