Some time ago and I have no idea how, I found this illustration camp in Atapuerca, a very small village in the province of Burgos (Spain) called Picturecamp organised by illustrator Jorge Martín. Coincidentally, it was happening a couple of days right after my birthday, so I decided to have it as a present from my own self (because I’m worth it).
According to their website, Picturecamp is a 4-day intensive masterclass covering the fundamentals of picture book making. It will offer new and aspiring authors the opportunity to expand their skills in a friendly and relaxed setting, with award winning author/illustrators, which, in this case were Marta Altés, Benji Davies and Alexis Deacon.
I had been wanting to meet Marta Altés somewhere at some point for quite a while, because I absolutely love her work (she had me at “No!“), plus talking to a Catalan author (I’m kind of Catalan myself – I’m Valencian) who is working in the UK would be really nice. What can I say about Benji Davies and his super cute stranded whale? I confess I didn’t know who Alexis Deacon was before meeting him in this camp, but now I’m very happy I did, too, because of, not only his great story-telling and artistic abilities, but also his superb lindy hop dancing skills!
We were a small group of 14 illustrators and, as usual, I was terrified of meeting them at first because I was on my own and had no one to hide behind of. But everyone turned out to be super charming and I soon left my fear of interacting with strangers aside (in a small cage). We were split in two groups for accommodation and each group shared a gorgeous, comfy rural house. Ours was on a hill, by the village church, overlooking the vast fields of Castilla y León.
During the day and after a yummy breakfast at the bakery/café/shop of Atapuerca, we had workshops and lectures by the illustrators with a lunch break in between at, I believe, the only restaurant in the village, Como Sapiens. The food was amazing every day (I got used to having a two-course meal too quickly only to go back to the miserable reality of a quick whatever-is-in-the-fridge a few days later).
In the evenings, Jorge organised different activities, such as visiting the Atapuerca archaeological site, a blind wine tasting/wine label design competition at Como Sapiens, a visit to the local wetlands and mill and even a basic lindy hop lesson by none other than Alexis Deacon (which I confess was my favourite).
In the evenings we just hung around the village bar and basically finished their beer stock.
The day before leaving, we went all the way to Burgos to have dinner and celebrate how much fun we’d had (and how much we’d learned as well, I guess). I quite enjoyed being the main translator for the barmen at the pintxos places and my fellow illustrators!
I must say Picturecamp was probably the most broadening and fun illustration workshop/camp I’ve ever had. I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to go back in 2017 but I wish I can! Fingers crossed!
Remembering another great #PictureCamp organised by @yorsmartin in beautiful Atapuerca – four days of great company, tasty food, paper dragons and picture book conversation – with fellow tutors @martaltes @alexis_deacon and a brilliant raft of students – a homage to your work – thanks all for making year 2!✌️
Lovely to meet all of you guys! Thanks for everything (including all the pictures I used on the post, ha – #Picturecamp) 🙂
(This cat is not dead, he’s just sinking in the pavement. His name was Calcetines (Socks), I believe. We all loved him.)