Viola Niccolai

22 September 2017
Author :  

Look Deeper!

• Tell us about you and when did you decide to be an illustrator?
I’m from Italy and I’m 30 years old. Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by drawings and when I was 18 I decided to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where I studied painting. Then, I moved to Bologna, where I studied illustration for other two years. This is where I decided to be an illustrator.

• Where does an idea come from and how does it transform from an idea into a book?
Ideas come from things around me, sometimes it’s something very close to me, sometimes it is something completely new , which means a very challenging and beautiful experience. Transforming ideas into a book is such a long process, and the most important thing to me is to preserve the freshness of the drawing during every steps of this process, from sketches to final illustrations. They have to work as single pictures, but they also have to tell a story and so, to be a part of a series of pictures.

• How do you decide what to include and what not to include in the book?
Time can help to decide clearly what to include or not in a book. It will help to see things in a different way, finding out if there are some mistakes in a picture, or if everything is fine (colors, light, shape, composition, atmosphere, message).

• What are some of the techniques or processes that you used in creating the artwork for the book?
I’m very interested in experimenting always new techniques in my work, which means to get different inputs, trying to discover how I can reach the point with different media: every story should be illustrated using the most suitable technique and this means you have to find it. Or at least, that you try to find it!

• Can you tell me a bit about your technique and the materials you use?
At the moment I use acrylics on paper or on wood, felt pens, pencils, ink.

• How do you find thinking about the book as a whole – the text, illustration, design – in comparison with illustrating someone else’s text?
For now I’ve only worked on illustrating someone else’s text. Thinking about the book as a whole maybe could be very demanding for me at the moment, as l still feel much more comfortable with the part of the illustration rather than the text. And equally I feel the same about the design.

• Who are some of the artists who have influenced your work?
Henry Darger, Ben Shahn, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Mario Giacomelli, Luigi Ghirri, Jockum Nordstrom, Mamma Anderson, Maira Kalman, Dominique Goblet, Joanna Concejo, Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Lee Kyutae and many others.

• What is your best piece of advice for young artists who are getting started as creators of children?
Try to study things always in a new, different way, trying to understand how they work. Try to look at things deeply, to see them in a different light, finding the imaginary everywhere around you.

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