Featured Artist Lucas Albergaria de Magalhães

Artsy Shark presents Brazilian artist Lucas Albergaria de Magalhães . . . enjoy his portfolio and statement about his artistic journey!

“Before considering yourself a draftsman, you have to commit your first 5,000 mistakes”. I heard this strong sentence, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, from a classmate in university. She told me that after seeing my first solo exhibition. If Leonardo da Vinci really pronounced those words, I don’t know (and after studying a little bit of Italian draftsmen, this sentence sounds to me more like Michelangelo’s). But I believe in the power of it. And hearing it moved me to work harder.

I used to draw a lot when I was a kid. You can see scribbles, doodles on the borders of my textbooks or the back pages from my notebooks. I have a degree in Graphic Design and before graduation, the piles of drawn papers just grew bigger! At some point before getting my diploma I got frustrated with the situation: I had LOADS of creative insights for children`s books, fan arts, art pieces; but I felt that I couldn`t develop them, there was no way to establish a cohesive idea. Part of this feeling was in the use of loose sheets of paper – ideas could be separated or even got lost! And it was difficult to find a certain image or a note again. I feel that basing my art project became easier and clearer right after adopting a sketchbook.

Getting in touch with my first sketchbook (hardbound with heavyweight drawing paper) made me develop a big interest in traveler`s visual diaries – especially the ones kept by Jean Baptiste Debret, Rugendas, Taunay – artists that came to Brazil in colonial times to register their impressions about this country. Also, I admire their courage by passing through difficulties in their journeys to register a scene – and to do it beautifully with a restrained palette of colors. That`s what inspires me. I wish I can become a traveler and develop beautiful illustrated journals and publish them.

I started going to a public park nearby my hometown – Vitoria, Espirito Santo – with the objective of drawing people according to a question I asked myself: “how does a person use a public space?” – a simple question that guided me for 5 years, or 26 books.

I have worked on public parks, airports, subways, historical sites, inside museums and art galleries, folklorical manifestations and art classes. It gives me pleasure to see my sketchbooks on the shelf. I feel like I have a history, a body of artwork.

Sketchbooks have been part of my artistic development since October 2005. I use this support in two ways: as a space to conceive future works – to write, doodle, question myself what kind of visual world I`d like to develop – and as an art piece itself.

The structure of the book appeals to me – you can see sequences of a certain investigation from a draftsman`s work. I like to think of drawing as a part of a whole, instead of an isolated image. Drawing – part of a volume formed by a sketchbook. Volume – the same expression used in airports to designate a single part of a luggage. Somehow, drawing and traveling are associated.

Those five years drawing people made me capable of being a fast sketcher, a discreet observer and gave me enough material to show as a portfolio or even as artwork. Every book is worked through a single medium (portable and practical according to the situation, in preference. There`s no way of using ink inside a trembling bus car). I explore a technique until I get tired of it and then try something else. I`m also very concerned about finishing the book I`m working on the moment.

I upload part of this production at virtual art communities – especially deviantart. As a result from my effort, a Spanish art dealer got interested – but I wasn`t spiritually ready to sell my sketchbooks. Also, there was an invitation to make part of the 1st Biennial of Artist`s Books in Naples, Italy.

At the moment I just finished a 40-page visual diary, based on the memories I have from a 48 hours experience with the Congado festival (an African-based festival, very colorful) at Uberlandia, Minas Gerais. This journal I sent to Naples. My future projects consist of organizing projects for traveling journals, aiming to publishing them in a book format.

You might ask me if I reached the 5,000 drawings that started this project. I don`t know the answer – probably I did reach, but why should I be concerned with this right now? I won`t stop drawing after getting to that mark. Drawing takes me to pleasurable moments in my life. I wish to keep on drawing and traveling as long as possible.


  1. Thank you, Lucas for sharing your sketchbooks and the details behind each book. I like the idea of having a specific theme you are investigating for each book.

    A solo exhibit showcasing several of these would be very interesting seeing the progression from book to book and subject to subject and the time line as well.

    Continued Success!

  2. I can relate to the benefits of sketching. It really does hone in your skills. Interesting note: Yesterday I was cleaning my studio and found a stack of sketches and “doodles” going back like 15 years. I didn’t even remember doing most of them, but they were indeed signed and dated by me. Anyway, sketching is definitely a vital tool.

  3. I loved reading this, share your love of sketchbooks, and realize that we both started the same sketchbook art experience around the same time.

    • Oh Shirley, thank you so much for commenting this article. I always take a look at your blog site, but I had no idea we began sketchbooking around the same time! Hugs, my dear!

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