Interview Lucia Masciullo illustrator EAT MY DUST

Lucia Masciullo is an award winning illustrator who loves to create whimsical characters and colouring with traditional techniques, mixing watercolour, pencil and collage. Born and bred in Livorno, Italy, she moved to Australia in 2007 and since then she has illustrated thirty books, including Come Down, Cat!by Sonya Hartnett, which was a CBCA Honour Book and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Lucia currently lives on the Gold Coast and when not at work she likes running, watching anime and eating homemade pizza.

I feel so lucky to have had Lucia illustrate EAT MY DUST. It’s such a meaningful book to both of us.

Lucia, welcome to my blog today.

Lucia with our book, back cover and front

1. Can you describe your illustrative style for EAT MY DUST?

The illustrations in EAT MY DUST are in watercolour and ink. My idea was to create a contrast between the detailed drawing in ink and the vibrant freshness of the watercolour. Being instructed to colour inside the lines since I was a child didn’t help me much in this task, so I set a personal rule to use the watercolour for a maximum of 15 min per illustration.

2. What items are essential for your creative space?

A large table in front of a window (I love the natural sunlight), pencil, lots of paper, watercolours and sometimes even some music. I choose what to listen in accord with the mood of the illustration: ABBA for a joyful illustration, Queen for an epic moment, Adele for a sad illustration.

3. Name 3 artists whose work inspires you?

This is quite tricky, as there are at least dozens I could name!

Speaking about EAT MY DUST, I was mainly inspired by GI PI, or Gianni Pacinotti, a well-known Italian comic book artist, who was also one of my teachers when I started my career as an illustrator. I’m also a big fan of the work of Isabelle Arsenault, Beatrice Alemagna and I recently found another amazing artist, Victoria Semykina. Ok, these are four artists, instead of three, pretty close!

4. What is your favourite part of the illustration process?

I love different parts of the illustration process for various reasons: each step challenges a different part of my brain.

The creative part is what I really enjoy. Drawing the characters, working on the layout of the pages, and finding the delicate balance between text and illustrations are all aspects that excite me.

One of Lucia’s beautiful illustrations

Next comes the editing stage, where my problem-solving mind comes into action. There are often issues that need to be addressed, such as ideas that are not working on the page, or too many illustrations to choose from. Luckily, I have the support of a team, and the Publisher is always keen to help (thank you, Kristina and Amanda!).

Finally, there’s the colouring stage. This part is usually quite relaxing, as all the decisions have been made and I can simply indulge in the pleasure of using the medium.

However, for EAT MY DUST it has been a different experience: I challenged myself to work swiftly and loosely with the watercolour and sometimes I had to create several copies of the same illustration until I achieved a result that I liked.

5. What is your favourite illustration in EAT MY DUST?

One of my favourite illustrations is the one where they are driving in the salt lake that shimmers like diamonds. I like the composition of the illustration, the glimpse of the horizon, the expression of the girls and Barney the dog. It’s a magical moment: it seems that the beauty of the view has distracted them from the race.

6. Tell us about the special ‘item’ you recently found at your Nonna’s house in Italy that is connected to EAT MY DUST?

Early this year I went to Italy to visit my family. My parents recently moved in the house that once belonged to my grandparents, where my unconventional Nonna lived (I dedicated EAT MY DUST to her). My Nonna was around the same age as Jean and Kath, the two protagonists of the book and although she didn’t own a car, as a girl she defied tradition by climbing the Alps and wearing pants, something considered quite inappropriate at that time.

Well, while helping my parents move things in the basement, a mix of their stuff and my grandparents’, I stumbled upon something that took my breath away: the same Kodak camera featured on the title page! When I asked my Mum, she told me it belonged to my Nonna and she said I could take it in Australia with me.

This is Lucia’s Nonna’s camera – what an absolute treasure

Thank you, Lucia, for coming onto my blog. You’ve been so brilliant to work with. Your illustrations are incredible and I’m so proud of our book.

If you would like to see more of Lucia’s amazing art work, you can visit her website here

EAT MY DUST can be purchased from Booktopia or any good bookshop.

Big thanks must go to the Walker Books Australia, the best people!

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Neridah McMullin

Photo By: Prue Sheed



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