The absurd world of Joan Cornellà

A little while back I discovered the work of Joan Cornellá an illustrator from Barcelona who’s body of work is almost exclusively one page silent comics. Similar to the Jason his comics are drawn with in a set grid of panels which is repeated throughout his work. In Cornellá’s case his comics are most often drawn in six panel grids and his simple line art illustration helps to create a beautiful aesthethic which is very clean and clear.

Although Cornellá’s art is brightly coloured and features smiling characters, do not be fooled, as Cornellá’s work is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. The stories and situations presented by Cornella in his silent comics go from being outright absurd to politically pointed. Cornellás characters continue to smile and look happy as they are put through horrendous circumatances. There may be a tendency at times to search for a deeper meaning in this absurdity, I am unsure however that this deeper meaning may always exists. Many of his comics feature death and I think to an extent the larger message behind much of Cornellás work is that life is absurd and in the face of death we can only try to go about our lives and be happy.


Cornellá creates his art using water colour or acrylics on paper. It is through social media and digital sharing, however, that Cornellá has found a following for his work. Cornella attributes some of this popularity to the fact that his work is silent and has been able to find an audience outside of Spain. In an interview with Miss Fiocchetti  Cornellá says he believes that his work is more popular outside of Spain and he feels that this is linked to the fact that he creates silent comics “I’m more appreciated out of Spain, but I don’t know why. I guess Spanish people don’t understand the silent comics. Or don’t like them. Or they are just noisy. But I love silent comics and I love SILENCE.”.


Cornellá’s work certainly may not be to everyones taste. To me, however, there are many aspects to his work which ring through to my own personal interests. Cornellá finds ways to tell his stories in a manner which is fresh and aesthetically pleasing. He has a style and a voice which is clearly his own. I love his cartoonish line art style and the use of bright colours in the face of dark subject matter. He is similar yet different to Jason, managing to tell his stories silently and with enough truth to make them as funny as they are sad.



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