Mittwoch, 17. September 2014

Personal project: CD cover for Band of Holy Joy

Everybody has some project that goes on over the years: mine is a series of CD covers I illustrate for (already existing) music albums.
I actually started this project in the days of music cassettes!!
My latest "creature" is a collage cover for the album "More tale from the city" by indie UK group Band of Holy Joy. The album is from the late 80's and is an hymn (both negative and positive) to the life in the big city. Poetry, weirdness, violence melt in this album, between violins, hypnotic keyboards, the rough whispers and sweet howling of the singer. In my younger days this album, like any other album from Band of Holy Joy, was an "insider view" of one of my favorite cities, London.

So, here is my CD cover for "New tales from the city" by Band of Holy Joy and a few pics of the work-in-progress. Hope you like it! :-)

please click on the picture to see it bigger
The inspiration came from the "Fall of the rebel angels" by Pieter Brugel, where creatures from hell and heaven battle. The good mixed with the bad. I "selected" a central figure, an angel wielding a sword: beautiful and awful at the same time.

Brugel's "Fall of rebel angels"

I took away the colors from the picture and got it black and white. I then drew an abstract colored shape and added it to the picture, to put something slightly out of context that would stand out in the composition.

mysterious shape

The writing is hand written in black ink and then colored and mounted on the cover with photoshop.  


Elaboration in photoshop

For more of my CD covers personal project have a look at the illustration-portfolio section of the blog and for learning more about the music of Band Of Holy Joy check out their website:

PS I also made a psychedelic version of it...

Psychedelic...or maybe too much coffee...

Mittwoch, 14. Mai 2014

Who's your candidate?

In 10 days European citizen will be voting for the EU parlament.
Are you still undecided for who should you vote for? I was, until yesterday when, going out for a foto-safari, I saw these posters...It is a clever advertisement campaign for "X-men, days of the future past" that uses a series of mock political posters.

Who knows if this campaign is the same in all Europe...but now I know who will get my vote on the 25th. of May...and you?

"Alle sind gleich-We are all the same"

Charming and idealist mind reader: Prof. Xavier
Behaving bad for a good cause: Wolverine

More than only a change of the wardrobe: Mystica
Dangerously handsome: Magneto 

Mittwoch, 30. April 2014

My archeology: How to make a video out of paper

When I think of it, it almost make me laugh...there was a time in which Cameras were expensive tools that only professionals could afford to have...those days are gone and nowadays technology is allowing us to do almost any thing, any time: filming a music video, for example, it can be shoot NOW! even with only a phone-camera.

Back in the 90's  I was already interested in making videos and movies, I wanted to work with a real moviola and despite the lack of tools I managed to shoot my first music video...on paper!!

One of my favourite tunes at that time was "Ventoline Blues", from the French-American indie group "Passion Fodder" and I wanted to shoot a video for it: the song is the lament of a asthmatic guy, in a blues-country key. I wrote a (quite surreal) story,  where the Passion Fodder group members were to "play".
I drew the story like a mute comic. The images were cut and pasted on an extra super long strip of paper, after making sure that the sequence matched words and music.

To "watch" the video, one must listen to the song and at the same time drag the strip of paper following the action and the lyrics. Another way it would be of hanging the strip on the wall and walking along it but I admit it would be a bit uncomfortable, though interesting!

Here I show you a couple of pictures of my very primitive but funny way to "shoot" a video :-)
(Click on the images to see them bigger)

The paper video (Closed)

The paper video (open)

Psychedelic beginning

Woke up this morning...
Drama (and a bit of explanation)

more drama...

more more drama...

The End
And now ...let's rewind the film...

 The style I used for these drawings was a simple soft pencil on white paper, to give the drawings a kind of "raw" style. Though the song sounds very tragic, I could not help adding a surreal, comic ending...that is my trademark, I suppose.

Passion Fodder already split up at the beginning of the 90's but their front man, Theo Hakola, is still very active in music. If you want to know more about him, here is his website:

Dienstag, 1. April 2014

Illustrations for the book "Das mehrsprachige Klassenzimmer"

 I am terribly proud to write this post today: a year ago I worked for the ZAS (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, or Center for Languages Science in Berlin) and drew a series of comic illustrations for the book, "Das mehrsprachige Klassenzimmer". The book is an interesting guide for teachers of German schools whose students have a different another mother tongue than German.

The illustrations are in black and white and make fun of the peculiarities of different languages.
Finding puns that could work in any language and translate them in images was the most challenging part of the assignment.

I am very happy with the result and since the book was finally published a few days ago, I can finally post a few images of it! :-) (Click on the images to see them bigger).

For more information about the book and ZAS-Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft:

The Book!! With the invitation to the official presentation
A polyglot class!

complicated Turkish table
Greek cartoon on page

Greek Cartoon original

and Hindi!

Mittwoch, 19. März 2014

Still work in progress

Lately I have been working on some projects that should finally be ready in a few weeks.
Today I suddenly realize that I totally forgot (or rather MONSTROUSLY PROCRASTINATED) to complete the following two illustrations! They are actually waiting since last year to come to an end! :-(

I hope that posting the pictures, it will remind me to finish them as soon as possible (please click on  the images to see them bigger).

The Mongolian Rabbit, is a watercolor illustration based on an exercise I made for an illustration course: an experiment in humanizing an animal and putting it in a particular environment.

A pretty big drawing indeed...
will I ever finish it?

Year of the snake- I totally missed my deadline for the 2013 Chinese Year of the golden Snake! To find an original idea took me ages, now it is half way: a mosaic mixed with collage. I am pretty happy with the effect but really, mosaic is a labor of love.

Year of the snake...last year...

No...I am not finished yet...

Will I ever finish them? stay tuned people! And have faith...!

Sonntag, 2. März 2014

Illustration in Berlin!

Wow, it took me very long to write a new post! But now I am back on the tracks! My first post of the year is dedicated to illustration and two pieces of news that you might find interesting.

The Berlin IIC (Italian Institute of Culture) shows the work of Lorenzo Mattotti, Emiliano Ponzi and Michael Meier, three illustrators who worked on the theme of  "Dante's Inferno", in the exhibition

"Inferno. Zur Dante-Rezeption in Illustrationen, Graphic Novel und Neuen Medien"
(Inferno, Dante in illustrations, graphic novels and new media).
Illustration by Lorenzo Mattotti
The Exhibition is open until the 21st of March.
I must admit I am familiar only with the work of Lorenzo Mattotti, a legend for all illustrators and
comic cartoonist. I started appreciating his work during the 80's, as I studied myself as cartoonist.
I am very curious to see his work but maybe I am even more curious to see the works of his colleagues...because I don't know them.

You can find more information on the website of IIC (unfortunately only in italian and german)

And after watching illustration" let's talk about "drawing illustration": if you live in Berlin and if you are interested in refining your skills or learning how to illustrate with Photoshop and Illustrator, I suggest you to try this course:

Digital Illustration course with Rafa Alvarez, ESDIP-Berlin
from 12th March to 14th April 

Illustration by Rafa Alvarez
The course is taught by the internationally acclaimed illustrator Rafa Alvarez.
I took part to the last November session of the course and I really enjoyed it, that's why suggest it to you.
The course (taught in English) takes the students through the secrets of layers, color palettes, textures, etc etc. and gives, all the tools one needs to find his/her way in digital illustration. A thing that I particularly appreciated was the feedback sessions, where the teacher and all the students correct and make suggestions on everybody's homeworks.
Moreover, Rafa Alvarez has also a good sense of humor, which makes learning much easier.
More information on the ESDIP website: