Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Behind the scenes of the Curious Sameer series

The Curious Sameer series is one of Karadi Tales’ most popular series and features a little boy with a thirst for adventure, a strong bond with his ever-patient mother and an active imagination. We interview Francesco Manetti, the multi-talented illustrator of the four books in the Sameer series. He tells us about what inspires him, his creative process and his deep connection with Karadi Tales. 

Our Curious Sameer series is available at 40% off until July 31, 2017 - http://karaditales.com/catalogue/july/curious-sameer-series-july-combo-offer/

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Karadi Tales: What made you take on the project with an Indian publisher?
Francesco Manetti: Karadi Tales was the first publisher that placed their trust in me as an illustrator. I sent my portfolio without knowing what would happen, and after a few days, I received my official job proposal for a collaboration with a publisher. It has been so exciting and great, and I will always be grateful to Karadi Tales for this chance.

KT: What was your inspiration for the illustrations in the Sameer series?

FM: The colours of nature, on a surreal/abstract and imaginary dimension. But of course, the stories I was working on gave me all the elements with which I built the scenarios, both at the emotional and at the fantasy level.

KT: Is the design of Sameer based on anyone you know?

FM: No, I created the features based on pictures and photos.

KT: How did you get into illustrating books for children?

FM: It all started during my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy. When I started in 2005, I was more focused on digital illustration and graphic design, but step by step, I started learning to draw and paint and I discovered how beautiful it is to create images by hand. Then I discovered how pictures can be put alongside words into a book. I also have a big love for colours, and during my studies, I had classes on illustrated books for children: that's the connection. I understood that my love for illustration, colours and composing/layout could be summed up in these magical and poetical art pieces that illustrated books for children are.

KT: What types of media did you use for the artwork?

FM: I have worked on wooden panels, on which I spread a base of white acrylic plaster, creating a sort of background ripple effect. Then, I translated the storyboard through acrylic painting colours and colour pencils. Finally, I made some interventions with the digital illustration software Photoshop, setting the pictures to the text layout requirements.


When do you find it easiest to work?

When I find the right inspiration, for example, after a visit to an art exposition, or after a walk in nature, or after a talk with a friend.

Your favourite children’s book?

“The man of water and his fountain” by Ivo Rosati and Gabriel Pacheco

One artist you admire?

Bruno Munari, a great Italian artist who was a great contributor to children’s publishing and to the science of education and communication.

Your favourite encounter with a fan?

I have never had an experience like this, but if one day this should happen, I would give the fan my complete attention and all the answers he or she is looking for.

If you could be a book character for a day who would it be?

I would be a horse that rides free in an infinite prairie, or a bear walking slowly in the woods or sleeping quietly in the morning sun.