The protagonists of the pictorial world of Canals are small beings, similar to bugs. The artist affectionately calls them phenomenolillos. This name reflects the phenomenal and human that belongs to them. Phenomenolillos are solitary or appear as a cloud. They love each other, they complain and they fight each other. They are aggressive and defend their existence with their huge mouths. In many cases the phenomenolillos act isolated and alone. They are always introverted and unable to communicate together. Very often they are inverted images of the artist's psychic situations. The theme of the fenomenolillos appears in the work of Joan Canals Carreras from the beginning of the 90s as a common thread. These beings inhabit the artist's universe. In addition, Canals' pictorial work includes portraits - for example, the series of "faces" - and landscapes.
He is always experimenting with colors and techniques in various directions. Thus, works on paper appear preferably, in small format also works on handmade paper. Canals draws, paints in watercolors, paints in oils, works with acrylic colors and different varnishes, makes collages. But he prefers to combine different pictorial and graphic techniques.