Muse Journal

Illustrator Spotlight Series: Meet Silvana Di Marcello

Continuing this month’s Illustrator Spotlight Series, we’d like to bring attention to Silvana Di Marcello, illustrator for What If No One Hears Me? Originally from Legnano, Milan, Di Marcello works and resides in Maerne, Italy. Since publishing her first illustrated book in 2006, Di Marcello has illustrated numerous works for Italian, English, German, and American publishing houses. But, the notable illustrator, whose works have been selected for exhibitions, competitions, and awards, didn’t approach the world of illustration right away; Di Marcello is a law graduate. However, having always loved drawing, Di Marcello uses various techniques–acrylic, gouache, watercolor, colored pencils, markers–to create artistic pieces that she enjoys sharing with a multitude of communities.

In conversation with Young Authors Publishing Assistant Editor, Brooke Shannon, Di Marcello shared her source of inspiration, her favorite scenes from What If No One Hears Me?, and how she maintains her artistic style.

Brooke Shannon: How do you get inspired to produce a piece of artwork?

Silvana Di Marcello: I take inspiration from everyday life. When I'm walking on the street or in shops/hangouts, I like to observe people and take ideas from their way of dressing, their way of posturing, their expressions. Great sources of inspiration are cinema and TV series. Aside from historical settings, I often find ideas from interesting shots and points of view. I am also inspired by the history of art, especially for the use of color. I love Italian Renaissance painters and Flemish painters. And of course I "steal ideas" from my favorite illustrators.

BS: What was your favorite part of working with Young Authors Publishing & why?

SDM: It was very nice to illustrate a story written by a young author. The story I illustrated was full of interesting ideas, so funny, and full of plot twists. At the same time, the story made readers reflect on our attitude towards others… many times too superficial. I think it is important that this teaching came from a young woman.

The image that gave me the most satisfaction was that of the market. I was able to insert various characters and create short stories within the same image. Of course, I enjoyed illustrating the wood frog and the main character in various situations and attitudes.


BS: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists?

SDM: It is important to be recognizable, to find your own style, and always try to respect it. That’s why you have to work hard and practice almost every day. It doesn't matter if you don’t get good results; it's also nice to experiment, make mistakes, and try again. What appears to be a mistake can sometimes turn into a new idea.

Of course, the publisher's instructions must be respected, but it is equally important to give your own influence to the work you have been commissioned. Finding inspiration from other illustrators  is often useful, no matter if they are contemporary or from the past. As I have already said, classical painting represents great inspiration for me. I loved taking part in exhibitions and illustration contests, at the beginning. I really enjoy interpreting a story with my style and ideas and then realize how other artists have interpreted it. It helps to widen your point of view.


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