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Folio illustration agency, established London 1976

In the Studio: Piero Corva


Piero Corva is an Italian digital children's illustrator who creates energetic characters and scenery in publishing and editorials for all the family to enjoy!

» More on Piero Corva

Tell us one fact about yourself that not many people know…

My grandfather, Urbano Corva, was a well-known designer and illustrator in the 30’s. He lived in Trieste, a harbour town, a city of crossroads and borders; and his style - flat colours, geometric shapes - is still very bold and contemporary.

What are the first three steps that you take when a commissioner approaches you for an illustration project?

Iconographic research, sketches, executives and the eventual amendments. And, well, a fourth step is necessary: a final toast when the work is published! Wine, of course (I like Valpolicella).

Pick three objects that are most valuable to you in your working studio and explain to us why you have chosen those and what their story is.

I like to have around handcrafts objects that I did myself. In my studio there’s a big hanging lamp with paper mache sculptures; I sit on a wooden multicoloured chair, Mackintosh-style; and on the walls, many acrylic paintings (the smallest is 2 inches wide !)

How do you feel being part of an agency represented as a freelance illustrator has helped with your work to date?

I consider Folio a friend and a good advisor. The agency helped me to be well-known out of Italy, getting in touch with big publishers and advertising agencies.I gained self-confidence in my artwork and learned to price it properly.

Working within illustration and creativity can have its highs and lows. What are your three constraints and three motives to work during the day?

I don’t feel any particular constraint when I work. The only constraint is when Zeno, my 19 months old child, hangs around in the studio, and needs a pamper change or food…!

Who and what keeps you inspired?

Having a small baby is a big luck for an illustrator like me, who works with what you would probably call a "naive" art style, mainly for children's' books. Light and colours are very important in my drawing. And, moreover, working in a studio up in a Milano skyscraper, with big glass-windows and “mediterranean” light seeping through, is a plus inspiration.

How do you feel you personal work feeds into and influences your commissioned work?

I keep all my “personal” doodles and sketches in a big book, and some characters I created come from there. But I find that commissioned work can be very inspirational, and I like that kind of challenge; so often personal and commissioned are meshed.

If you weren’t illustrating, what profession would you be currently working in?

Oh, I would surely be a chef ! I love food, and isn’t cooking a way of working with shapes and colours, anyway?

Tell us a little more about your work within children’s illustration and what piece of advice you’d have on it as well.

When I draw I imagine I am talking directly to a child, through images. I don’t remember the words of the children books I read when I was a kid, but I still remember the sensation of pleasant wonder and surprise looking at the pictures. That's what I would like to pass on to a child: that same feeling of happiness and wonder.

» More artworks by Piero Corva

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