THE EYE OF THE VAGABOND - My Travel Toons, the world in cartoon
Mexican cartoonist Alfonso Díaz Villaseñor has created @mytraveltoons a collection of the cartoons he's drawn while travelling around the world with his wife. He shares with us his passion for drawing and his exciting upcoming adventures.
How did you create My Travel Toons ?
Since I was a kid, my parents loved traveling as much as possible. I remember when I was eight, my dad had a work trip to New York City and we all went along. My sister and I drew a map of the city, cutting photos from brochures and magazines to highlight the landmarks we wanted to visit. I guess it was my first traveltoon 24 years ago.
But @mytraveltoons as a project started not so long ago. I've always liked carrying a travel journal with notes, tickets and drawings, and blank postcards to send drawings to my friends and family. These drawings got better over time, and around 2015 my wife encouraged me to clean them up, post them on my instagram account, and make a project of it, which has been evolving with each new post.
What do you enjoy drawing the most and why ?
I enjoy the most drawing people, like my wife, friends, or people I meet while traveling. So I've always made character-centric traveltoons, highlighting situations and anecdotes with which other travelers could feel identified. I used to suck at drawing buildings and landscapes, but with practice I've become fond of it (although I still can't figure out how to draw good interiors).
My wife and I like taking walking tours (the free ones are the best) to learn about each city, so the drawings are always based on as much facts as possible. I try to make each travel toon different to challenge myself, the most challenging being the one I made to get (almost) every Game of Thrones filming location in Dubrovnik on a single image.
Where are your favorite places to visit and to draw ?
Everywhere! There's always something worth visiting, although we definitely prefer places that are not crowded. So we have lately travelled on low season. We love to balance between charming old towns, ancient ruins surrounded by nature, and cool crazy cities. Our home country, Mexico, has a lot of it, but I think I drew the most during our honeymoon in Japan.
There's a lot of spare time while traveling. I try to draw as much as possible in airports, parks, benches, or while waiting for food on a restaurant. But I also like to make a stop just to draw on my journal. Afterwards, I clean them up on an iPad during flights or back home.
What is your favorite Travel Toon and why ?
It's hard to pick just one, but I enjoyed a lot drawing this one from "la Ruta Puuc" (the Puuc route), a series of impressive mayan archaeological sites in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. I started working on it on the first site, at the top of a pyramid with this amazing view of the jungle. Besides, it is one of the first traveltoons that connects different places in a single drawing, which helped me develop new kinds of stories that explain a more complex journey. And I started to get a better drawing style for temples (and buildings in general).
What are your upcoming projects ?
I'm currently experimenting to take traveltoons to a new level. I'm learning to use an augmented reality platform to make interactive postcards or comics, and I recently launched a Patreon page to fund this project, where you can see some of the demos I'm making. Any help or feedback is most welcome.