Illustrating in red and blue: Francesca Sanna

If you are used to spend your childhood summers on an island of an island, surrounded by the colors of the Mediterranean sea you become pretty sensitive to some specific colors. That is what happened to Francesca Sanna, Italian illustrator now based in Zurich, who creates red & blue illustrations often connected to the sea and its beauty.

We met Francesca Sanna over an orange juice finding a young creative woman who has clear plans for her future as an illustrator. She graduated at the Lucerne School of Art and Design in 2015 and was awarded the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators for her picture book “The journey” (Flying Eye Books/Nobrow Press). This book is a remarkable part of her portfolio, together with another illustrated book “Die Sammlungsschlange” commissioned by the Kunstmuseum Solothurn. Illustrations are often linked to children’s books but those examples above demonstrate how variegated the work of an illustrator can be and how many topics can be involved.“I usually talk about topics that deeply touch me in first person or that are connected to my roots”, says Francesca. Migration, travels, summer nostalgia, exhibitions… are only some of the topics already illustrated so far.

She is a visual storyteller often inspired by the works of Shaun Tan and Alessandro Gottardo. Francesca usually draws in red and blue, sketching on paper the initial ideas. “My sketches are always full of lines. During my sva residency in New York last summer, I became famous for my red and blue combination pencils so that now they are a kind of trademark for me.” After scanning the drawings, she continues to work digitally. Among her works, we found particularly interesting the “Sea·ty” illustration series. This series is a proof of Francesca’s ability to draw together new experiences and memories, the colors and the hurly-burly of the Big Apple with the colors of Sardinia and its calmness. This is a cardinal capacity for a good illustrator who has always to find the most immediate way to convey an idea. Francesca is already gearing up for the summer and after having been at the 2016 edition of Fumetto comics festival, she is going to take part into the annual Werkschau Design & Kunst in Lucerne. A new book and a collaboration with a famous illustrator are coming soon.

Photo credits: Francesca Sanna

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