Martin Tognola / How Illustration Changed My Life

Martin Tognola

I will start by admitting that my response will not be original.  I have also drawn for as long as I can remember, like most of the people who share my profession.



Having the ability to draw anywhere has always prevented me from getting bored. For my parents, that was a relief. Whether on a long trip for vacation, an endless rainy day inside the house, or in the waiting room at the doctor… I could always take out my notebook and my colored pencils and start drawing.

I took this custom to school, during class hours. The education I received was not very flexible, so I would come home with notes from my teachers informing my parents that “Martin shouldn’t draw in class all day”. But I never stopped doing it.

My vocation was clear, but finding my career path was not so easy.

I started publishing when I was very young, before I was 20 years old. I belong to that generation of illustrators who delivered the originals personally and on paper.

I lived with my parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina, more than an hour by bus or train from the city. Back then I could spend a whole afternoon traveling just to show a couple of sketches. And come back the next day with the final art. It was also common for me to finish retouching my work at any one of the many tables in the middle of a newspaper office; full of people, full of noise, and everyone smoking. The memory is like a movie.

When I bought my first FAX, the trips finally eased up a bit.

In my early 20s, I traveled around Europe with a book in my backpack. When I arrived in Barcelona, I made a few calls from a public telephone, requesting interviews from the most important newspapers in the city.  At my first interview, I got a job. I worked with them for more than 15 years.

Most of my personal and professional life has taken place here in Barcelona, where I have lived for almost 30 years.

I’ve been with Anna Goodson Illustration Agency for about eight years. Although I’ve spent a large part of my life drawing and publishing, this new working relationship suddenly opened the doors to the whole world and clients with whom I had always dreamed of working. Searching for a more universal language changed my way of working and of conceiving images.


Meeting up with Anna and her daughter Sacha and Diego Blanco in London.

How has illustration changed my life?

By allowing me to travel,  to move to another country, to tell stories through my drawings, to publish in countries without knowing their language, and in the ways I play and draw with my children…


Even today, as long as I have my notebook and a pen, I don’t get bored.