Eleonora Simeoni, illustrator and artist, born in 1995 in Bassano del Grappa.
She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna.
Fascinated by all that is surreal and poetic, his subjects are born from the passion for surrealism, Nordic art, esotericism, books (bestiaries, novels, poems, stories).
his poetics is “a parallel world where things do not appear as we see them.”
- Could you give us a bit of background about your work and education, and how you started working as an illustrator?
I have been drawing since I remembered. It has always been my greatest passion, along with that of books. In high school, I studied at an art institute, and now I attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. I approached illustration when I was little, reading picture books. Then, in the last year of high school, thanks to some teachers, I rediscovered this beautiful world, and I decided to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts to study and learn about it in all its forms.
- Do you enjoy working with a handmade aesthetic, or do you do a lot of computer work as well? What is the process you have for creating your illustrations?
I use various techniques depending on the effect I want to create. I like experimenting, discovering new textures, using collages, and letting myself be carried away by the magic of the creative process. I always start with manual work; I like to use acrylic colors and collage. Sometimes I use digital to assemble the work and compose it like a small imaginary theatre.
- How do you approach creating an illustration? And is that different depending on if you are working for a client or yourself?
Often my illustrations do not have a real project defined behind them, but they are born while I work there. I start with an idea, an atmosphere, or a feeling that I want to recreate, and I try to let myself be carried away by the creative process. Working on commission or for a project is different from personal work. There is a lot of research to be done behind; it is essential to know the concept on which to work to interpret it at best and often the technique to be used changes depending on the work required.
- Your work is deeply personal, a sort of record of your emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Is your work like a kind of individual therapy, or do you hope for resonance with a wider audience?
That’s right; drawing is a necessity for me, the way I express myself. My work reflects a lot as I am, I feel that at a certain moment, or a memory of myself that emerges in my mind. I discovered with surprise that many people find themselves in what I represent, they can read and interpret my images in a personal way, associating them to their experience, and it is one of the things that most fascinates me and makes me happy.
- which of your projects has been the most important to developing your personal style?
I don’t think there’s a particular project that marked my “style.” I think it’s more of an endless personal search that only time slowly matures. If I look at my work of a year ago, it is different from what I do now, and in the future, it will change again! I think of style as a river that flows, it’s never the same, but it changes all the time, just like every person, everything.
- What sort of skills do you think you need as an illustrator?
I believe that an illustrator must develop his own personal knowledge and create his own universe of everything that represents him. Studying helps in this, and staying in an environment that stimulates creativity, which is different for everyone! Knowing how to observe what surrounds him, being amazed, absorbing as many things as possible, just like a sponge
- what are you currently fascinated by, and how is it feeding into your work?
I have always been fascinated by everything that wants to give a different representation of reality, that creates wonder: fantastic creatures like the medieval ones, magic, astrology, symbolism, mythology, surrealism, but also philosophy. There are so many things that inspire me, and I always like to know new things. I always look for books that deal with this type of subject, but also a cinema, poetry.
- How did you connect your illustrators to clients? Do you have a portfolio of images that you quickly send?
I use Behance, a website where I insert the various projects and from has the opportunity to create its own portfolio online! I really like how it is set up, and there are a lot of artists, illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, etc. who use it. You will find many exciting things. But also the social networks: Instagram and Facebook, give you the chance to have your own space where you can upload your work.
- Describe a time when you worked hard on a project, but you received negative feedback from your manager or client. What did you do?
It happened that I was commissioned with graphics for some products, and the ideas I developed initially did not convince everyone. It’s hard to convince many people because everyone has their own thoughts and tastes. It helped me to confront them and listen to their opinions so that I could understand them in-depth and create more images. On the other hand, working on commission requires a lot of flexibility, it can be frustrating at times, but the important thing is to reach a compromise between their ideas and those needed.
- Do you feel social media is an important tool for illustrators? Does having a social media presence change an illustrator’s ability to get commissions?
Social media is certainly important for showing one’s work and being contacted, but it doesn’t define an artist’s ability. They help because they allow you to get in touch with people from different places, and doing it in person many times is difficult.
- What are the steps an illustrator could take to try and get bigger projects and clients?
I think that, as in every work, also the illustrator’s one is important to get in touch with different realities and people: sending your portfolio, participating in calls promoted by various artistic groups, competitions, interviews, exhibitions. Being able to create a small network of contacts in your field helps a lot to get commissions.