Of fairy tales and artwork. Part two!

I wouldn't never supposed my previous entry could provoke so many comments and so different opinions about the same argument, I mean: my illustrations are not suitable for young readers...or to make it clear, my style is too gloomy to illustrate a book for children.

I understand we could discuss this matter for days, without finding the best solution to it! It's also a question about what you like and what you dislike. Personal tastes, you know?
What I say now it's what comes from my personal experience, and it means that my opinion is not a unquestionable truth. And I'm often ironical in what I write ...

Let's start with: geography!
I'm Italian and I live in Italy. What I write and I what I post to 'Angels and Insects' often refers to the Italian/European situation. I need to say that because about the 70% of people who follow this blog are not Italian and most important, are not European. Publishing conditions/circumstances might differ in Europe if compared to the ones you can find in US or Australia or Far East countries. I don't mean they are worse or better, I mean they're VERY different sometimes. There're marked differences inside Europe as well. For example, the same book can be a best-seller in France and a complete fiasco in Italy. Education system  also varies widely from country to country. An art editor who lives and works in UK could have a completely different cultural and scholastic background than an art editor who lives and works in Italy and obviously different opinions on the same art matter. The plot thickens!
I apologize for this boring introduction, but I would like to clarify why I'm used to post very discouraging entries sometimes ... not often, luckily! I hate complaining and whining ^_^ but you know, it happens that you feel a little bit disappointed! Anyhow, I understand some of my entries might seem completely out of place if you can't refer to their causes. I'm sorry if my writing was muddled.

To get back to the subject, people who live in Italy commented on my previous post by saying:"You're right!", people who don't live in Europe said:"You're wrong!" ^_^
It's not so clear and definite of course, you can find good dark books for children in Italy too but often the situation is the one I mentioned before.
I should add that in the past one of the [kind] refusal I got, came from a French author who underlined how my style was gloomy ^_^ Others came from art editors that I suppose they are all professional in their approach to the problem. They love what I do but all stress the fact I should be more colorful and brighter if I want to illustrate books for children.
I repeat, finally it's also a matter of what you like and what you don't like, but I think that your cultural background or simply what is cool and what is not in the art market now might affect the opinion of an art editor or an author. It's not a criticism, just a reflection.

That said, I never give up, of course! First because I need to improve a lot, both technically and artistically then because I believe in what I do and I enjoy illustration!

At last, thank you again for your comments and support, you're GREAT!...hmmm, I should make another Fan Appreciation Giveaway, probably ... ^_-


  1. Oh nati I hope I didn't say anything that upset you in any way...
    It honestly boggled my mind, because where I live (australia) we have brighter children's books for younger readers, but we also have a LOT of darker books for children. If you think about it, even Harry Potter is quite dark, as are other popular books like Lemony Snicket's "A series of Unfortunate Events", Tony DiTerlizzi's "Spiderwick Chronicles"....

    well, if Italian Children don't like gloomy illustrations... perhaps you should contact a few overseas ones? In England, Us, or Aus.... just a thought :-)

    Seems like the English-speaking countries like a little bit of gloom :-)

    Big hugs, you are so incredibly talented, it's just a matter of finding the right market, or the perfect publishing company.

    I had one professional children's book illustrator tell me that she tried to get a book published for three years before someone finally published it for her, and then it became a bestseller!!

  2. Monika, you don't need to apologize! Mine was a general post as addition to the previous one. And I tried to explain my experience as illustrator and why I couldn't illustrate book for children. Just a little bit of experience of course ^_^

    I think that in UK or US things actually are quite different from Italy, but in Italy the publishing trade situation is tragic 'a priori' ^_^ If I posted an entry about that, you couldn't imagine how many comments I could get in just few hours!

    I understand the opinion of some authors or editors. It depends on what you're looking for. My style might be wonderful for some of them, very ugly for others, it's an understandable point of view. I don't agree with people who just have this 'dreamy and bright' idea of childhood ^_^

    Thank you again for your lovely comment!

  3. Ecco una serie di riflessioni anche un po' scollegate tra loro....

    Sono d'accordo con Monika (Hi Mayple, I agree with you ;)!). L'Italia e' particolare per molti versi, ma tutto sommato e' un mercato molto piccolo...la globalizzazione servira' bene a qualcosa! ;)

    Poi pensavo, al limite, sei sicura che questo libro non potrebbe essere pubblicato per adulti o teenagers: alla fin fine mi sembra che il fantasy sia parecchio popolare (di nuovo, all'estero, piu' che in Italia)...un sacco di lettori di Harry Potter, per riprendere l'esempio di Monika, sono adulti...io lo comprerei, bambini o non bambini!

    Infine, i gusti sono anche determinati da cio' che e' disponibile...prima o poi potresti incontrere un editore coraggioso che rompe con gli schemi e lancia un nuovo genere di libri illustrati per i piccoli...e forse le cose cambieranno...

    Un abbraccio.

  4. Se devo essere sincera - e in questo puoi capirmi benissimo - ho sempre guardato piu' all'estero che all'Italia. Lo conferma il fatto che il blog e' scritto nel mio pessimo inglese ^_^ Chi e' italiano e per motivi di studio o lavoro si e' mosso all'estero sa fin troppo bene a cosa mi riferisco. Non entro nel dettaglio senno' ci deprimiamo tutti!
    In realta', per tornare al discorso illustrazione, sono io che mi faccio paranoie incredibili. Mi rendo conto che non bisognerebbe mai fermarsi al giudizio di 2/3 persone, anche se sono dell'ambiente. Oltretutto subentra sempre il fattore 'gusto' pero'...certi giudizi a volte ti bloccano, anche se non dovrebbe essere cosi'! Ma ultimamente ci sono stati alcuni episodi che mi hanno dato l'occasione per rimettere tutto in gioco, soprattutto l'aspetto artistico della mia vita ^_^
    Grazie ancora dei bellissimi complimenti, anche nel post precedente!

  5. You know, I'm just catching up on the comments here and I feel I understand your position perfectly (which probably isn't surprising, since you have the exact kind of "voice" for fairy tales that I find appealing).

    It is fairly common for people to think fairy tales are for children and they are light-hearted and have happy endings ... this isn't necessarily a bad thing - people enjoy those kinds of stories, as well, and that's fine. That said, I would venture to say a lot of people (not all, and I would say certainly not the readership of this site or followers of your work) are not familiar with the darker origins of many fairy tales. For me, the "dark past" of fairy tales is where my interest lies - there are stories that are the progenitor of well-known favourites today that no one would even be aware of. Who would know that Sole, Luna, e Talia is Sleeping Beauty and the "prince" of the story actually rapes beauty, as it were?

    This is not to say there are not dark tales told for children today, but I guess my point is the older fairy tales I am familiar with and enjoy are not really for children, at all, and I don't feel like when I try to write stories in a similar setting or re-tell one of them that I need to write them for a younger audience.