Today we get to chat with artist Daniela Giubellini, a great lady and friend of mine who hails from the land of Michelangelo and Da Vinci and creates fantastic, beautiful images of her own. She has designed the three gorgeous characters portraits of Romulus, Sabrina and Max for my Romulus Buckle novel series and we are planning on putting together a children’s book she will illustrate.
It won’t surprise you to learn that she has a number of other professional projects under way as well, and I feel extremely lucky that she takes the time to work with me. Let’s get to know Daniela Giubellini!
A: Hey there! I’m Daniela and… how do other people do interviews? I have to talk about me, right? Well, that scares me to hell! I’m one of those creatures that during the day hides in dark places and loves to draw. We are called illustrators. I guess we are very shy and fascinating creatures You surely have met some of them, though they show themselves mostly when the sun goes down.
What am I up to? Right now I’m making concept art for Studio Croma, a stop motion studio in Bologna and I’m teaching Photoshop and digital painting in a high school to other little creatures called “illustrators’ cubs”.
Q: I love the idea of ‘illustrators’ cubs!’ You designed and created the character portraits of the three main characters from my Romulus Buckle novels: they have a fabulous look—could you tell us a little about your technique and process involved? Is there a specific name for this style of art?
A: I don’t use a technique in particular; I like to experiment a lot! It also depends on what inspired me and on what I’m working on. Right now I like to work with forms and silhouettes, with a sort of gummy taste on the images. But I usually use the gray scale technique (the one where you paint everything in gray scale and slowly add colors later, it works fine for me!)
A piece of advice? Never think that finding perfection in the technique is more important that the passion you can put in your work.The truth is that what you need most are love and passion. I’ve seen professional artists who mastered the technique giving life to soulless perfection, and guys who had barely touched a pencil before showing me images that I’ll never forget.
Wow, sorry, that sounded cheap! But yeah, then again: if you want to work, of course you need the technique, but heart is what makes you different from the others (says a young woman that sounds like someone who wants to be a Disney princess!)
A: I believe that there’s always a boundary between the character and the creator.
I try to understand what it is, and then I show that with my image . . . well, I try. And usually there’s always so little time to know all about the character you’re about to work on. It’s important to me that the character’s owner sees his own character and not a generic book-cover-shot. Every character has a soul and a story, I just want to make the viewer to feel it.
Q: For readers who don’t know you, can we see some other examples of your art and some of the many other projects you’ve done? Can you tell us a bit about the atmosphere or effect you wanted to create with each image? (Pick a few of your favorites here)
A: Argh! My most recent work is covered by contract, so I can’t show you!
Well, I really like these two from The Circus of Namtas (one of my projects that is waiting for me to finish it). Those are kinda old images, despite the fact that I’ve never published one of those. There are plenty of images I’ve never found the right moment to show . . . I should do it one time.
I’ve done this one (below) for Laura Fornasari, a dear friend of mine, for the cover of her book Tears of Ishtar. I chose it because it’s one of the few pieces which I actually have something more I want to say about it. Laura has always been incredible in writing good action and characters you care about, so I wanted to show that on the cover of her book.
I wanted to show two of the main characters in a tense situation, so the viewer is led to wonder what is happening to them, or who they are, what have they done. Why is there a fire behind their back? Why one of them is green? Is it in the book or . . . well, you get the point. In general, I want to give the viewer something to fantasize about.
And this is my favorite. I will leave you to wonder about this one.
A: I really like Boris Pelcer, Wesley Burt, Joao Ruas and James Jean. Also Zdzislaw Beksinski and HR Giger inspired me a lot.
But actually i’d say movies and Directors influence me the most. I love Tarkowsky’s locations and atmosphere, and Hitchcock for lights and shots. Also David Lynch for mind-fuck moments (and furniture!) and Lars Von Triers for aesthetic.
Also music is a big inspiration for me. When I feel out of ideas, I have a list of songs that put me in the mood. And one thing that never fails to cheer me up is Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim, with a dancing Christopher Walken–it is the most epic thing I can imagine.
A: Don’t know right now, but I have a couple of ideas, and also something that I hope that turns out really well for me and the people I’m working with.
Q: Ah the secret project! Good luck with it! You recently traveled to the United States. What was your favorite location you visited?
A: Argh, that’s also a tough question! I had a road trip with two dear friends. We took a car and we traveled across New England and Vermont. We also visited Chicago and I found the view of the skyscrapers mesmerizing. The food is crazy in every sense.
Chicago is awesome, wonderful experience.
One day in Vermont we decided to reach our destination without the car, just to breathe fresh air and see some wildlife. After 4 hours of walking under the sun on a congested road we… we started to think that that wasn’t a great idea after all. We looked at the map we took at the souvenir shop just to find out that the distances were wrong and that we still had three more hours of walking to reach . . . the History of Maple Syrup Museum? We went back to town and spent the rest of the day eating waffles.
We saw a cow giving birth on the side of the road–doh!
Q: Lol! Well, I have to tell you, the long distances, congested roads, getting lost, cows and stuffing one’s self with waffles are all important parts of the American experience! And now, a few offbeat questions to showcase your wonderful Italian personality. First, what is your favorite restaurant and your favorite dish there?
A: Ah ah, all my favorite dishes are exotic, like sushi and chicken with curry. That’s not so Italian from me! Anyway if you want to check two typical dishes from where I’m from, you can try “Cappelletti parmigiani” (stuffed pasta) and “Torta d’erbi” (herbal cake).
A: Ah ah, it’s The Visit question! (Yeah, I watch Shyamalan, shame on me, but I’ve become a big horror fan thanks to him). Anyway I love this question! Let me think…
I usually think that bees and ants are the best, and that cockroaches will conquer the earth… but I never wanted to be one of a million, and nobody wants to be a cockroach obviously… Pokemon is not a valid answer I guess . . . an owl. I’d be an owl.
A: I’m always torn between being poetic or silly as fuck. But life is ironic so, I’m gonna go with this completely out of contest one:
Dani: Thanks to you Richard!
ARTIST BIO: DANIELA GIUBELLINI