Each month, we are celebrating a different one of our fantastically talented artists in the '5 Minutes with...' series of interviews. We will be asking them a few questions in an attempt to gain an insight into their world as a children's illustrator! This month it's the turn of turn of Valeria Valenza, so grab a cuppa, settle in, and let's get to know a little more about what makes Valeria tick.
Where do you live/work?
I live in Bologna in a nice house with a magic basement down stairs. That is where I've built my sweet, lovely studio!
What do you love about working there?
I like to have my own space. I love to know that all my characters are born there. It's my creative heaven!!!
What is your favourite thing about being an illustrator?
Boufff .... anything! To invent a sign, a character, to know so many people around the world, to know I can make a child happy when they read my books, even if just for a moment. It's a very rewarding job!
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I use a mix of techniques. Usually I use Pantone-markers, colored pens, and occasionally (but really very rarely) some Photoshop. I can't work if I have too many people around me..... when I work I need to be alone with my music or my TV series on Netflix!
What is your favourite thing to draw?
Absolutely ANIMALS and FLOWERS!
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
Yes, sure. For me the unpredictability of work can be difficult, but a new project always comes along.
What or who are you inspired by?
I would say nature and daily life are my main two influences.
What do you like to in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Watch the world. The world is magic, despite everything, it's an amazing place.
How did you get into illustration?
It was a product of my curiosity really, and of my hands, that have always drawn. A little bit of (PP Associate Director) Mark's influence too, because he decided to keep me in the PP crew!!!!!
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
Passion, perseverance, and have a smile for everyone! ... Smile! ... Always!
What’s your ultimate dream?
You mean my next one.... My next dream is yet to come, but it could be to have some tea with a family of penguins while we all watch The Northern Lights together. Anybody else want to join our group?!