Female Creators Project

Female Creators Project: Daniela Viçoso

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Hello! My name is Daniela Viçoso and I am an artist and storyteller from Portugal. I often go by Danibonbon and such online.

I’ve lived/studied in the US, Germany (Kassel) and England (London), but most of my life I have lived and worked in Portugal. I do illustration, painting and comics, often with boy’s love and portuguese folkloric themes. I studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon and recently graduated Master’s in Illustration at Kingston University, London with honors, with the book project “O Infante” (a portuguese BL). This book was something that I managed to publish in Portugal when I came back, which has been a truly wonderful experience for me!

Oh and you can find my work on my portfoliosketchblog, Facebook, or Instagram!

What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?

I paint, draw, write, design, self publish and … well with online presence, promotion also comes in handy. You gotta be a jack of all trades in this field I think, or at least it really doesn’t hurt you to be so! I have always drawn since I was a little baby. (I would often get in trouble for drawing on the walls of my parents’ first apartment in Faro,  before I could even walk properly.) I have always been drawing since then, and I always read a lot of different stories. I was really and still am into folklore and mythology and loved animation movies. I started reading manga when I was 12 or 13, and at the time I could only read it in French or Spanish (it’s still rare for Portugal to translate a lot of manga), and fell in love also with the fact it was full of female creators and new ways of storytelling and perspectives.

With the advent of the internet I discovered a whole new world, and have met so many talented and inspirational artists! But also going to conventions has been helpful as well, in the case of selling and promoting your work. I usually do Portuguese conventions (Iberanime and Anicomics in Lisbon, Comic Con at Oporto) but I just came back from MCM London Comic Con and I ADORED it! I hope to engage in more international cons in the future!

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What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
I was really big on Uncle Scrooge and Donald comics. I had a bunch of old comics because they had belonged to my mom when she was younger. These books were really popular in Brazil and then sold in Portugal since the language is basically the same. I grew up reading Carl Barks and Don Rosa and quite a few other prolific names that came from either Brazil or Italy. The Disney comics, or Scrooge comics like I called them, were very formative for me because I had them before I could read, and would skim the pages trying to imagine a story that fit (this was before I started primary school and then of course even more books were available for me, that’s the time I fell in love with Astérix).

First comic I drew was probably in fourth grade… I made a small 4 panel comic about the three biggest rivers in the Iberian Peninsula, which cross over Spain and Portugal. It was really silly and dumb but it is an idea I will revisit properly someday… maybe sooner than one thinks!

Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
You can always find info on my tumblr sketchblog or my twitter for upcoming projects! So far I’ve published “O Infante” in Oortuguese with El Pep, but hope to publish it in English in the future! Other than that I just finished a folkloric zine “Môças dum Cabreste” which is a collection of Portuguese women’s folk dress paintings I did and will soon be available online for purchase with an English translation!

Currently I am working on a new BL title to come out this summer as a zine, and also on a BL+folkloric story I mean to publish as a book, about a witch boy named Benjamim.

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Favorite inspiration, collaborators, other professionals you’ve worked with if any?
This is a hard question! I usually take a lot of inspiration from my cultural and historical background, as I am really interested in folklore and ethnography; but also manga/anime (especially old World Masterpiece Theater series, or the works of Kaoru Mori, Takemiya Keiko and Hagio Moto), history, the yaoi doujinshi/fanzine scene, LGBT movies, cinema in general and literature. I often say my ideal brand of work is a mix between classical literature and boy’s love.

As far as collaborations go I usually collab with my girlfriend Catarina João and old friend Margarida Carmello or other close Portuguese friends. Of note, I have collaborated for a few Portuguese zines, the recent Captive Prince “One Kingdom” charity zine and a short-collab with Portuguese argumentist André Oliveira. I’ve also done a variant cover for BOOM! Studios, for their “Card Wars: Fionna and Cake” series, it was really fun and I hope I could do variant covers more often!

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(Buy the variant issue here.)

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
I have a number of titles with Catarina João that we need to find the time and ways to make happen. Some of those are webcomics which could be bilingual and reach new readers I hope! On the matter of published books, I would also love to have my books translated into english and other languages in the future.

Something I’m looking forward to be able to do is a collaboration with an art gallery of some sort, I miss exhibiting my paintings and working on something like installation or other kinds of art performances. I would also love to make book, some type of editorial and poster design someday.

Dreamier collaborations within the comics field include taking part in more international anthologies or projects, or maybe… get into graphic novel adaptation of “Les Misérables” or the “Captive Prince” trilogy, dreaming big!…

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Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
Historical fiction, slice of life, gothic and some fantasy. My work could be called historical or fantasy depending on what you’re reading, but it definitely carries LGBT and folkloric themes. A genre I wouldn’t work in? I’m a “never say never” kinda person but I don’t usually dig futuristic/cyber/too noir settings, most things with robots and steampunk.

Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being a woman in your field? How did you overcome it?
Some, but fortunately only the usual dismissive kind like “it’s rare to see a woman making comics”… this statement came from someone who is from a different generation so I just brushed it off. Most of the creators I follow and read are female/minorities, so of course this statement is dumb.

Also, and this is back to my bachelors degree in fine arts, being a woman who draws comics with some nsfw and sexuality elements, so sometimes I’m afraid people will only focus on the NSFW part disregarding the emotional weight that comes in my work. I often try to keep a positive thinking and just do my thing. If you really love something you will find a way and strength to make it.

Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator? 
When I got to make the Adventure Time comic cover variant for BOOM! Studios, definitely! And when I sold out fifty doujin in Japan a few years back. Also, when people recognize my work at conventions I sell at and tell me it inspired them to look into their own culture! It makes me really happy…

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How do you think the current comics industry is toward women? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
This is a hard question because I will answer it in two ways. First, the western answer, in regards to american and euro scene, there is a lot of talking and great women making a stand. There are also a bunch of small indie publishers who focus on minority work; the internet has made us much stronger. Again, my contact with the western industry is limited.

Now when it comes to the Portuguese scene, we are really small, but a couple women have made their way into being more visible (there were always women in comics, it’s just hard for us to be noticed) so that makes me glad and proud. Once again, the internet is a great way to promote and reach audiences you otherwise wouldn’t reach.

Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
Women who are written as people. I have a predilection for book-ish or hard working girls who get caught in the middle of something bigger than themselves and revolutionary/historical inspired women. To name a few (that may or not fir the descriptions above): Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Ghibli), Edith Cushing from Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo del Toro), Poussey from Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Oscar from Versailles no Bara (from the manga by Ryioko Ikeda), Shoshanna from The Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009), Laura Palmer (Twin Peaks), Belle from Beauty and the Beast (Disney but really… from almost any adaptation).

I also love anything involving Marie Antoinette and tragic royals. Why? Well I guess it goes back to the portrayal of these women as people that enables them to be complex and interesting.

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What do comics mean to you?
Comics to me are an art medium that can turn prose and poetry into still image, they’re narrative paintings to me. It’s also a very forgiving field, while there are a lot of rules about comics, I find, there are almost no rules at all, and with the webcomic platform you are able to transform and crossover comics into and with other fields you never knew possible. But I still love collecting the old paperback volumes… reading on paper just feels really satisfactory and feels more personal to me.

Advice to other female creators in the field?
Tell your stories. Each of us is unique and has a different approach. I fear for all the stories we are missing because so many of us are afraid or unable to tell their stories, don’t give up. Consume a lot of media, read what you like or dislike so you know why you dislike it, don’t spend time on things you hate. If you’re in school still I know things can get messy.
Don’t lose hope and keep on creating. This is hard to believe, but eventually you will find your niche and what you want to do, and remember you aren’t alone. Also remember to be kind to yourself; making mistakes is really important to grow, use this time to do so, to better yourself and your craft, but never be afraid to make mistakes, we all do and we all will eventually continue on doing, such is human nature. Fiction is so important to explore said human nature, with all its greatness and its flaws, this belongs to you too not just to your idols. And again, only you can tell the stories you want to tell.

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What are you currently reading?
“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, a book on Iberian Masks and a collection of folk tales about mythical beings in Portugal. I’m always doing research on folklore and ethnography so I end up pausing whatever novel I’m reading to resume onto… more reading. I love the research that comes with creating, to me it’s highly important. It’s so much fun and makes you able to keep learning and evolving.

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Want to join the project yourself? Email ab188302@reddies.hsu.edu or hit me on twitter @Beebidon!

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