I have just received my copies of Olga di Carta#2 – Jum Fatto di Buio, published in Italy by Salani and written by Elisabetta Gnone, and full of my papercut illustrations.
“Olga is a little girl as thin as a leaf, she takes short breaths and her existence makes very little sound apart from a slight rustling, like a page of a book ruffled by the breeze. She has a special gift: she tells incredible stories.”
Olga lives with her grandmother and her dog in Balicò, a small town covered in snow that lies by a wood and is crossed by a river; she crafts beautiful stories for her friends in the village and people are so fascinated by her words that they hide in the bushes and listen to her.
I loved working on the first book, so I was very excited when i was asked by Elisabetta Gnone to create 30 black and white papercut illustrations to complement the text in the second volume of the series.
All illustrations started from sketches that developed with continuous adjustments and erasures into the final drawings.
The final images, traced on a thin sheet of white paper, were taped on black card and carefully cut using a sharp blade.
I was lucky enough to have a little assistant during all the stages of the creative process:
One of the images I loved most doing is the map of the village: houses, trees and other elements are fluidly arranged on the streets, so that readers are encouraged to turn the book in their hands in order to see all details. The cutting took two days and these are some images taken during the session:
And here are some pictures of the final piece:
Some of the main characters that interact with Olga are presented at the beginning of the book with a papercut illustration. My design takes inspiration by the 19th century technique of silhouette portraits: the characters are described by simple lines, enriched by decorations and defined by their clothing and favourite objects.
I loved to see them emerging from the paper as I cut the material away.
The original papercuts flew from London to Italy where they have been photographed and prepared for the print. They came back to London as grown up illustrations inside the book and made me very proud.
I kept the cut out sketches, that I organized into a group picture to remember another intense, enriching and challenging creative process.