Gaia Petra Sana because the illustrated cloud can also turn into a crocodile.

lmeet during a walk among the stands Alzano Lombardo factory marketwhile I try to make room in my canvas bag, already full of purchases. Gaia has big blue eyes, maybe a little scared when I look at her for the first time. This gives me an idea that it is easier for me to draw than to present my creations to the public. Illustrated booklets stand out on his stand, Porta San Giacomo drawn on a postcard, a poster folded in four and tied with thread, dedicated to the ten little birds of Italy. I ask Gaia to sell me a poster and leave me a phone number.

And so this story was born, with a call and an invitation to the Upper City. Gaia Petra SanaThe 27-year-old artist has set up her illustrator studio in the apartment she lives in, a beautiful building overlooking Faro. The smell of wood mingles with the smell of ink as I climb the spiral staircase and browse through the countless books on the shelves, the tin containers overflowing with brushes, pencils, colored markers.

“Pendolando” between one illustration and another

A cup of sweet coffee is on the table, the sketchbook is open. Gaia speaks slowly as I ask her to start over. “I’ve always had passion for drawing, back in high school she always drew posters for events – classmates said “Gaia is here, she will take care of it!”. Even the choice of Manzù art high school in Bergamo was a natural choice.”. If the road to the world of art has already been paved, then for illustration the path has yet to be traveled. “I decided to visit Brera Academy, with a picturesque address, the same one I followed the artistic one. I experimented a lot with painting, although I felt that this was not exactly what I wanted to do. I still love to draw, but that’s not all … also because Brera is very free: I was a little lost..

Gaia Petra Sana

(Photo by Marialuiz Miraglia)

In 2018, Gaia discovers that Macerata there is a school Art in play, which organizes an illustration course for beginners. Six months, one weekend per month. “I was still studying at Brera, but I said to myself: “I’m leaving.” I remember riding the train it took me about 8 hours… I left on Thursday, we studied on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. At the direction of the teachers, we could create a real illustrated book, every month a new illustrator of the modern scene arrived. Then there are many bookstores in Macerata with a large selection of books… and not counting how many students came from all over Italy!”.

(Photo by Gaia Petra San)

After the course is completed and the calling to the “world of sketches” is done, Gaia enters MiMaster from Milana six-month master’s degree in editorial illustration. “It was wonderful. Every week the problem to be faced changed, as did the drawing being created: we concentrated on the world of the game book, next time on an illustration for a news article. I also tried digital painting, but kept the manual part for the outlines: I drew the character, the scene in pencil, then scanned and colored everything digitally..

Stories of ten little birds

It’s time to take stock. To understand in the world of drawing which direction to choose. The items are already there: landscapes, nature and above all animals. Gaia was born in Treviglio but grew up in Pontida, “in a house near Monte Canto, in the countryside.”

She opens an Instagram page, which she needs not only to make herself known, but also to give first form for projects in progress and a dot for those left unfinished. “The most beautiful project that I have done and that satisfies me the most was the booklet dedicated to “Ten Little Birds of Italy”, from which the poster was also born. It came a little by itself: at the beginning of the year I wanted to do something on Instagram, so every weekend I posted drawings of a sparrow, a great tit, another bird, with appropriate explanations about how big it is, what it eats, what it does. After ten weeks, I said to myself: “I have a lot of stories and information, why not make a small book out of it?”. So I did. First the English version – don’t ask me why – then the Italian version. I included it in my portfolio, sent it to Edizioni El and they answered: “Do you want to make a book with us?”

Wrong … ships are being created

“Club of the highest taste” this is the first illustrated children’s book published by Gaia. Story Gianni Rodariamong the most famous of the collection “Tales on the phone“. I remember the words, Gaia shows me images – on a book just out of print (we are talking about October 2021), and on storyboardwhich collects the first efforts.

“I was almost given carte blanche: ‘You do this without necessarily imagining what the story says’, so I took the ball and I drew animals, even if they are not in history. I made these clouds a little amberjack and then I said, “But it looks like the silhouette of a crocodile!”. IS AN unpredictability adjust Gaia Design, a drawing that is born while an illustrator makes itwithout a real circuit in mind.

Illustration of Gaia by Peter Sana

Between the pages and tables that Gaia shows me, I don’t see pencil sketches. There are many colors, especially dark ones. “My background as a painter has influenced me a lot because I have almost never painted with a pencil before. My approach is usually is to paint immediately, in watercolor. I think it’s best to use the imaging tool right away to represent the scene.”. When you make a mistake, with drawing there is no way to erase. “Actually, I’m not interested in making a mistake because I can redesign… or am I trying to interpret this error and have it become something else. Maybe the stain can become the door of the house… Even if I draw with a pencil, I try not to use rubber to understand where I made a mistake and what this mistake can turn into.”.

The example that my interlocutor gives me is taken from the Brif Bruf Braf page: “I drew something that I didn’t like, so I cut out a cloud from another piece of cardboard, glued it on, and then stuck a ship on it. So I put a “patch” on the part in which I made a mistake and i created this new section where they also put the text “.

Words, images, picture books

I wonder what it is, in a picture book, relationship between images and words. Words that I, as a journalist and reader, immediately look for when I pick up a volume. “Usually there is always a story behind it. The author creates the story and the illustrator then takes care of the images. In the case of Brif Bruf Braf, Gianni Rodari is the author and I illustrated the story… sometimes the opposite is true, although not as common. It often happens that an illustrator creates a book with his own illustrations and his own words..

Of course, Gaia knows how to judge a book by its cover. The problem is that in most bookstores books are arranged on the shelves in the same way as other books. You can see the spine, not the cover. Or maybe they are bound at the bottom, lost among the volumes for children, when there are many books telling fairy tales for adults. “Here in Bergamo there is Third World Space Seriatewhich is wonderful about books: every time I go there, I stay in hours!”.

L’illustration for children it is a dream that Gaia would like to turn into a real profession. He has a part-time job in the store, so for now he can only partially devote himself to drawing. “I am not so constant, disciplined, to draw every day. I would love to have a pattern, but I understand that I am made in a certain way… Of course, drawing is not something that calms, because when i draw, my mind works a lotas if she was always put to the test… on MiMaster, my friends called me “sourdough””.

There are many projects in development. Market, illustration fairs such as wow festival the first, in which Gaia participated as an illustrator, in the summer of 2020. And then a project of our own production, a set of images where theme is lines. And animals, of course. “I had the idea to look for all the striped animals. I use colored cards to which I apply the collage technique, because I found that I really like it.”

The last page has striped chameleon. Apparently not much, of course. If it is disguised in reality, then it must be disguised on paper.

Illustration of Gaia by Peter Sana

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