Interview: André Letria & Ricardo Henriques

After the success of Mar, Pato Lógico now presents an exhibition about the book at Fabrica Features, in Lisbon. Being one of my favourite illustration books, Mar is full of amusing information about this salty 'big pool' that brings so many memories to portuguese people. The words, by Ricardo Henriques, complement great illustrations by André Letria, from diving suits and sailors, to fishes and boats, now available for sale at the exhibition. Besides that, you can put messages in a bottle (drawn on the wall), make paper boats and see the most known knots, a must visit! O Editorial talked with the authors of this prized book: How did you came up with the idea for Mar? André Letria (AL) - I felt like starting a collection that approached a series of themes in a comprehensive manner, explaining concepts and suggesting activities at the same time. Mar was a quick, obvious and consensual choice. The thing was transformed along the way as i worked with Ricardo and the initial idea developed into the book you see today in bookshops. Ricardo Henriques (RH) - When i met André we had immediately the will to put ideas on paper and in a series of fortuitous encounters we did just that. Curiously we started with an idea that André already had, a sea (Mar) activity guidebook. The idea grown and grown until the end result, with the possible words, some for its historic importance and others for the sonority. It's funny that when you've never launched a book, this was my first, it seems that you don't have a commitment with yourself, but now, from that list of ideas i'm ansious to bring to reality at least two with André. Because the secret is the centerfold of the book, i can only reveal that after Mar it might come out a Futuro (Future).

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"Pato Lógico born from the will to make books my own way, without big commercial pressures or restrictions imposed by editors that manage catalogues of mainstream publishers", André Letria

The most important moments until now? AL - The still short life of Pato was marked by the edition of the first book (Domingo vamos à Luz) in 2010; the arrival of Inês Felisberto (project manager) in 2011, that doubled the team size; the first time we went to Bologna Book Fair, in 2012, from which resulted the first rights sale for abroad and the publication of a new author, beside me and my father - Ricardo Henriques - last October.

How do you choose themes for new books? AL - Some times are ideas kept for years, waiting for an opportunity. Others born by chance, from spontaneous conversations.

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Which book you enjoy the most doing? AL - Each one always brings some suffering in it's own manner. Or because the time is not enough for the job, or because it seems is going on the wrong path. The pleasure comes after when we see it finished.

Where do you seek inspiration? AL - In other people. Other illustrators, writers, filmmakers, painters, etc. Also in schools, hearing ideas from children who've done activities with us. RH - Tom Waits uses to say that is the inspiration that catches you, the important is to be with the antennas switched on.

And a funny situation? AL - We've a list of the names called - wrongly - to our publisher. Some examples: Corpo Mágico (Magic Body), Pato Ecológico (Eco Duck)... RH - When Pato Lógico censured politely a synonym, not very polite, of 'cesto da gávea' (crow's nest)!

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What's the secret to sell books in a digital dominated market? AL - We don't know. We learn a little every day. At least we know that we should not do books only thinking in its commercial success.

"I continue to believe that sex sells. A book with naked ducks would be a success, it would be pato (duck) and lógico (logical)", Ricardo Henriques

Favourite places in Lisbon? AL - The viewpoints (São Pedro de Alcântara or Portas do Sol). But Lisbon is a city that you discover everyday. RH - Places that take advantage of the hills and views of Lisbon. São Pedro de Alcântara or Senhora do Monte viewpoints, Bica funicular, the roof of a certain house in front of the pantheon, any plane in the time for landing in Lisbon and Ginjal, the perfect place to see the city.

Exhibition until 30th of April at: Fabrica Features Rua Garrett 83 Lisbon