Ziraldo Alves Pinto was born on October 24, in the town of Caratinga, in the State of Minas Gerais. He is the eldest of a family of seven brothers. His name comes is a combination of the names of his mother Zizinha and his father Geraldo. This is how Zi-raldo was conceived - a unique name.
He spent his childhood in Caratinga, going to school at the Grupo Escolar Princesa Isabel. In1949 he went to Rio de Janeiro with his grandfather, and he studied for two years at MABE (Modern Teaching Association). In 1950 he went back to Caratinga for the mandatory military service. He finished lower school in the Colégio Nossa Senhora das Graças. He graduated in Law School in 1957 at the Faculty of Law of Minas Gerais in the capital of Belo Horizonte.
In the following year he got married to Dona Vilma, after seven years of courtship. The couple has three children, Daniela, Fabrizia and Antônio, and four grandchildren.
Ziraldo loves drawing since a very tender age. He used to draw everywhere - on the sidewalks, walls, classrooms... Another passion of his since childhood is reading. He would read whatever fell into his hands: Monteiro Lobato, Viriato Correa, Clemente Luz (The Magician), and all the comics that were then published. By that time, upon reading the pages of his first comic book, he felt that this is where his future would be.
Ziraldo's career started in the magazine Era Uma Vez... with monthly contributions. In1954 he started working in the newspaper A Folha de Minas with a humor page. Coincidentally, this was the same newspaper to publish his first drawing in 1939, when he was just six years old!
In 1957, he started publishing his works in magazine A Cigarra, and later in O Cruzeiro. In 1963 he started working with Jornal do Brasil, where he still has comics strip. He also worked at magazines Visão e Fairplay.
Ziraldo made posters for several Brazilian movies including Os Fuzis, Os Cafajestes, Selva Trágica, Os Mendigos, etc. In Rio de Janeiro Ziraldo became one of the most well known and acclaimed graphic artists in Brazil and around the world.
Due to its diversity, It is not possible to limit his work to the graphic arts alone, though. He is an artist that along the years developed several facets of his talent. Ziraldo is also a painter, poster artist, cartoonist, caricaturist, journalist, author of plays, and writer.
In the 60's his cartoons and political strips started showing in magazine O Cruzeiro and newspaper Jornal do Brasil. Characters like Jeremias, o Bom, the Supermãe and later the Mineirinho, became extremely popular.
Also in the early 60's his childhood dream came true: Ziraldo became a comics author and launched the first Brazilian comics book by a single author. The main character was one-legged Saci Pererê, an important mythical figure in the Brazilian folklore. Other characters of this gang included a small Indian and several animals of the Brazilian fauna such as a leopard,a jabuti (land turtle), an armadillo, a rabbit and an owl. Turma do Pererê was a landmark in the history of comics books in Brazil.
In 1964, when the military took over the government, the magazine was closed down. It was too nationalistic to survive the fascist coup censorship that happened in Brazil. Nevertheless, these characters were so typically Brazilian that they resisted the hard military years. In 1973 Editora Primor, a publishing house in Rio de Janeiro would re-edit in3 albums a selection of the best stories of Saci Pererê and his gang under the name- A Turma do Pererê. The stories were incorporated into the best teaching books published in the country, helping the Brazilian children to better know and understand their own culture.
During the Military Dictatorship period ( 1964-1984 ), Ziraldo participated was part of an intense resistance effort against repression. Together with other humorists he founded the most important non-conformist newspaper in the history of Brazilian press, O Pasquim. Ziraldo considers O Pasquim to be the big cellar of post-'68 humorists.
With the edition of the AI - 5, an act that restrained civil liberties during the Military Revolution, many Brazilians that were against the regime tried to hide and escape from imprisonment. Ziraldo spent the night helping to hide his friends and did not worry about himself. On the day right after the enactment of the infamous AI-5 he was arrested in his home, and taken to the Forte de Copacabana,accused of being a dangerous element.
In 1968 Ziraldo's talent was acclaimed internationally with the publication of his productions in the Graphis magazine, a sort of Panthéon of the graphic arts. His works were also published in international magazines including Penthouse and Private Eye in the U.K., Plexus and Planète in France and Mad Magazine in the U.S..
In the year of 1969 the artist received very important awards. He won the International Oscar of Humor in the 32nd International Exposition of Caricatures in Brussels, and the Merghantealler Award, the highest honor granted to the free press in Latin America by the International Press Association in Caracas, Venezuela. He was invited to draw the annual UNICEF poster -- the first time a Latin artist was granted the honor.
Ziraldo made a mural for the opening of nightclub Canecão, in Rio de Janeiro, on a wall with over 200 square yards. This work of art was reproduced in magazines all over the world. Today it is unfortunately hidden behind a wooden panel.
Also in the year of 1969 he published his first book for children, FLICTS. It is the story of a color that could not find its place in this world. In this booked he used lots of colors and a minimum of words. The U.S. Embassy in Brazil gave a copy of the book to the American astronauts that first stepped on the moon when they visited Brazil. Neil Armstrong, one of the astronauts, was touched when he read the book, and wrote to the author: "The moon is FLICTS".
In the 70's, when his work was already acclaimed, Ziraldo went on opening new doors in Brazil and around the world. Since 1972 his works have always been selected by magazines Graphis Annual and Graphis Porter.
Several international magazines have used Ziraldo's drawings on their covers, including Vision, Playboy, and GQ ( Gentlemen's Quarterly). His material can be seen in magazines all over the world. Some of his drawings were selected to become a part of the collection of The Cartoon Museum of Basel in Switzerland.
From 1979 onwards Ziraldo started to dedicate more of his time to his old passion: writing stories for children. In this year he published O Planeta Lilás, a poem of love to books, where he shows that the book is bigger than the Universe, which can easily fit into its pages.
In 1980 Ziraldo received his greatest honor as an author of children's books at the Bienal do Livro in São Paulo, with the release of O Menino Maluquinho. The book became the biggest editorial hit in the Fair and was awarded the Prêmio Jabuti by Câmara Brasileira do Livro in São Paulo. This book has been adapted for the theater, movies, Internet, and children's opera by Maestro Ernani Aguiar. O Menino Maluquinho became a true symbol of the Brazilian Kid.
In 1994 the Brazilian Post Office minted stamps with O Menino Maluquinho, o Bichinho da Maçã (The Apple Worm), the Turma do Pererê and Saci Pererê himself. With this tribute by the Brazilian Correios e Telégrafos to the artist's work was spread all over the planet with wishes of a Happy Xmas, Season's Greetings and Happy New Year. Ziraldo's books have already been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Italian, English, German, French and Basque.
As all true Brazilians, , Ziraldo loves Carnaval. He was one of the first to march with Banda de Ipanema side by side to Albino Pinheiro, Leila Diniz, and the guys from Pasquim. His book FLICTS was the theme for a Samba School in the city of Juiz de Fora (MG), and Ziraldo marched on the floor with his son Antonio. In the Carnival of 1997, Ziraldo was one of the highlights of a Samba School in Rio. This time he marched on top of a huge Nutty Boy float that was so high they had to use a crane to get him off.
Ziraldo has already participated in several television specials. He was invited to be part of the jury of several programs, festivals, and even the Miss Brazil pageant back in the 60's. He is also a TV host and interviewer. Whenever he is a guest in a talk show he comes up with interesting propositions. One of his most well-known phrases is "Reading is more important than studying."
Ziraldo's art is part of our everyday life, and his works can be identified in famous logos such as the one used by Telerj (Rio de Janeiro's phone company), in matchboxes that soon became collector's items, posters for the charity fund-raising Feira da Providência, hundreds of T-shirts, symbols for campaigns, etc. Ziraldo is always involved in new projects, and one of the novelties to come is the magazine Bundas (Buttocks), a humorous counterpart to the ostentatious Caras, a magazine dedicated to the lifestyle of the rich and famous. "Those who showed their butts in Caras will never show their faces in Buttocks"...
Learn more about Ziraldo visiting his Photo Gallery!