Illustrator Interview – Manuela Pentangelo

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My fourth illustrator, Manuela, lives about four hours from me and we have had fun doing some uTales collaboration together the past couple of weeks! 

Ten for Starters

What’s your nationality and where do you live 

I’m Italian and I live in north of Italy

Illustrator or author/illustrator?

I’m an illustrator, I like to create stories but at the moment I don’t feel as an author, I tried with a few story, but I love to illustrate some other words that are new to me. Who knows maybe one day.

What is your favorite medium for your art work?

I work at the moment nearly all digital, I sketch a lot with pencil, and I love doing this with watercolor pencil in the shade of blue, but when I’m on my  small wacom tablet I’m starting to feel more confortable, also because I can make the very rough, like circles and lines and continue to build on it with separate layers till I go with colors.

Tell us a little about your latest project(s), if you can?

I have been working with author Daryl K. Cobb for almost nine years now, Wow I can’t believe it has been that long already.  At the moment we are working on a book of Nursery Rhymes.  Daryl as well as being an author is also a singer/songwriter and has rewritten about a dozen classic nursery rhymes and set them to music and we have decided to do illustrations for each of these song.  I recently finish illustrating Daryl’s newest book, a chapter book called “Pirates: The Ring of Hope”, which I loved, but it also allowed me to move into books for middle school children.  He is now working on the second book in this series called “Pirates Revenge” and I am looking forward to working with him on that as well. Then I’m working on a book project about the sea that is giving me a lot of chance to improve and study new way of expresse my illos. Last I’m onto an italian kid magazine and heading to sketch a new short story about Space for it.

What books (or authors and illustrators) influenced your childhood?

What can I tell, is mostly sure Disney and his creators. I loved nearly every animated movie they made and thats why I wanted to continue to draw, well beside loving to illustrate. Now I love Chriss Riddell Norman Rockwell Oliver Jeffers Peter De Seve  Anton Piek  Quentin Greban Marius van Dokkum

Do you see a difference between trends among illustrators in Europe and North America?

I see more difference by some line of illustrator, like different flows of illustrating, maybe yes some are more influenced by the place for number of followers but mmm I think is more devide it in different style then in country.

Are you involved at all in eBook or App illustration?

I worked for App for an Australian company, it was a small app for the iphone a little game that made me have lot of fun ’cause animation it was something that I wanted to do for so long, and then I worked for a bigger project for I lear4Free, 6 stories all for tablet and iphone and all with small animations.

What does your work-space look like?

It looks mmm like a mess 😀 It’s a laptop attach to a monitor and that is so for argh tecnologucal crashes, a scanner, printer and lots of little things like a lila gorilla, a penguin btw I love penguins.

Can you share a piece or two with us, and the process of producing them?

I love to do this

This is a progress of the cover of the magazine Bambino Sarai Tu

This is the progress for the contest for Tomie De Paola

Tomie de Paola Award Submission

This is the progress on how I color, I was trying to make a video


This is a progres of the cover for Pirates: The Ring of Hope

Name a couple of people that have mentored or inspired you most and why?

Not sure, but my family that like what I do and push me, my boyfriend somehow also if he don’t believe is doind this, and my friend illustrator ex-collegue, I met him in a office job, we were designer and he gave me hint on how to improve and move forward.

Five Fun ones to Finish?

Is there anywhere in the world you would like to live for a season?

On a beach, sand ocean sun but not too burning if it is for a season, else my dream big huge dream travel around the world doing my job on my laptop and look at whatever nature build on this small small ball. I would love to see a dreamy waterfall!

What word best sums you up 

I Think Acquarius I also like the sound of it

 Do you listen to music while you work? If so what’s your album/song of the moment?

I  listen mostly at documentaries on the tv and films and audiobooks.

What do you do for relaxation?

I watch a movie, I’m a movie eater!, I read, eat I love food, I go with a Canoa on the river in the last few months and is super relaxing. I go walking in the mall, get a coffe and when the noise brained out my head I move back to my work often with new Ideas.

If you could be one children’s book character who would that be?

Can I say Goofy, is my first choice, so lighthearted and joyful and with a huge heart. I love all picture books, I love all books mostly. I would be an elephant with a small pink fancy umbrella at the moment rolling on a yellow ball in a small country city where you can see lots of green field, trees huge tree with colorful smelly flowers, but this is now, so what I would be in a few hour I’m not sure.

Our International School Library has an Italian section and the Disney books are easily the most popular for our younger Italian students, so your references to Disney and Goofy don’t surprise me at all! If I had to pick a colour for you, it would have to be blue! You named a number of illustrators from different nations, whom I didn’t know and I enjoyed looking them up! Manuela, thank you so much for sharing your work with us and I love penguins, too!
If you want to see more of Manuela’s work check out:
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8 Responses to Illustrator Interview – Manuela Pentangelo

  1. Joanna, I really enjoyed the interview with Manuela. I really like the illustrator’s interviews, because I’m not an artist, but I do write picture books. I enjoyed learning about her process, and especially enjoyed her Tomi dePaolo entry — excellent. Thank you Emanuela for sharing The Pirates: Ring of Hope illustrations, because it really demonstrated the overlaying in the sketches you create to the finished product. But, I really liked the video, as I could see you in action. Great series Joanna.

  2. Joanna says:

    Thanks for your comments and interest, Pat. I also loved watching the addition of color on the video. I loved the whimsical nature of Manuela’s replies, also.

  3. Thank you Joanna and Manuela. I love reading these interviews. Your work is very nice. As a writer, who can’t draw, I love reading how you work and your process.

  4. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Stacey, reading about this process makes me all the more excited to work on a full book with an illustrator.

  5. Another great interview! Love to see the process behind illustration.

  6. I so love the series of illustrator interviews that you’re doing. We have two illustrators this week as well as part of the sydney taylor book award blog tour. 🙂

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