By Luciana Leitão

The first number has just come out in Portugal and their name is all over the Internet. Triciclo is a biannual children illustration magazine, featuring quizzes, riddles and games for those who are aged more than six. Still, its founders, Ana Braga, Inês Machado and Tiago Guerreiro, say it’s not only for the little ones, but for all that like children’s illustration.

“(…) Each page corresponds to one hour in André’s life, a boy that sometimes has a complicated life, but that also knows how to enjoy the good moments, such as school recess with his friends, playing secret spies or play Mozart in the piano (…),” the magazine’s editorial explains. What follows are a series of games and riddles, over the next pages, one of which goes through the whole book. “You can’t find the number in the pages? Not everything is in sight, sometimes we need to know how to look. We suggest you find the clocks spread through the pages of the magazine. Maybe it helps!”

The Triciclo adventure does not sum up in one magazine. The team has created a publishing house with the name of the magazine and is ready to prepare other types of products to be launched over the next months, year and years to come. “It all started in December 2015, more or less, when we were all studying in ArCo [an art school in Portugal],” explains Mr Guerreiro, in a Skype interview. From then on, the three have been talking about launching something together. “I was a student in a workshop taught by Catarina Sobral and Inês asked me if I would like to do a children’s illustration magazine,” he recalls. Ms Braga then joined the project.

Triciclo

And the idea of creating a publishing house bursted — to launch this magazine and other projects in the future. “We’re thinking on doing zines, artist books, games, photobooks, always in the field of children’s illustratiom; I don’t mean it will only target children, but it will be in this field,” Mr Guerreiro mentions. “Children’s illustration is where I want to be and what I like the most – I’m not excluding works outside this field, but, even if I do them, which is most likely, my own style, the style of my work fits more the so-called children’s illustration.” As for Ms Braga, she is “not only doing children’s illustration,” but she is now more focused in that, due to Triciclo. “The project needs to have a focus,” she adds.

Besides, children’s illustration is not only for children. “I am 34 years old and I’m always looking for this kind of stuff, whenever I get inside a bookshop,” Mr Guerreiro highlights.

The second number

The first issue has just come out and already there are questions about the next one. “The second one should come out in October. It’s a surprise. Graphically, it will have two colours — following the risograph printing system — but the colours will be different [from the first issue], or one at least,” he says.

The risograph printing system was created in Japan, in 1986, and it is called a digital duplicator, which has two ink drums and prints in two colours. The first number was printed in teal and red, and the images are printed in layers, one on top of the other, creating different tonalities and drawings.

As for the theme, it will be different for sure, as well as the lineup. “We hope to have in the coming issue other things besides games — things like stories,” he adds.

The magazine is biannual on purpose. “We are thinking on doing other projects in between — we do everything in the publishing house, we are the editors, we do the graphic design, we take orders, we give the interviews,” he says. “Our idea is to have this magazine as the only regular and periodical publication by Triciclo, but, in between, we want to be doing other things,” he says.

Triciclo

The magazine was launched on February 4, at It’s a Book, in Anjos, Lisbon, and it already has surpassed the founders’ expectations. “We had the initial intention of printing out 40 magazines, but, while we were announcing it to the public, we realised there were many people interested, so we got to 80,” Mr Guerreiro says. Yet, they are already thinking on issuing a second edition of the first issue, which should result in printing 200 copies.

“We have more than 100 reservations for a second edition. “On the launching day, there was not enough room for all the people inside. “And many left without a copy — we started at 4 pm and at 5 pm there were no more magazines,” Ms Braga adds.

As for the people now asking for one, none of them are children, even though there were some at the bookstore. “We have people from different places — there are more people from Portugal, because the project is Portuguese, but in the meantime we have a request or two from the United States, Uruguay, Italy,” he adds. Some of the buyers are teachers who want the magazine for classes, while others are parents and some are people from the illustration sector.

The magazine features games and riddles for children, not because it suits the market, but due to practical reasons. “From the moment we have an illustration, maybe it’s easier to imagine a riddle than a story,” he mentions. It also makes editing easier. “Each of the 24 pages fits one hour of the day for a child; each of us had eight pages to fill, knowing beforehand which hours of the day of the child we would illustrate and from them on it was more or less easy to plan the magazine,” he says.

Now, the three entrepeneurs have already a lot on their plate. They are now focusing on the exhibition taking place this month. “We’re now finishing printing and illustrations for the exhibition.” Focusing on the magazine just launched, it will  feature objects painted and drawn by the artists. “The idea of the exhibition will be the idea of the magazine — we have some images suiting the hours of the magazine and then others that will also jump in, and that correspond to other moments of Andre’s [the main character] day,” adds Ms Braga.

The exhibition opens on February 18, at 4 pm, at Fabrica Features, in Chiado, and goes until March 15. Besides, on February 25 and March 4, the three artists will host workshops targeting children from five to 10 years old. In March, there’s a workshop for adults. On March 18, they present the magazine in Coimbra and on April 8 in Caldas da Rainha.