Davide Bonazzi Is an illustrator based in Bologna, Italy who specializes in conceptual illustration.
How did you first start illustrating?
Since I was a child, I've loved drawing. Over time, I've taken an interest in visual design and in drawing on commission, and I used to love the idea of being a freelance worker. When I was a student, I realized that I really wanted to become an editorial illustrator rather than an author of picture books, a graphic novelist, or another kind of visual artist. At that time, I used to send my portfolio to art directors of Italian magazines and creative agencies. In that way, I got the first significant collaborations that encouraged me a lot to keep moving in that direction. Later, I realized I couldn't support myself financially by working only for the Italian market, so I put all my efforts to reach the American and international market. Now, I feel happy and grateful for what I'm doing in my life.
Could you walk us through the process of creating an illustration from start to finish?
As I'm specialized in conceptual illustration, I always struggle to find interesting visual metaphors that fit the subjects given by my clients, whether it's for editorial projects or advertising/institutional campaigns. Once I get the brief, I do some sketches on paper in order to brainstorm and collect ideas. Then, I select a few concepts, and I draw them digitally in grayscale and send them to the clients. After they choose their favorite, I transform the rough sketch into the final artwork, adding details, colors and textures.
What is, in your opinion, the most underappreciated aspect of illustration?
I don't feel illustration is underappreciated at the moment. People seem fascinated and very responsive to images more than ever now. But, sometimes I have a feeling that other artists refuse illustration like it's too commercial, good to make money and nothing more. That is partially true as we illustrators are commercial artists, but more than this, we're visual communicators. Everyday we're called to give a visual interpretation of a subject, feeling empathy with it, and trying to convey feelings and ideas to a wider audience. I think this is a wonderful aspect of our job. This also gives us the opportunity to deal with different interesting issues everyday, and to expand our knowledge of the world.
What kind of tools are used in crafting your images?
I work with Photoshop on a Wacom Cintiq tablet. I use a wide range of customized Photoshop brushes obtained by scanning found objects in order to add textures to my images.
Do you prefer to work on images one by one, or in groups/series?
It depends on the project. I do a lot of one-by-one image jobs, they're quicker and relaxing to do. Group/series are more challenging, but often more rewarding and worthwhile in the long run.
What’s your favorite illustration you’ve made? Can you walk us through the inspiration and process of creating it?
There is no one in particular. My usual process begins with brainstorming, collecting ideas, key-words, metaphors related to the subject. Sometimes there's a strong visual object to hold on to. For example, in the Save the Arctic poster I made for Greenpeace everything started by focusing on two main subjects, oil and ice melting. I just had to combine them in an original and interesting way, and the illustration was done. Some other times the subject is more abstract and indefinite, so the whole problem-solving process gets harder. But that's somewhat more stimulating to me.
Where does your inspiration for images come from?
Inspiration comes from many unexpected things. My favorite source of inspiration is travelling and visiting new places. However, I get inspiration everywhere, looking at illustrators and artists from all time, movies, books, comics, newspapers, or just by walking along the streets of my city.
Any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
I'm currently working on several editorial issues and on a couple of big advertising projects. In my spare time, I started a series of personal images inspired by urban landscapes and animals. I'll publish them soon somewhere.