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Interview with Mahbubeh Pakdel, the diligent caricaturist

Interview with Mahbubeh Pakdel, the diligent caricaturist

Mahbubeh Pakdel is a cartoonist and caricaturist, she was born in Mashhad. She majored in computer science. She has become a member of the cartoonist group of Mashahad Hozeh Honari Since 2011 and she began her activities in cartoon professionally. She had attended in several group exhibitions cartoon since 2011, too. She held her first individual exhibition in Tehran Caricature House in February 2015.

Mahbubeh Pakdel achieved good ranks in several domestic festivals including state’s competitions and festivals and she also awarded several certifications. She won her first foreign award in Romania pepper and salt festival, in 2013. She won special prize of the Turkey International Turhan Seljuq festival in Turkey, in 2013, appreciating her in Nigeria 2nd cartoon Biennial in April 2015, first prize in Daesh International festival in June 2015, the winner of the 4th Jordan International Naji al-Ali festival in 2015 (the subject was Palestine and freedom), achieving the grand and special prizes in Portugal 18th International Porto cartoon festival, in April 2016, first prize in 4th international art’s resistance in 2016, appreciation in Serbia 25th International cartoon golden helmet contest, in 2016, certification and special prize in tourism part of Portugal International Porto cartoon festival in 2017, third prize in 23th Portugal International Porto cartoon festival, the winner of special prize in Germany International Don Quichotte cartoon festival in 2018,  the winner of special prize in 24th Portugal International Porto cartoon festival in 2019, third prize in 10th Colombia International Oskar festival in 2019, golden prize in China International Red Man cartoon festival in 2019, special prize in 29th Romania International cartoon competition in 2019, special prize in 26th Colombia International cartoon festival Ricardo Rendon in 2019.

Her greatest achievement is an iron structure that it was built based on one of her works and installed near the subway in Porto, Portugal. It is a tourist attraction in this city. In this cartoon, some immigrants on a stormy sea ship is hung on a rope of church bell. We talked to her for her considerable successes.

How did you become a cartoonist?

- Thanks to acquiring with the cartoonists group of Mashahad Hozeh Honari in 2011.

What was your first cartoon? Do you remember it?

- I think it was a cartoon on the theme of book.

When and where did your first work publish?

- In 2012, my work was certificated in Isfahan power consumption management festival. I remember that they contacted and asked me “was it really my work?” They thought someone drew the work and sent it to the festival. However people who saw my works on Instagram, confirmed it.

What was your dream in childhood?

- I have painted since I was around 6 years old and I always wished I had become a famous painter. Now I’m a cartoonist and I like it.

Now, what do you wish for?

- I wish everyone think well.

What was your first prize?

-  My first domestic prize was in Isfahan power consumption management festival in 2012. But my first foreign prize was in Romania pepper and salt festival in 2013.

What was your last prize?

- Special prize in 26th Colombia International cartoon festival Ricardo Rendon.

What’s your last work?

- Now I work for the group exhibitions of Mashhad cartoonists on the theme of Mother.

Do you work digitally or manually?

- I work only manually because I enjoy it.

What tool and application, do you use?

- Only colored pencil and sometimes pastel. I use Photoshop only for contrasting my works.

What is the most important element that you emphasize in creating your works?

- The first element is the subject then executing an idea very good.

Is it important for you to connect with the audiences?

- Audience is the first and most important element in caricature art.

Which is the most important for you, the durability of the work or the number of audiences?

- The work is considered by audiences, it is definitely durable.

Is it possible to teach the caricature and cartoon?

- Yes it is, as I learned it, and it could be taught someone interested in.

Is it possible to teach the caricature and cartoon idea?

- Yes, it could be possible to teach finding idea ways. For example I read “Blue Elephant” written by Mr.Niroumand.

Which is the most important to you Technique or idea?

- Both of them are important.

How ideas are formed in your mind?

- I study about the theme. Sometimes I read a poem or a book or only a proverb or sometimes I watch some pictures about it.

How do you select a technique after you create an idea?

- I use colored pencil technique for drawing cartoon and I use acrylics in my painting.

Have you been taught cartoon or caricature?

- No, I haven’t.

How long do you usually work on a caricature?

- It takes about 2 days, if it is a complex work.

Is the simplicity or complexity of the form, related to the complexity or simplicity of the idea too?

- No, it isn’t. If we use less elements and we don’t create complex work so, we can connect audiences quickly and transmit them our message better.

How effective are the awards and participating in domestic and foreign festivals, in developing your works?

- It is a great chance to meet and chat the other artists and using their experiences and on the other hand, we can share our experiences with people who couldn’t participate in these communities and they can use these experiences too.

Image of one of Mahboubeh Pakdel's awards

Apart from form, execution, and technique, what can you do with cartoon, caricature and animation and which approach do you have for their subjects?

- I usually send my works for festivals and most of their theme is about world issues and social problems.

In your opinion, how much a work should rely on form and idea, and content?

- The form and idea are related to content directly. Whatever the idea is stronger and smoother, the content will be more fluent. Especially, the content is more important in cartoons and forms should be devoted to the content of the work.

It seems that the style and arrangement of cartoon tools in your works has been done in such a way that your works look like painting?

- My style is real, both in painting and cartoon. In this style, every element should be according to the reality but what differentiate painting from cartoon is the content. Cartoon have a critical message as the painting picture frame.

I know, your most important disturbance in the content is the environment, such as pollution issues in your beautiful cartoon that chimneys create many smokes or tree or water issues exist in your different works. What are these environmental subjects based on? Are they custom works like water works or they are festival theme?

- It is usually based on mood of the artist that it is received from the society statement. Now, these themes are considering very much such as environment, air pollution, water shortage and natural sources. Furthermore, it is my disturbance and every artist disturbance in the world. Also, it is considered by festivals. I held an individual exhibition on the theme of water shortage in 2015.

Who is the best foreign caricaturist in your opinion?

- There are many artists and everyone has his special feature.

Which works do you like between Iranian works?

- I like Mr.Deram Bakhsh’s works because of its simplicity and linearity and I always draw real and colored.

What is the best movie have you ever seen?

- Papillon

Who is the best Iranian and foreign actor in your opinion?

- I like Leila Hatami and Shahab Hoseini between Iranian artists and Nicole Kidman and Anthony Quinn between foreign artists.

What is the best book have you ever read?

- Animal Farm

Which Iranian artist do you most in contact with?

- I contact with many domestic and foreign cartoonist.

What is your opinion about Iran cartoon website?

- It is a very good and perfect website but it is updated a little late.

Do you have any comment?

- I wish all the cartoonist good health.

Thank you for spending time with us.


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