New year plans

I have always been a planning person but since I met my boyfriend I became even more. This could be a disadvantage sometimes if you need to improvise but luckily it doesn’t happen so often.

I really like have plans and stick with them when it’s possible. At the end of the week I feel more accomplished when I tick everything in my checklist and I already know what I need to do for the following week. I feel very organised.



At the beginning of the new year we always want to be better. We have a lot of good intensions, but we don’t think about the process and how we are going to achieve them.


The result in giving up very soon.


Having a plan help you to break the goals in different steps, which are more achievable. It’s like a long run: you don’t have to think about the whole length of the run. You need to break it in small parts.

Why planning?


When you start to plan you are transforming the intentions into actions. The goals become more and more real.


When I  plan I  ask myself these questions:

  • Why? Think about the reason you want that specific goal. If it’s not strong enough you will probably give up.


  • How? I break into small parts my goal and I think how I can achieve them.


  • When? The plan is made but when will you meet your goal? Put down a deadline for each step you wrote down. In this way you won’t procrastinate.


By sticking to the plan, you will create new habit which will be hard. The important part is to be persistent and keep in mind the reasons you want to achieve that goal.

To make my plans every week I use Evernote.

Evernote is a very useful free app which allow me to create tabs and notes. I can also share my note with other people and they can edit them too.




Ready for the New year? What are your goals? Let me know in the comments box below!

Why side projects are so important

Illustrator colleges, art directors, clients always suggested me to experiment and do personal works. But I’ve never been the person who draw everything whenever she has the time.


I need to have a purpose for everything.


But I have always been a fan of DIY project where I could experiment new techniques too. Throughout the years, I did several side projects such as illustrated lighters, animals scarves, ceramic painting etc…



Lately I realised that experimenting and  personal works doesn’t mean drawing necessarily. You can do whatever you want, you just need to enjoy it and be passionate about it.

Through side projects you improve skills that you can use in your current workplace.



You are not trying to make a career out of it. You are just trying to build skills.


Late last year I made the effort to work on little bit every weekend on  side projects.



There are many reasons for a illustrator to work on a side project. It’s a good way to stay excited about your work, keep your entrepreneurial skills sharp, and most importantly – it’s fun!


An obvious statement, but important: you should be excited to work on your side projects.


If you’re excited to be working on your side project, then you’re only going to be more motivated to finish and show it off.

Work and fun don’t necessarily have to be opposites. Growing up it was always work then play, but as freelancers we’re capable of turning what we love to do into revenue.



For example, making these kind of project I understood I really like pattern. So I’m trying to integrate them in my illustrations when it’s possible.

They also allow me to think outside of the box without focusing on the message or without any worries about what the clients would like.

My last project was my Christmas decoration which I very much enjoyed making. I would like to take this opportunity to whish you a very joyful Christmas. See you in the New Year with a new post!



Are you working on a side project? How you keep inspired yourself? Let me know in the comments box below!

The role of memories in my work

Looking at the past, most of my projects and dissertations have been about memories. One of these projects has been already covered here.


But what is one of the most common ways that we use to store all our memories? As photographs.



I‘ve always been fascinated about our memory and how it works.


Let’s try to remember a holiday. Perhaps a BBQ or picnic with some friends. Obviously we can imagine the situation: a group of people around the grill in a park.


Let’s try to “fix” this scene and print it as a photograph. Can you remember exactly what your friends were wearing? What kind of trees there were in the park? Probably not. If you are able you probably remember some pieces of information but not really a very precise scene like it would be in a photograph.


Why is that? Because our brain has re-built a similar situation but not exactly the same.




Memory is like a big folder where you can save all your good and bad moments. But if you talk with different people who shared the same memory they will tell the same episode in different ways because they would recall it from their personal point of view.


During the years I found useful to bring my memories into my works.


But how?


I started to collect some of my family pictures and when I needed to look up to some references for some drawing, I would look to them.

Sometime I would find something, which inspire me. But this is not always the case.



My approach takes inspiration from Gerhard Richter, an artist from Germany.

One of his works consisted on collecting different photographs. Then he created the Atlas, a volume of 5000 images from around the world. These photographs are all from different sources, such as magazine, family pictures, sketches, painting landscape etc.. He created his own memory of the world.

He also used some photographs as a base for his paintings.


When I don’t find anything I look at different websites that provide some raw material, such as:


Have you ever use memories in a similar way? Do you have other websites to share? Let me know in the comments box below!


Collage for brainstorming

Brainstorming is a great way to begin thinking about an assignment. By writing ideas down on a page you can see what you remember about a given subject and draw connections between different concepts. You can write freely and make as messy as you like.


Finding the idea is usually the hardest part of every assignments for me, because I have to find the balance between not making it too abstract or  too obvious at the same time.


Therefore I usually start to do brainstorming as soon as possible because developing ideas can sometimes be a time-consuming process.

Diagrams and charts are great ways to not only write down what you know, but to visually make connections between important points. However these aren’t the only way.

When I have some free time I try to use collage for brainstorming.


Why collage?


There is a very strong connection between collage and storytelling. Throughout the long and varied history of collage art, one  concept has remained:


Fragments become a new whole with a new and bold meaning.


Storytelling, in the same way, takes fragmented events and creates  new and greater entity: the story.

When I use the collage I like to play with the image without thinking to much about the concept. When I think I have finished the different compositions I take a step back and pay attention to what I like of it.




In this collage I liked that the two images are linked and divided at the same time by an imaginary line. It’s like one part has slipped and trying to catch up with the other.

This idea worked very well with the  Legless Edbur  illustration. A guy who lost his legs but in the end, you will discover he didn’t lost his legs but something else….

I didn’t know the idea would work well for that assignment before but I  saved it either way on my sketchbook, or how I like to call it “doodlebook”. Then I waited for the right article to use it.

An other example is the one I did for Transform magazine. Here I liked the repetition of the ladies which you can see in both collage composition and illustration.

As you can see the inspiration from the collage could be literally the same illustration or just a small detail of it.  But it helps to think out of the box by keeping the concept of the article very clear in mind.

Do you have different ways to look for ideas? Let me know in the comments box below!

Inspirational listening

Grab your headphones, get your coffee and plug into inspiring podcasts.


Have you ever listen to a podcast? What about an illustration podcast?


Why  listen to a podcast?


I like having a podcast playing in the background while I work; I find it to be informative and relaxing.  Sometimes I don’t even listen so much but it makes you feel  less lonely when you sketch at home.


Because no illustrator is an island – Thomas James


Other times it helps to improve my  listening skills too.


I love podcasts because they boost creativity  and let you learn while multitasking.


They represent a simple solution for learning and inspiring while you are submersed on a busy schedule. That’s what podcasts offer.

One of the first podcast I listened was Escape Illustration Island  by Thomas James. I don’t even remember how I found it out but I loved it. I started from the beginning and, as you will see, there are tones of episodes!

My favourites ones are  with other illustrators or art directors, especially when they confess some fears   about our jobs.


It’s all about sharing.

With this podcast I had a chance to know new illustrators and artists who I might not have meet. I love their work and it is inspirational for me.

My experience…


I took part to two podcast too. If you are interested you can listen to one of them by Ryan McLeod, Creative Chit Chat. Here I talked about the process to built up my illustrator career and about my participation to the DCA Thomson exhibition in Dundee. This was also covered in my first post. Do you remember?


Do you have a favourite illustration podcast? Let me know in the comments box below!

Meaning of shapes

How do you feel when you see a circle? A square? A triangle?


Shapes have a lot of characteristics, each communicating different messages to your audience.


In most of my illustrations I use basic shapes because I feel they are simple and strong at the same time.


What are the different types of shapes?


There are 3 basic types of shapes:

  • Geometric shapes are the most known shapes. Circles, squares, triangles, diamonds are geometric and regular. This regularity suggests organization, efficiency and structure.
  • Natural/Organic shapes are irregular. They have more curves and for this reason they tend to be pleasing and comforting.  They are asymmetrical and transmit feelings of spontaneity, they add interest and reinforce themes.
  • Abstract shapes have a recognizable form, but they are not real. They are stylized or simplified versions of organic shapes.  Icons, for example, are abstract shapes to represent ideas and concepts.


As you might have noticed the shape I prefer is the circle. I love they can transmit this sense of hospitality for who is inside but, at the same time, they can transmit the opposite if you are outside.


What are their different meanings?


Circles have no beginning or end.  They suggest completeness.

They are graceful and their curves are seen as feminine. Their movement suggests energy while their completeness suggests the infinite.

They protect and restrict at the same time: they offer safety.

Squares and rectangles are stable. They’re familiar and trusted shapes and suggest honesty. They have right angles and represent order, mathematics, rationality, and formality.

Triangles can be stable when sitting on their base or unstable when not. They represent dynamic tension, action, and aggression. Triangles have energy and power and their stable/unstable dynamic can suggest either conflict or steady strength.

Spirals are expressions of creativity.  Spirals move in either directions and represent returning to the same point on life’s journey.

In my “Project” (below) illustration I built the two characters around a single shapes, the heart. You might notice it (or not) but the message is transmitted also thanks to this simple shape.



Why do I use simple shapes?


I use simple shapes for my illustrations because they enable me to set a limit and push through it. It allows me to stylised my characters and be more relaxed with proportions or the “anatomy rules”.

Absurdly I feel freer and I enjoy more putting shapes limits because otherwise I would put too much attention on drawing the “right” proportions and anatomy. 


What shapes do you prefer?  Please, let me know in the comments!


How running influences my work

One time one of my running friends said:


Running: the greatest cause of positive attitude. 


It is completely true. Not only running of course, but it worked and it’s working for me.

Why did I start to run?

I started to run two years ago and since then I’ve never stopped. I was in a blue mood due to work: I didn’t have clear ideas on what to do and where to start. I was feeling the creative block since I finished my studies at the university.

When I started running I didn’t realise it would help my work too. At the beginning I was struggling A LOT but I kept going because I didn’t know any other sport I could do. After six month of running I started to get fitter and at the same time faster: I could see my progress! Yay!


My progression kept me going.


How did running influenced my work?

At the same time I started to have the same attitude in my illustration work: the only way to see your progression is to keep going and try to get better and better.

The key is: patience. It is hard to have it, right? At least it was for me…

Having said that, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel frustrated ever again. Blue mood and creative blocks are always around the corner but you can always go through them planning little goals during the week or month.


To build the miles in the long run you have to add two or one miles a week. The same happened with my work: if I wanted to be better I had to go out of my confort zone a little bit every time.



You might not have any interests to run and it’s ok. But I would suggest to find that activity that make you feel positive and stick with it. If you manage even to have a bunch of friends to share it, it’s a win!



Do you run? Do you do other activities that influence you and your work? Please, let me know in the comments!


The Dundonians project

For my first blog’s post I decided to share with you my process about my biggest project I’ve done this year: The Dundonians.

But first, I would like to explain why I’m starting a blog even though I’m not a very talkative person and I don’t feel I’m very good in writing.

Most of the time people see my already finished illustrations and/or project but they don’t know what process there is behind, how many sketches have been done, how many mistakes happened etc..


So the main reason is to share all these hidden aspects of my work and hopefully you will find some inspiration too.


I would like also to have YOUR feedbacks, YOUR comments.

I want know more YOU.


Now more then ever is possible break the “illustrator solitude” by creating a lot more contacts on the web.


 Why The Dundonians project? 

I choose to start the blog with The Dundonians project because it was my biggest and important project of this year.

Biggest because even if it happened from December 2016 to February 2017 I was already thinking about it one year before. Important because it allowed me to meet a lot of people and also challenge myself.

What was The Dundonians about?

The Dundonians was part of a collective exhibition (DCA Thomson) organized by DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts) and in partnership with DC Thomson for the 80th anniversary of two  comics, “The Broons” and “Our Wallie”.

The Dundonians was inspired by my previous works about families’ pictures and the comic The Broons.


I wanted to find a way to involve people and create their own family pictures and/or memories.


In line with this idea, I’ve developed it to create the Dundee family. I painted one mural representing my childhood living room. People could take their “family portraits” in front of it and create their memories. There was an hashtag which was #WeAreDundonians to easily collect all the photos through social platforms. On the weekend from the 25th the the 27th of November 2016 we put a call for everyone who wanted to have a chance to be chosen and be represented on painted portrait done with my personal style.

With family I didn’t mean only the canonical family (father, mother and children) but it could have been a group of students that share the same flat, a community of a small neighbour, a group people that work together and so on..


The process…

When I first went to the DC Thomson archive I’ve been amazed by the amount of people working on different comics all together, like a big family. They really seemed to care and help each other.

The DC Thomson has a lot of comics, they are really a huge family.

DCA Thomson exhibition2

When I was there a drawing of The Beano’s comic arrived from the original comic artist and the staff let me smell it. (you red right, SMELL IT)

The designer draws strips in a relly small room while smoking a pipe. Therefore, the paper a smoky aroma.

I also loved The Broons comic which represent a big and hilarious Scottish family, always described as the “Scotland’s happy family”.


From there I understood that my main idea would be about Family.


But how?


This was the hardest part. How I could represent the concept of Family?

These were my first ideas:


  • Social meals: as you probably know family use to get together during meals (huge meals if we are talking about Italians families) so the first idea was to recreate this occasion with all the people in Dundee. They could have a placematt with the layout of a comic strip and they could have drawn the comic of the event.  I called them Social meals but they already exist. An Italian association, called Basso Profilo, organise these type of events along different streets where everyone bring something. In this way you have a chance to meet your neighbourhood  and try different cooking styles. What a great way to meet people huh?
  • Home city home: the second idea was to decorate different objects around the street of Dundee and make them like  furniture of a house. The city would have become the big home of the Dundee’s family.

DCA Thomson exhibition3


I had a lot of other ideas but none of these were supposed to exhibit inside the DCA gallery, which was the main thing!

So I decided that the DCA would be the big house for the people of Dundee and I re-create a mural representing a living room where everyone could do their family pictures.

I loves doing project which involve people.

DCA Thomson exhibition5

This has been my process for The Dundonians project, what about you? How many ideas do you have before come up with THE ONE? Please let me know in the comments!