q)Please introduce yourself.
a)Hi everyone! My name is Manuel Donada (aka mdonada)
and I live in
(for those who don't know).
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I live in
I don't really have a place where I work, I could say that
my “real” office is my own apartment but I spend more
time sailing the world, places like cafes, other cities,
planes, trains, other people´s houses... What I like the
most is drawing at cafes, where Im a complete stranger,
i observe, let the real world posses me, absorb light and energy,
images, colors and patters. Other people´s behaviour.
Being outside is what influences me the most. Life itself I guess.
q) How would you describe your work to someone
who has never seen it?
a)I’m not very good at this!. I don't think I'm able to describe
what I do. Its a mess of things, a mixture of emotions and
experiences in my head that fight desperately to get out
and be the chosen one. Its like a herd of buffalos crossing a
river. Aggressive and fast. Only the strong will survive.
Like a bubble full of butterflies. You can see them and tell
they are butterflies but cant really picture one and say out
loud how it looks like, extract it from the rest.
Its like my head pukes and my hand cleans up the mess.
q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize
you were an artist?
a)Well, I have been operating pens and paper since I was
little. I remember my family being VERY supportive and
all. I spent a lot of time drawing by my own, at home, at
school... Its hard to imagine today but I was a quiet boy
back then, always alone. That changed after the years.
All my books and friends notebooks at school were full of
little characters and comics, my table too (which the
principal made me clean a million times!). I always carried
a pen with me but never thought about it in a serious way.
It was more an entertainment than something I could do in
a future, know what I mean?.
I cant remember the day I decided to take a further step and
think about making a living from this. I guess it was always
there and it just came out naturally. One day I quit school
because I wanted to do cartoon animation which I did for 3
After that I worked for Cartoon Network which wasn't a
big deal anyway. Then tired of people telling me what to do
or not to do I took the mysterious and hard path to
After the years, before I could even realize, I found myself
doing graphic design and leaving my pencil case in the
drawer for a long time. Paper sheets were no longer
everywhere around my room. I guess my mum was happy
with that more than anyone else.
Its weird because I could say that I have been 2 totally different
creators. Like 2 different entities with different names
and pseudonymous. One doing cartoons and the other one
doing Graphic Design. Both living at the same time.
Some people even thought I was two different guys and they
would come up to me and say: “hey, have you seen this?
, you might like it!”, and it was mine.
Nowadays I combine both and I'm very happy with that!.
So that´s why I use my real surname (Donada) to “sign” all
of them. I'm just one person, the same for everything I do,
so having just one name is the most reasonable and healthy
decision that I could have taken about this matter.
I have never called myself an artist. I just started to think
about it after hearing it from people...its just an etiquette to
summarize and make things easier I guess.
q) What are your favorite art materials and why?
a)I mostly use 8400 Edding pens and vegetal transparent
paper. And as for big paintings acrylic and canvas,
sometimes wood too.
I have a serious problem with pens. I'm an addict. I could
spend hours and millions of euros on stationery. In fact I
have a bunch of books and pencil cases with different
types and shapes of pens from all around the world but
my favorite of all times are the Eddings 8400 (hard to find
though). I can not imagine how much money I have spent
on those. (right now I just counted the ones I have with
me here and the number is 23).
They all follow a process: the new ones are used to draw
new projects and drawings on transparent paper for
silkscreens or clean and detailed illustrations, after
that they go right away to the second case where the
ones with the “used tip” (the ones that have lost their
virginity) rest to be used to put the final touches to the
canvas I'm working on. Then there is no way they are
going to skip the cemetery!. Where a common grave of
old 8400 are resting waiting to spend their last breath
somewhere, dreaming of being used again.
Some do, some just dry and die.
When it comes to share my pens I could be really irritating.
Always ask first and the answer will probably be NO.
q) What/who influences you most?
a)As I said before life influences me a lot. I know this sounds
boring and cliche but its true. Everything I see influences
me. When I walk, what I experience, what I get from people
I love or hate...Sometimes I take long walks when I need
inspiration. Madrid is such an intense city sometimes
and offers a lot if you pay attention to it. Sometimes you
can hear it talk.
Being surrounded by people that do things also makes a huge
impact on me. Like music, art, simple conversations, pictures...
I like active people. Positive. Even though I sometimes
find myself quit depressing.
Sharing ideas and impressions to me is very important.
Different points of view. Listening. Looking. Staring silent.
q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.
a)Well, being a freelance is kind of an adventure everyday.
You never know. Sometimes I have tons of work and I'm so
stressed I could jump out of the window. And sometimes its
relaxed and I can visit friends, family, hang around, tour,
experience new techniques, realizing how it feels to be
REALLY broke... But most of the time there is no space
and time to do everything Id like to. If I want to do my stuff
and then work for other people I have to be very responsible,
which sometimes I'm not!. It depends a lot in how creative I feel.
I mean, I could be doing stuff but if I something inside of me
says I'm not doing it as good as i could or should I get really
nervous and pass a really hard time dealing with that.
Dealing with me. Sometimes I hate what I do, sometimes I
love it but maybe you couldn't tell from the outside. I
mean, people wont notice. Its a weird feeling.
I'm a very impulsive person and I guess that's a big
uncontrollable force that takes a big part in what I do.
q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve
with your art or in your career as an artist?
a)I’d like to meet people doing interesting things,
experience life, never stop learning, grow as person, collect
emotions, travel, get better every single minute, be proud of
what I do I guess... As simple as that. Usual as that.
q) What contemporary artists or developments in art
a)Nowadays I'm into comics a lot again. Mostly underground...
I'm looking for awesome stories, from the heart, more
“blood-freezing” than visual. And when I say “visual”
i mean well drawn or with obvious amazing drawing skills.
You could break my heart drawing a simple line if its in
the right place.
I search for new artists all the time but If I have to name
a strong influence in me right now that would be Jim
Woodring. He is a genius. I cant believe there is someone
doing things like that among us. And the best part, he looks
like a wizard to me. I'm sure he is.
q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
a)Well, it depends a lot in how creative I feel that day and
how big the piece is or the work I'm into. I might do 3 pieces
during the day or maybe non. If I feel things do not come
easily or just don't flow I think is better to forget it and
occupy your time in a different issue. There is no point in
forcing the machine because in the end I will be throwing
everything away and wasting my time. Which means I will
probably get mad or unbearable, very difficult.
q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally
attached to them?
a)To be honest it is. In the beginning it was pretty hard
but now I don't think about it very much. Its weird because
I find more difficult to sell my sketches, the original ones
for silkscreens and all than the big canvas people find more
shocking. I'm more attached to those little pieces that have
been carefully treated. They are like little birds. The rest
are grown-ups than can leave the nest and will be remembered
with nostalgia. I have been keeping some for a long time til I
decided to sell or give them away. I feel that if they are not
prepared to leave I must keep them. Its more paternal and
natural than I thought!. In the other hand, some will stay with
me forever. Like it or not.
You ask if I “enjoy” selling my pieces. I don't but I have to do
it, speaking about real life.
q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things
you're listening to now?
a)Music is VERY important to me. Almost everything is music
related in my life. I first started doing graphic design because
of it. Always drawing with music and for music. I cant imagine
myself not listening to music. NO way!.
Putting on a record is what I normally do when I wake up.
Maybe the 2ND or 3rd thing that I do. First would be putting
on my glasses, then pissing, music and coffee, I guess.
I have been listening to Usaisamonster a lot these past months.
I think their new record is just pure magic. Like a
sentimental journey through lands and wonderful landscapes.
You can feel yourself in the woods, riding your horse,
camping to start a fire, battle mystic creatures and all
that. Its a real master piece in my opinion.
I have also been listening to Clarence Ashley these days
and, even though it might sound weird, I'm a lot into Black Metal too.
a)That is a hard question. Right now I'm reading Douglas
Coupland´s “All Families Are Psychotic” but I could say
that one of my favorite writers is Italo Calvino. I like
his books a lot. He is amazing.
I also read lots of comics as I have said before. Not super
hero Marvel-Dc as much as I used to though.
q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding
creativity or the creative process?
a)Non. I mean, I don't really follow any rule or trend
or anything like that or check out things.
If it looks good, breaks hearts, burns your retina and
makes an impact then everything is more than welcome.
q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when
you're not creating?
a)I play music in a band called Grabba Grabba Tape and
run a record label called Gssh! Gssh! Records here in
Madrid. I also put up shows for bands in Spain and
sometimes Portugal and like to enjoy time with my friends.
Friends are important to me. Sometimes things they say,
share, do or believe are a big inspiration to me (i'm
repeating myself here, sorry). So does family. I need
all of them around.
q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you
are particularly excited about?
a)I always have a lot projects in mind. Some die or get lost
in the Woods Of Ideas or stand there to become old like
trees. I need to be more constant to be honest but
time really flies sometimes. I cant do everything Id
like to. Nowadays im considering the idea of going
back into cartoons. Do my own productions. Short
films, simple, just let it come out somehow. I just re-discovered
John Kricfalusi´s work and fell in love again!.
I have been having this idea of making a book forever.
It is all perfectly designed and done in my head. I can
see pages and drawings kind of clearly. I think it would
be called Watdafac but you never know.
Comics! I need to start a comic or an illustrated story...
I might but that is a secret I cant talk about, sorry.
I'm sure that this year I will out out a fanzine about dogs
and the Hexatron that is taking ages. Hexatron is a
collection of silk screened postcards of people that I like.
Friends mostly. Every issue will have a theme and the
fist one is about Mystery. I already have a bunch with me.
Some people never sent anything. Its a slow process but
believe me it will come out soon.
I want to apologize to the people involved in the project that
have been waiting forever and really supported my from
the beginning. They know who they are.
As far as art shows go, I will be doing a split show in
Madrid and LA with my friend Sonny Kay from the US.
He does amazing collages and stuff. He is very good.
I like split shows but as usual everything takes its time
and its kind of exhasperated for an impatient person like me.
Lets see how many of the projects i'm into really sees
the light someday. You bet.
q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how?
What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
a)Not really. I could recommend stuff I like though.
Like Will Sweeney for example, CF is like “wow”,
everything Paper Rad does is awesome too, Augenblick
studios are so good that make me nervous... I don't know,
I could be listing things for hours.
The good thing is searching, discovering...The trip itself
towards new stuff is the lovely thing about all this. It
was more intense and pleasant when we had no Internet
and you had to read fanzines, bet for new artist without even
knowing them, ordering from places that seemed to
have hidden treasures, send letters... There is nothing
like expecting a package full of goodies at home.
q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer,
and answer it.
a)Would you like a more Spanish omelette?
- yes, please.
q) Any advice for aspiring artists?
q) Where can we see more of your work
a)I'm working in my new website now so those who
are expecting an update will have to wait.
New stuff coming up. I promise!