Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm illustrating a short tale where a nasty wild boar terrifies people and destroys everything in a realm.
Unfortunately wild boars have a "teddy bear" look which is not freightening at all, while warthogs have the tipical villain look I was looking for... so, here is a study of a warthog, with some liberties.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tortoise and rooster

The tortoise is a nightly, earthly creature, the rooster is the messenger of light, breaking the spell of dark powers... well, at least according to some ancient legends dating back probably more than two thousands years, and still present in modern popular tales.
I used the same technique explained here, which once more proved very flexible and reworkable - I changed my mind about the tortoise, it started with regular legs but then I decided to let it emerge from the rocks.
Unfortunately the scanner has turned the nice paper texture into a boring, cloudy one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Messy ostrich

Inkscape is a nice vector graphics editor, like Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, but it's open-source and free.
Although vector graphics is not my favourite medium, sometimes I like to play a little with bezier curves and the like. You really have the feeeling that you are drawing with your mind, not with your hand, which can be pleasant or annoying depending on your disposition and your mood.
Last spring I took part in the contest for the splash screen of version 0.48, which included a new spray tool. In this case my approach was not "pure vector", as I first drew the main character with a pencil, then traced it (that is: convert to vector) and then compose the image, but the final result still retains the free-hand look.
The image was done in a hurry, and it shows, but anyway I thought it was worth showing.

And no, my proposal was not selected, in case you ask.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A massariol is like a jester elf or a goblin, he likes to make jokes and he can easily trasform and disguise, but he's basically good-hearted. He usually dresses in red or green. Someone says he has a pig muzzle.

Massariols are very fond of women. Sometimes a massariol changes into a small child, hoping that a woman will be moved and press him to her breast.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gnome or dwarf

A new character, a little creature, possibly a dwarf or a gnome.
It was inspired by the incredible aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur from Madagascar with a "witchy" look and long thin middle fingers, which he uses for pulling caterpillars out of holes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The boss

"You're fired!", he may say.

Done for no particular reason, except that in general I don't like bosses, or at least some kinds of bosses.
In two versions, as I didn't like the first attempt (the bottom one). Still quite unsatisfactory, but I should do something more focused on a couple of "projects" I'm working on.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Native Americans

While I'm fighting to produce some acceptable images on a couple of subjects (more sooner or later), I've done some drawings of native americans from the famous pictures by Edwars S. Curtis. These photos are a bit controversial, I know, but anyway I think the portraits are absolutely beautiful, and make good subjects for copying... or maybe I'm wrong: good photos are perfectly accomplished works of art, and they are not good as "references" or anything like that. Anyway, here are my attempts.

The figure on the right in the next drawing had to be reworked a little (still has some proportion issues), and turned out a bit stiff and strange

Done with graphite sticks and some final touches with pencil.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


According to some popular tales, an ogre sometimes disguises himself as a little cute goat, so that a girl takes him on her knees or hugs him tenderly. But then the goat starts to grow and becomes heavier and heavier, until the cheat is uncovered.

Unfortunately in this drawing I haven't shown the girl, maybe I will do some time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Ogres don't need an explanation, they are well known everywhere. There are some local variants for ogres that I will probably show in future drawings, but this a tipical one.

The drawing was made with an effective technique, which I learned from my teacher in a life drawing class I attended three years ago.
First, the paper is prepared by smearing and rubbing some graphite powder with an old rag o something similar, until it gets a middle gray value and a textured appearence (my drawing has little texture, however).
After removing the graphite in excess (be careful, this could have some consequences on your room), you draw and make darker areas with pencils, while "lifting" lighter areas with a kneaded eraser. Graphite is quite reworkable, and the process can be repeated indefinitely (provided that the paper is good enough), as you would do with forgiving media such as oil, acrylic or digital.
The process is actually more similar to painting than drawing, I think, obviously much more tone- than line-oriented, although lines can be beautifully integrated in the image.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Two more studies on the same subject of the previous post, I hope I'm getting a bit closer to my idea.

The frog-like eyes don't work, they look fake. I have to find better ways to express their amphibian nature.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It's not a very productive period, anyway I have something left to show. She's a new creature from popular myth, taken from Dino Coltro's book Gnomi, anguane e basilischi, she's called anguana, and she's quite like a nymph mixed with a snake or an amphibian.
Anguanas live in the wood's waters, but sometimes marry men and have babies. They are good wives, but they will leave their families if their husbands make some sharp remark on their bodies; however, they will secretly keep on taking care of their babies.
Also, anguanas are known to do the washing perfectly in the rivers.

Here are some preliminary studies, and a more focused attempt.

I'm not really happy with these trials, I hope to make something more appealing sooner or later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Who's that? Well, he's a... creature.

My original intention was a study of a nymph-like character, I will post some other drawings soon. This character turned out to be male, and not particulary "watery", so he's simply a different guy.

Done in gouache, which is really a wonderful medium (I'm starting to improve and learn some useful tricks). Unfortunately the matt, beautiful effect of this technique is hardly visible on photo.
The white paper has been tinted with diluted acrylic color.

And yes, I know, I always draw huge hands, I like them that way - although this is probably too much...

Monday, May 24, 2010


So you go walking in the mountains with a sketchbook and a pencil, and you decide to draw some easy subject like flowers (they don't move, unlike birds and even cows).
Big clouds move fast in the sky, so the light on your subject changes every couple of minutes (and you alternately freeze and burn). When the sun hits on the white page, you are almost blinded by the reflection, and immediately after, when the sun is covered by a cloud, you see strange colored spots around you.
In order to gain the best point of view for that beautiful flower, you have to assume strange postures, and you occasionally sit on some thorny plant. Ants, spiders and bugs walk on you and under your clothes.
The wind is blowing, and turns the pages of your sketchbook.

So, is it worth the bother?

Of course it is, because it's so fun. And, incidentally, walking in some beautiful mountain landscape is one of my favourite activities, despite some minor annoyances.

As I'm lazy, here are the actual sketchbook pages, with no selection.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to ink

A couple of new ink drawings.

The first was made for a contest, but in the end I decided to submit a different drawing. It's about the local situation, so it's probably not worth explaining.

In the second one, I wanted the scene to be complicated and messy, and I guess I was successful... possibly a bit too successuful..   :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Incubo - Nightmare

A new character from Dino Coltro's book Gnomi, anguane e basilischi.

Nowadays, an incubo (nightmare) is a dream full of anguish and fear, but the meaning has changed during the centuries. The italian word, incubo, comes from latin incubare, which means "to sit, to lie on top of someone or something"; a incubo was originally a kind of dwarfish evil creature sitting on the breast of sleepers, making breathing difficult. In english too, the same "shift" has occurred. According to the online etymology dictionary, a nightmare was "an evil female spirit afflicting sleepers with a feeling of suffocation".

Anyway, the original meaning of incubo has been retained in popular culture, and the little creature is the subject of a couple of drawings:

 and a watercolor (alas, the scanner has butchered a bit the colors):

Incidentally, you may want to look at a painting by Johann Heinrich F├╝ssli on the same subject.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Snow maiden

Dino Coltro, who sadly passed away last year, was a writer, poet and scholar of traditions of north-eastern Italy (link here in italian). Incidentally, his love for local traditions dated back to many decades ago, and was completely devoid of any discriminatory or racist attitude, which is (sadly) worth noting nowadays in northern Italy.

Anyway, I've recently read a book of his about some creatures in popular myth, and I decided to imagine and draw some of these strange and funny characters (in case you ask, the title is Gnomi, anguane e basilischi).
The first character I propose, la fanciulla delle nevi (snow maiden), is actually not so strange, but quite poetic. Snow maidens are fairies living in the mountains, guarding and protecting the glaciers and the snow summits. Sometimes they come down and help men to move their flock or herd:

here is a kind of character study (I hope they don't look too much like "models"):

You may have noticed that snow is almost missing in my drawings... yes, that's right, but these are simple preliminary sketches... :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Portrait of a lady

A couple of quick sketches from life.
The lady is quite an interesting person, and a good subject to draw.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ink again

A new ink drawing, possibly a bit better than the previous ones.
Three ladies in a lunar landscape - the original is much better, believe me!!! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This month James Gurney's Art by Committee is about a dialog:

"This is Billy."
"I can see that."
"Oh, right. You don't have your camera on."
"Umm, welcome back."
One... two... three... four...
"So, should we, um, get together or something?"
"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. Have lunch? Some drinks?"
"I'm on a diet."
"Take a walk?"
"I don't know. Want to talk?"
"What about?"
"Ummm. Never mind. Look, I'll, uh, call you again, all right?"

here is my proposal:

To be called Souci (in french: preoccupation, concern) may not be easy, but to be in love with Souci is probably even less easy. I've tried to imagine the difficult and conflicted young lady at the phone. Everyone has met at least one Souci in his life...  :)

The drawing was made in a hurry, so there are some evident faults (besides my usual ones, I mean...).