A Word From Our Illustrator: Maria Vocaturo

When my friend Rosetta Bea asked me to do some drawings for a scrap-book, I certainly didn't expect to see those drawings published in a real book one day.

I have been asked what my process is like, from the initial ideas to the final illustration.

The inspiration for Bambu came from Rosetta's teddy bear, Bobby.

After a few trial sketches, we picked the look of our Bambu and I started drawing.

To start with, I used the few materials I had already at home, mainly watercolour pencils and black ink.

When, a few months later, we made the decision to turn all this into a proper book and get it published, I had to start learning from scratch how to use digital software to make my drawings look professional and to put together a book to send to printers.

I thought at first that digital painting was the way to go to achieve that "clean", professional look we needed. So I got myself a graphic tablet and started playing with it.

For most of the illustrations in "The Surprise", I made sketches on paper which I then scanned and coloured digitally, with the exception of the front cover, for which I used a watercolour background.

Using traditional media for the front cover made me realise how much I missed messing around with paint, and how much I liked that unique texture that only real paint and paintbrushes can give.

That is why I decided to revise my style, and for our second book I have been experimenting with a mix of digital and traditional media.

My favourite materials are watercolour and gouache paint. I find gouache especially very versatile, and I love the textures it creates.

My style is quite different now from when I started, and it keeps changing and evolving.

I still have a lot to learn and a lot to practice for sure, and I cannot wait to share my progress with you all!

I have already started working on the third of Bambu's adventures. Spoiler alert: it's about a circus!

If you would like to keep up with this and all my other projects, follow me on Instagram and visit my website. Hope to see you there ;)

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