Valentina Bandera

Valentina Bandera

Represented by Sylvie Poggio
Valentina Bandera Interview

Valentina Bandera

Children's Illustrator

How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?

I always have been addicted to art and colors and I found myself drawing colored scenes here and there since I was a child.  I decided to switch into something more “concrete” few years ago, when I collected my illustrations in a personal portfolio that helped me finding the Agency which is currently representing me worldwide. Thanks to the amazing Agency team I have the opportunity to start working professionally on some great illustrated books! Why did I decide to work as freelance illustrator? Drawing and creating illustration makes me happy...can’t imagine something better than having a business that makes you happy!

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" Max is Cooking " - by Jackie Walter and Valentina Bandera

Hachette Reading Champion publishing 2019.

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" Finn and the Dentist " - by Jill Atkins and Valentina Bandera

Hachette Reading Champion publishing 2020.

Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?

I studied at Art High school where I learnt about colors theory, shades and lights and where I started to define my art approach. Then, I followed the architect path at Politecnico di Milano, where I improved techniques about lines and spaces and I trained my eyes to see things and to draw them from real life. I am very grateful about my background, because the path I followed drove me to understand how to work with object and colors turning them from reality in something more creative , sometime more abstract!

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Studying Teenager Bedroom

Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?

I have to mention all my childhood best friends that helped me discover my path in art world:  animated movies, comic magazine, toys, and the super my parent's big books collection! I had a very creative and intense childhood where I always had the opportunity to do something new to let my mind flying away to fairy words and unknow kingdoms. But I have to admit that my major influencer was my Mom (an artist too!), that always supported me to express my art side and increase my skills!

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Cooking Time with Mum

Which books from your own childhood really stand out?

My favorite book ever is Pinocchio by Collodi. It shows me something new every time I read it. I still have a copy of this tale from my primary school and I consider it as a kind of treasure in my bookshelves! There is another gem that comes in my mind from my childhood and it is called “Roselline”: an exercise manual that shows how to learn drawing easy decorations on squared exercise book and on blank paper too. I remember I used it every day to decorate the final page of my homework.

Do you keep a sketch book?

Indeed! I am a sketchbook-addicted-person! Although almost all my final illustrations are developed as digital I cannot stay away from sketchbooks! I simply adore them! I usually keep two sketchbooks always ready to be used with  new ideas. They are both with blank pages, but one is mainly for leisure time and I use it for doodles, scratches and to track random ideas. The second one is dedicated to all the roughs which need to develop  into finished illustrations!

On this one I work with colors (colored pencils and watercolors) and the pages are filled with lot of characters development passages.

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5 at the Museum

How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?

Unfortunately, I cannot  find a universal answer because there is not a mathematical rule when I work on characters. Sometimes they are already defined in my mind and they take few minutes to be translated on paper. Some other times I need to let my pencil flow on paper again and again before seeing them growing in a way that I am satisfied with and reaching their final shapes as I had  imagined.

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Talk us through the process of creating one of your latest illustrations or books.

In the latest months I spent some time re-reading some old book from my collection. I enjoyed so much “Never Ending Story” (M.Ende)  that I decided to develop an illustration inspired by it. The characters pop up so clearly in my mind, that I didn’t need much time working on them. I started on my sketchbook, defining the main scene composition. Than, I worked on Bastian and on his features to collect all the information before starting with the digital side of it. I worked on the final digital version following the main idea I had...although I perfectly know that, in the process,  I always change something in the final version!

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Never Ending Story

Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.

Unfortunately I cannot say that I work in the same workspace for all the projects! I can define myself as a “moving”  and “dynamic” artist, as I often work on the way. For that reason the digital dimension is the best for me, because it leads me working everywhere. I simply can say that my workspace is where my art tools are!

Outline your dream project.

I would like so much to work on some children editions of some great classics such as Dracula or Frankenstein...I really hope to have the opportunity to work on a project like that in the future!

What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a children’s illustrator?

Practice everyday and never give up! You just need to practice and train yourself in artworld, because that is the only way to improve your style and the quality of your illustrations! Try to express yourself through the images, because your art is the mirror of yourself and this is the only way to be confident with your skills!

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4 Characters b&w

How important is it for you to be part of a creative community of people?

Living in a creative community is very important for an artist. Living in a creative environment is great to learn  and find inspiration everywhere everyday!

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Canal Party

What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?

I have to say that I don’t have a super favorite subject to draw, despite animals, plants and happy people are a super fun subjects to spend time on! A recurrent trait in my illustrations are textures, as I simply adore spending time detailing objects and adding textures to enrich the pictures I work on.

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Wizard and Marmalade Maker

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