Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
I think something was already in my DNA : my grandfather and my mom were painters, so I grew up between brushes and colors. My favourite pastime was drawing everything I saw in my garden: flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, leaves and so on...
How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?
After High School I decided I wanted to become a graphic designer and worked in advertising but immediately I realized that my real wish was drawing instead of managing advertising campaigns: working directly on an idea and using my skills to realize it.
So I attended three different School of Illustrations!
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I still live where I grew up: in Vercelli, the Italian capital of rice! Rice paddies are our "checkered sea", between mountains and the Ligurian sea.
Since I was a child, the beauty and all sounds of birds and nature have been the backgrounds of my life.
Do you have a favourite picture book or recall one of the first picture books you saw?
I remember the first book I saw! Now we can define it a "vintage book" of course , but as life is a wheel it could be possible that, in a near future, this style could become a new trend!! :-)
In any case I grew up with the lovely books by Alice and Martin Provensen, in my opinion timeless illustrators for children's books.
What was your first commission as a professional illustrator?
The first work I was commissioned to illustrate was a series of books on Whales and Dolphins for Ravensburger Publishing. Even if my style is different now, I remember with deep affection those books, the enthusiasm in drawing them and the beautiful relationship that I established with my publishers. It was really a great experience!
Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.
I've always drawn freehand with watercolors, pencils ,airbrush. Since 2010 I began using digital techniques. I think that this way of working really gives a more wide range of possibility and effects when processing an illustration, but it's important to stay always updated, trying to discover all news about new digital programs features.
How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?
Really there is no rule. Sometimes the character comes out strongly: you only need to define all details; sometimes I spend many hours trying to give him a personality and a characterization with no results. In that case, generally, I've only to switch off my computer and take a long walk with my dog. When I come back to my studio, the character arrives too on the screen..:-)
What do you do in your spare time?
As soon as I have some free time.... I study Japanese!
What is your favourite children’s book and why?
I've always loved POP UP Books. Scenes that come to life page after page...and your imagination flies! I often buy pop-up books for me (I'll read them with my grandchildren, of course!) I like to collect them!
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
Above all ANIMALS. Doesn't matter if fiction or no-fiction illustrations. Just ask! :-)
Stickers books: maybe dolls or princesses or children or..animals...with colorful clothes, backgrounds and accessories!
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
I think that not having experienced life with an animal is a great loss. I've always shared my time with a pet, since I was a child.
Now in my family there are five cats and a sheperd dog :-)