The girl who wanted to draw

Roser Capdevila has a new illustrated autobiography out that narrates the journey that turned the creator of The Triplets into a major children’s author

In her memoir, La nena que volia dibuixar. Els meus petits records de postguerra (Angle Editorial), Roser Capdevila (Barcelona, 1939) talks about Doña Pilar Eroles, a strict teacher she had at school in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Horta. She also talks about how Doña Pilar was the inspiration for the witch in her hit series of illustrated books featuring Les Tres Bessones. It is one example of how Capdevila uses the memoir to show us where and how her life and work interconnect.

La nena que volia dibuixar (The little girl who wanted to draw, in English) is a book for grown-ups that came out of the storm of feelings that erupted in Capdevila when she had to return to the family home in Horta to look after her ill mother. “I spent a lot of time there and it stirred up my feelings and threw out memories. As I remembered things I drew them,” she says. On top of it all, a sister then passed away.

After recording these moments in a sketchbook, Capdevila later made a selection and added text to produce her book, which looks like a graphic novel. “My daughters helped me a lot. One of them, Anna, is a graphic designer, and she sorted out my drawings, polished them, and created a style of script for my writing,” says the author. Even though the book is only being published now, the original drawings were all done between 2002 and 2007.

While the book by the celebrated creator of The Triplets series contains many personal moments, it also provides a nostalgic look back to the times of – as the subtitle of the book suggests– the postwar period following the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. In one way, the book is also a type of visual narrative of the journey towards modernity.

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