The Blackbird has landed

I am very proud to present a fresh-off-the-spoon hand-printed edition of my new children’s book: “Un merlo a Milano” (A blackbird in Milano).

The project started years ago, when Serena Piazza, a Milano-based Italian writer, asked me to illustrate one of her short stories. We did not have deadlines or pressures, and this was probably the reason why it took us years to finish the project!

Since then, the book has developed through experimentation, trials and errors to the mature work I am showing today.

The book tells the story of the Mayor of Milano: a middle aged, naïf character with a sleeping disorder and the passion for good food, that suddenly discovers the beauty of urban wildlife thanks to the whistle of a blackbird.

The first illustration created for the book

Experimenting with silhouette illustrations

Researching pop up structures

During the years of its incubation, I have approached the project experimenting a variety of techniques: from cut paper to pop ups, to digital drawings and linocut, to finally creating a series of 13 images made of two layers of linocut illustrations, partly cut to reveal the underlying image and to create three-dimensional scenes.

A pencil sketch ready to be transformed into a linocut

Superimposing preparatory images to study the result

One final illustration on three levels

The incredibly satisfying act of linocutting

The linocut plates made for the small illustrations within the text pages

In total, I made 34 linocut engravings

Here are images of the final book, that is now looking for a publisher wishing to present it to a wider audience:

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