For our first edition of The Illustrator Corner, we are excited to welcome Monica Rondino from The Art of Puro.
Monica is a successful illustrator from Italy. She has illustrated for the book Toofs by Jennifer and Estelle Poulter, which was published by WordWingBooks. In addition, she has contributed to several comic books and book cover collaborations with Andrea Pucci.
Her path to illustration was a roundabout one. She started in 2D animation and comics, taking courses in those topics. It wasn’t until later that she decided she wanted to become an artist and switched styles and paths.
Inspired by people, books, nature, television, news and more, Monica is not picky when it comes to sources for getting new ideas. She loves sketching whatever she may see, hoping that her sketch will spark a feeling inside of her, leading to a full idea. There are many illustrators she admires, but one of her favorites is Beatrix Potter.
Process of creation
Every artist has a method to their madness. For Monica, she starts with the text. On new projects she will read the text over many times, looking for references and imagery within. In her mind, she will start to formulate the characters and then sketch them out. Once she has solid concepts she likes, she will send them over to the author to be approved. Then, she will continue on to storyboarding if the author likes them, too. This will also be sent over to get approved, and then it is on to the coloring process, which is usually done digitally.
Thoughts on the profession
Like any job, there are ups and downs. The one difficult part about being an illustrator is that there are always lulls in between projects. For this reason, Monica also holds day jobs to help with the bills. The other difficulty with this job is that often times clients expect work for free, or ask you to change things at the last moment, once you’re almost finished. In the beginning, it was a difficult situation to navigate. However, as Monica has become seasoned in the business, she now knows how to work with these people successfully and find a compromise. Communication is key in this industry.
Aside from the few frustrations, Monica believes this industry is every bit worth it. There are so many joys that come with seeing your artwork come to life and seeing the joy it brings to others’ faces. The joy she got from publishing her very first children’s book will be the same when she does more in the future, because each project is unique and special.
The Illustrator Corner – Monica’s step-by-step
Here is Monica walking us through her creative process, in her own words…
Toofs phase 1: This is a rough sketch and a watercolor test of the main characters from Toofs. I work with pencils and watercolors in the first step of any project.
Toofs phase 2: Always working with pencils, I do a storyboard and then I clean up the scenes.
Toofs phase 3: After accepting everything, I begin with digital colors.
Toofs phase 4: And finally, the work is finished.
Illustrations by Monica Rondino