Hi! My name is Daniela Massironi and the illustrator who had the honor to bring to life Gertie Saves the Day. I am a freelance children’s book illustrator and graphic designer. I have been working in this wonderful field for 10 years. I am Italian and I live in Milan, a big city in the North of Italy.
After my BA Graphic design at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti -New Fine Art Academy) I moved to London for my MA in Graphic Design at London College of Communication. I loved living in London. It is such an inspirational city, especially for the Arts! I lived there for 4 years. This experience had an immense impact on my journey through life both personally and work wise. But after a few years I felt it was the time to go back to Italy and build my life here, closer to my family. To see more of my illustrations you can visit:
Can you tell us one thing people may not know about you?
When I was younger I dreamed about being a ballerina. I did classic ballet for 3 years and then I fell in love with Artistic Gymnastic watching the Barcelona Olympic Games in ’92, so I did gymnastics for 4 years. I really loved this sport, but I must admit I have never been very good! I still love it and I’ve really enjoyed watching gymnastics at the Olympic Games this year!
What made you decide to become an illustrator for children’s picture books?
Since I was very young, my favorite pastime has always been sketching and doodling everywhere, giving life to my imaginary world. Drawing has always been my biggest passion. I enrolled to a Fine Art Academy, choosing a path in Graphic Design. After my Master in Graphic Design in London, I worked as an editorial designer at Egmont UK, a children’s book publisher. Being surrounded by children’s books and designing them every day has been an immense inspiration, which prompted me to try and pursue my dream of becoming an illustrator. While working at Egmont, I was given the chance to work on my first books as an illustrator. It was literally a dream come true!
What is a typical workday like for you?
My typical working day starts always with a large mug of coffee and some yogurt and cereal for an energy boost. Then I go and check my email. After that I start working on my projects. At the earliest stages of any project I start with some sketches on paper, but soon I transfer them into my computer. For some of my projects I use Illustrator, for a simple and flat style. If I want a painted style, like I did for Gertie Saves the Day, I worked in Photoshop. I am a bit of a night owl so I tend to extend my work day to the evenings and sometimes to the night. I love drawing when the world around me is sleeping. It makes me calm and inspired!
What inspired you about the Gertie Saves the Day project?
Since the first time I read the manuscript of Gertie Saves the Day, I have been really inspired by the lovely story and the precious values of forgiveness and collaboration which it teaches children. I didn’t know much about this interesting and curious American tradition of Groundhog Day, so I did some research to find out more about it. I have enjoyed working on the cute characters!
What is the process when illustrating a book? Where do you begin?
Usually, I start working sketching the character. I love this stage because it is when the protagonists of the story start coming to life. I create a few options and then submit them to the Art Director or directly to the Author. In this case with Karen who then gave me feedback on the characters. With Gertie Saves the Day it was amazing to receive feedback directly from children. Thanks to the polls that Karen shared on social media we arrived at the final sketches. After I sketch the layout of the pages I submit them to the client. Once approved I go to the final stage with polishing the drawings and coloring.
Are you working on any new projects?
Yes! At the moment I’m working on a couple of toy projects. I’m drawing the illustrations for some “Talking Tablets” for young children. It’s fun and exciting! I have also a new coloring book about Unicorns coming out soon!
What is your favorite thing about being an illustrator?
My favorite thing about being an illustrator is to have the chance to bring a smile and some fun to young children. Children inspire me the most! Recently one of my best friends had a baby and she told me that one of my books is her favorite. This is like the best compliment I could ever receive and the best accomplishment for me!