About me

Now go, and make interesting mistakes. Make Interesting. Mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art.”
― Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art

 I was born in Pisa, Italy, from a Brazilian mom and an Italian dad. With my heart already divided between two countries, I decided to add a third by falling in love with an American man and moving to the United States to be with him. I am now raising two beautiful multicultural boys that think, like me, that the world is after all a very small place. 

Maybe because of my background, communication has always interested me in all shape and forms: I studied languages and theater and worked in entertainment, travel and language instruction.

I always drew on the side, thinking, wrongly, that art should be more of an hobby than a job. But then I realized not only that it was what I really wanted to do, but also that being an illustrator is at heart communicating with images,  images that will remain forever in a child’s imagination. Personally, I know I still remember, vividly, many of the books and illustrations I read as a child, much more than I can remember many of the facts and figures I have learned through my years of schooling. 

I work  digitally, mostly in Procreate, and I am constantly searching for ways to have rich layered textures in my work. I love drawing scenes full of details and with multiple characters and I am attracted to complex and not always positive emotions in stories. 

I have a BFA (summa cum laude) in Children’s Book Illustration from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and a BA in English and Spanish Language and Literature from the Universita degli Studi di Pisa.

 In 2019 I have illustrated “Two Tortoises in the forest” by Bahar Sener for European publihser Dixi Books ( ISBN: 978-619-7558-03-6) and ” Daniel Feels Purple” by Fernando Gonzalez III (ISBN: 978-035-9991-87-7 , self-published)  In 2020 I started working with City of Light Publishing (Buffalo, NY) on a trilogy called Cayuga Island Kids written by Judy Bradbury. 

In 2020 I won the SCBWI ILLINOIS Prairie Prize for the fall conference “Full Zoom Ahead”. 

Although I see myself as an Illustrator first, I have two completed picture books dummies and one manuscript idea in progress, available upon request.

When I am not drawing, I love Radiohead and R.E.M. and have a real passion for Shakespeare; in fact, I have created over 100 illustrated portraits of Shakespeare which you can find on Instagram under the account Shakesportraits

Contact

(815) 354-8954
vagnoli.gabriella@gmail.com