This afternoon I felt I was back in my childhood room, meeting creative Illustrator Evelyn Daviddi in her studio. She’s a regular contributor to Bologna’s Book Fair for Children and exhibits in art galleries. As at #intfe INTERNATIONALE FESTIVAL there are events for children that I won’t be able to attend, this interview happens to be just perfect for this October.
S.G. You are an Illustrator since infancy and you draw for childhood. What inspires your work?
E.D. Surely, my characters are inspired by myself physically, and the beloved ones around me, as my children. Inspiration is depending on the stories for each project, because usually I work on Commission, and so I have stories that are offered to me and if I like them I decide whether or not to draw them, but they are almost never my stories. I have some projects in my drawer but I have not yet had the opportunity to illustrate them concretely. My latest project at the Dark room gallery has allowed me to express myself, because I was free to express the sentiment of love (theme) according to my background.
S.G. Since you have participated in events such as festivals or fairs dedicated to children illustration, what do you think of Illustration, do you believe that they have an important role in terms of creativity or they are a purely commercial-style events?
E.D. I can refer to the Book Fair in Bologna, which is very important in the career of an Illustrator. The first time I knew I could participate I really had the feeling of being able to make this work. And it remains for many the milestone, because for me, soon after came the first book. It is thanks to this fair in particular that I and other illustrators can do this work, because it is the most important showcase on the world of illustration for children. There is a commercial aspect because it is the most important exhibition of illustration for children and there are editors from all around the world, but the exhibit of illustrators of Bologna very important. Illustrators can be known from the artistic and creative point of view. It is both a fair and a very prestigious exhibition, and the intention of all the illustrators is to be able to get into it sooner or later. It is more important the fair in Bologna than Frankfurt because it is specialized on children.
S.G. You have participated in events such as festivals or exhibited in galleries. What do you look for in your work ?
E.D. With my pictures I always try to convey. I won’t ever make too explicit pictures, I always like to leave to those who watch free interpretation. I like puns and then I like that everyone can see what he/she wants. At least that’s what I try to do, even if it doesn’t always seem. There is always something behind the image visible or not visible.
S.G. As Professor of illustration at Comics of Reggio Emilia, what do you want to convey to your students? What is the most important message for their professional growth in your opinion?
E.D. What I try to convey to guys is the idea to remain themselves. Find your own way, beyond trends and even beyond the easy commercial work. Leave your footprint, the hardest thing in a world of overexposure. The biggest difficulty for an Illustrator is to be able to stand out. I always say to leave a detail, or a form that is always in the pictures, only by them. Is what will allow you to be recognized among the others and say something. I think I have a pretty recognisable style, but I grow, without settling for repetition. This is the other important side, find their expression in growth. The evolution is essential or they’ll get bored first before boring the audience.
S.G. what are the stories you dream about?
E.D. There is a story for children with different levels of reading that I wrote but that I haven’t proposed to any Publisher because I did not have time to draw it properly. For now I hope I can continue like this, and that occasions like the recent exhibition at the Dark room will open possibilities for cooperation with art galleries. This was the first experience and I liked it a lot. I hope to continue teaching and creating booksfor children. I’m already working abroad and for a few selected Italian publishers, so I hope that will increase more and more.
Evelyn Daviddi was born in 1973 in Carpi, Modena, Italy. When she was a child she loved drawing for her friends. She grew up with Rodari’s books, Richard Scarry’s illustrations and Luzzati’s books. At seven years old she decided that, once grown up she would work as a painter. After Graduating at the IED in Milan, she became a childwood Illustrator and started projects in Italy, Spain, and South America.
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