Drawn Quijote

Illustrations

When you grow up with Spanish as your native language, at some point in life you will cross paths with Don Quijote. It may be in high school. It may be in a university course.

In high school I missed my chance of getting acquainted with that most distinguished Man of La Mancha. Back then my belief was that centuries-old novels written in undecipherable Old Spanish would be no fun to read. And so I avoided classes that had Cervantes’ masterpiece as required reading.

Things changed many years later. In 2006, as the Spanish-speaking world celebrated the 400th anniversary of Don Quijote’s first publication, I found a beautifully-typeset commemorative edition. I decided to give it a try.

It quickly became apparent this novel was not only funny and intriguing, but even postmodern in structure and style. Stories within stories. Jumping between genres. Playing with the idea of authorship and originality. I loved it right away. I could see why this novel had captured the imagination of so many readers and artists the past four centuries, and wanted to do more than just read it. I hadn’t experienced that before with any other book.

And so for two years, I read Don Quijote and drew Drawn Quijote. Each chapter became a visual sketch, depicting ideas conveyed and emotions I felt. These sketches may not fully explain what happens in the novel’s plot, for me they act as a visual travel journal, documenting my relation to the characters as I read their stories.

5.5 x 5.5 inches.
Ink on paper.