Interview with Sento Llobell
Can you tell us about your career?
I started to publish in the comic magazines that appeared in Barcelona in the 1980s, I was part of Bésame mucho, Viboraand Cairo. One of my most representative works of that time could be VELVET NIGHTS, with script by Ramón de España, which was published by Norma Editorial in 1985.
In the 1990s monthly comic magazines disappeared consequently I was increasingly working as advertisement illustrator and historical comic projects as TIRANT LO BLANC, published by Edicions del País Valencià in 1991.
In 2010 I decided to return to storytelling as my main professional activity, with DR. URIEL project, a story imagined in three successive parts in the form of graphic novel.
The first book titled UN MÉDICO NOVATO was awarded with Fnac International Graphic Novel Prize in 2014 and in the next years I published ATRAPADO EN BELCHITE in 2015 and in 2016 VENCEDOR Y VENCIDO.
What can you tell about the ‘New Valencian School’?
The city of Valencia has always been related to comics. The industry and artists who lived in this city during the decades of the fifties and the sixties of the last century, fought against Barcelona for the capital status of this industry. However this industry became extinct in the 1970s.
The New Valencian School was created by a small group of comic artists who started our careers in the 1980s. We have been considered ligne claire artists, not as a reference to the Franco-Belgian classics, but for our opposition to the underground comic from our colleagues in Barcelona ( linea chunga).
Mariscal, Miguel Calatayud, Daniel Torres, Michamunt, Mique Beltrán and myself will be the important names.
Our main characteristics could be our love for fiction, for the genres, the use of irony and the avant-garde attitude, amongst other things. We have never been an homogenized group, we were a group of Valencian people in the Barcelona of the comics.
What aspect of visual storytelling do you like best?
I entered the comic world from the drawing door, I had studied Fine Arts and my first worry was the image, however over the years I have been giving more importance to the theme, plot, structure, sequencing and stuff like that.
It is difficult to answer the question….I like drawing stories but I also love dreaming and writing them.
The answer could be that I have very little experience in drawing others’ scripts and that has made me develop a relationship of total work with my comics. I think a story, I see it in my mind, I compose a story board as a music score which I put in front of me when I solve the page of the day. I test the most adequate graphic tone and then I ‘carry out’ the story, I make it real.
What is your opinion on comic culture in Spain?
I think Spain has a great comic tradition and a promising present, with hundreds of bookshops specialized in comics all around the country.
The national industry is not as powerful as the French one. The sales figures of comics and books are low in general compared to the French-speaking Europe.
The advantage is that, as it is a smaller industry, it is more flexible and artists have more freedom. Spain has a great number of good professionals in the French market as Munuera, Diaz Canales, Ana Miralles, Pellejero, Paco Roca, Altarriba, etc. We can also find in the English-speaking market Spanish authors such as Salvador Larroca, David Aja, David Rubín, among others.
Exhibitions, events, presentations, comic conventions…are part of our cities’ cultural life. Every day that passes there are better and more professional works. I am an optimistic person.
What contemporary artists should get more attention from the media?
The world of comics is wide and assorted. Authors like the ones mentioned in the previous answer should get more attention from the media, giving the comics the actual importance they deserve.
Meer over strips: http://www.barbarus.org/blog/tag/Strips