Annar and the Moose is a project that started almost one year ago as an occasion for a collaboration with Sebastiano Longaretti (www.sebastianolongaretti.com), an italian artist I shared the studies with at the faculty of Architecture in Milano ages ago.
He had a story and some drawings in mind and I wanted to be engaged in an experimental book structure. I started getting the very first sketches of the main character (based on a real child) and the actions he was going to perform. The story narrates of a oneiric trip of a toddler inside a laundry basket.
The collaborative dynamic has been spotless: Sebastiano’s drawings kept evolving following the needs of the book structure, and the design was moulding around the sketches I was sent. I started building the first miniatures of the structure I intended to use and to send the first specific requests to the illustrator: the narrative was growing with and for the book.
I wanted the structure to be as engaging as a jump into laundry basket.
Few years ago I bought a fantastic pop up book about Alice in Wonderland published by Orchard books and illustrated by Otto Seibold. In this powerful artwork the dream-like feeling of the narrative is enhanced by a bold use of distorted perspective and 3-D structure. Taking inspiration from this, I started elaborating the 2-D images and destructuring them into three levels.
We then decided to add a trick, a hide-and-seek game that I was so much fascinating from when I was a child.
I am nostalgically attached to Richard Scarry’s works: when I was around three or four years old, the most exciting activity I remember about reading his precious books was to scan carefully the pages in order to find the hidden character, Zigo Zago was its name in Italian, that was performing some weird action on the side of the main scene. That was an absorbing reading experience that demanded a strong concentration and created a powerful connection between me and the objects I was holding.
In Annar, the snake of my childhood has become a spider, always present somewhere in each of the 13 scenes, commenting what is happening, enjoying being where he is, suggesting a key to the reading.
Annar is still a work in progress: the main character has been recently modified (he has a lot of hair, a cool style and a passion for Star Wars now) and at the moment we are working on understanding if a text and the use of color would add quality to the artwork or if instead they would weaken a design that we intend to be pure and silent.
To see some images of the work (before the recent restyling), here you have the direct link