... Iacopo Bruno on the Art of Illustrating and Ulysses Moore

Iacopo Bruno, 2007

... Iacopo Bruno on the Art of Illustrating and Ulysses Moore

Zur deutschen Version It's not all that easy to find out anything about Iacopo Bruno. There is hardly more to be found than his birthdate (1964) and the fact that he is working as an illustrator. Yet more often he is being mentioned in connection with all sorts of books.

The Italian is very successfully working as an illustrator for books and his works are of high recognition value. Incredibly fascinating are his works in the books on Ulysses Moore. They catch the eye immediately and accompany and unterline perfectly the charm of these books.

Via the editor Edizpiemme and its employee Maddalena Contini (Maddalena, mille grazie!) we got into contact with Iacopo Bruno bekommen and had the opportunity to have an interview with him by email.

With the little bit of Italien we are able to speak: "Ti sono molto grato, Signore Bruno."

Cover - Der Geist der BücherZauberspiegel: The books on Ulysses Moore wasn't the first time I came across your illustrations. There is a German book with the title "Geist der Bücher", which you also added illustrations to. Google offers a lot of books you made illustrations for when one searches for you. What makes the job of an illustrator for books appealing?
I. Bruno: I've worked in the publishing world for many years and since then more than 300 titles have been published with my bookcovers both in Italy and abroad, for adults and kids, but every time I have to illustrate a new title I feel really excited. I believe that the most fascinating thing is "penetrating" stories and tell them through images.

Zauberspiegel: How does the work of an illustrator work?
I. Bruno: As I've already told, I'm an illustrator completely dedicated to books, therefore I'm always in contact with editors who order me the illustrations.
Usually the editor calls me and tells me the story of the book I have to illustrate, he gives me a brief and the full text. He also gives me all the information about the book, that's to say the target (age, kind of reader, male, female etc), the bookbinding, the cover size and other information to help me.
Then, I realize one or more coloured sketches (very precise) to be shown to the editor.
Usually the people I work with trust in me and in my experience: I'm completely free to decide the subject, the image shot and very often I worked also on the lettering or on the series logo, as for Ulysses Moore and other series that probably aren't on the German market yet (for example Century, Criptoanimali...).

Zauberspiegel: It seems to me that illustrations are getting increasingly important for selling books. I think about books such as "Ulysses Moore", "Operation Red Jericho" or "Hugo Cabret". Am I right? Is this a trend?
I. Bruno: The illustration have always been important for books and they had followed the book evolution from the origins till now. Today the phenomenon we're witnessing is due to a book market more and more overstocked with books, where a book must  "fight" to emerge from the thousands and thousands rivals in a bookshop.
Once reading was a privilege for few people, instead today everybody can buy a book almost eveywhere (bookshop, supermarket, newspaper kiosk...) And one of the most important element to get people attention is the bookcover. Thanks to it, the reader decides to take a book in his hands, to choose it. This is the first step to the purchase. In the nineties, in order to fascinate the potential reader, it was enough putting a fluorescent colour on the front cover. Luckily a greater sensibility is growing, even among Italian publishers, which let us to leave these rigid marketing strategies and to create more and more sophisticated books, able to win the readers attention (as the series you mentioned).

Zauberspiegel: Is there a difference between the work of an illustrator and a sketcher? And if there is - what makes the difference?
I. Bruno: I don't like to look for differences in artistic activities and I always try to mix drawing with illustration, painting, graphics and everything that can be useful to realize good images.

Serienlogo Ulysses MooreZauberspiegel: How did the cooperation between Mr. Baccalario and you come about?
I. Bruno: We met in 2004 right in the occasion of Ulysses Moore project. Marcella Drago and Clare Stringer, the project editors, introduce him to me during a meeting at the Battello a Vapore headquartier. Immediately, even if Pierdomenico is much younger than me, we understood we had a common imagery as regarding books, games, films...This cooperation is still going on and I think it will proceed still longer.

Zauberspiegel: Looking at the illustrations of Ulysses Moore I always have the feeling you were having a lot of fun doing them since they are so imaginative and detailed. Am I right?
I. Bruno: I consider myself really lucky because I was able to make my passion my profession. Indeed I rarely feel to "work" when I'm drawing, above all when I deal with kid illustrations (especially Ulysses Moore kind of illustrations). Imagination and the great care are distinctive of my way of work.

Innenseite Geist der BücherZauberspiegel: Are there other books in the area of suspense to be published where we can find illustrations of yours?
I. Bruno: Yes, sure, above all in Italy, where I collaborate with the most important publishers. Nowadays in the bookshops you can find the last book of the series "Century", written by Pierdomenico, and I'm working on the fourth and last book of the series "Criptoanimali" by Alberto Melis, both of them published by Battello a Vapore.
As regards Germany, I have been working for some years with Stefan Hilden, an extraordinary graphic designer, founder of the Hilden Design office in Munich (www.hildendesign.de). Thanks to him, I had the opportunity to publish many books for the German market. In addition to "Geist der Bücher" you mentioned, I think there are other books translated in German, such as "Questors" by Cbj, Naomi Novik's series for Blanvalet and other publications for Piper.
For another foreign country, Brazil, I'm also realizing the fifth volume of "The Tomorrow series" by John Marsden (Brazilian Fundamento publisher). I can't reveal the next publications...

Zauberspiegel: Is there an Italian author (of the suspensegenres) we absolutely have to read? And why?
I. Bruno: Undoubtedly Pierdomenico Baccalario, nowadays the best for kids writer in Italy.

Zauberspiegel: Please write two or three sentences about yourself.
I. Bruno: I can tell you three things which were really important for my education: Jules Verne's "20000 leagues under the sea", everything ideated by Tim Burton and "A Christmas Carol" illustrated by Roberto Innocenti.


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