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Lali Manila is Paula Liaño Moreno

I was born in Madrid in 1992 and, since I was a kid, I loved telling stories and drawing. I copied illustrations from all the books I had, my favorites were the ones Tony DiTerlizzi created for the Spiderwick series. Still today, every time I go back to Madrid on vacation, I revisit those books to enjoy his drawings.

As a teenager, I studied art in a specialised high school and experimented with techniques of all kinds, from oil painting to ink, to watercolor and woodcut. As I didn't know if I could make a living out of fine art, I ended up studying an undergraduate degree in audiovisual communication and I later got a Masters in Filmmaking in London. These studies helped me, among many other things, to acquire a solid foundation on how to tell stories.

Something that did not change during these years is that I continued drawing, always with a black pen, wherever I went. My class notes and personal notebooks are full of sketches, portraits of classmates, teachers, abstract ideas.

But it was when I arrived in Edinburgh, in 2018, when more and more people confronted me with the question “why don't you do this illustration thing professionally? You are actually very good!" Like all my life, and specially as an expat, I was working wherever I could in whatever I could find and had put my drawings aside. But I picked up my black pens and paper again, albeit without a specific purpose.

The final push to try to take this step was my participating #100daysprojectscotland in 2019. I did a series of 100 cartoons, one a day for more than 3 months, about the experience of arriving in Edinburgh as an outsider. The response was overwhelming. When we exhibited the project, my booth was filled with people laughing, crying, and wanting to tell me about their own experience. Wanting to buy my prints and my book. At that time and without knowing that this was coming, I had neither a book, nor prints, nor a website, nor any intention of selling myself as an artist. I was a receptionist in a hotel.

Since then I started doing private commissions, I collaborated with the online magazine TodaEscocia and recently I opened my Instagram account. I am working on publishing that book-that-never-was about a Spanish girl in Edinburgh, and very soon I will have an online store available with my prints. I have also participated, once again, in the #100daysprojectscotland of this 2021, telling the story how I have lived the pandemic on a daily basis (you can find it on my Instagram).

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.

I hope you enjoy my work!

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