Maria Luisa Di Gravio
Hi! My name is Maria Luisa, I was born in Rome in 1991, where I still live and work as a freelance illustrator.
I work from my studio where I spend most of my time but when I'm not working I can be found
- dream version: outside in the woods, around European cities.
- honest version: on the sofa watching Netflix or reading a book, in bookstores spending the money I earned, by illustrating children’s books, buying other children’s books.
I like to drink tea and to draw furry and pointed nose animals :)
I guess it helped me to develop a great imagination. I've always loved to discover new worlds, new stories and reading was just the perfect answer to this curiosity. So reading had a great impact on my life, I wouldn't be an illustrator if I hadn't been an enthusiastic reader as a child!
I actually face the same challenge in every book I work on: it's to find a balance point between the Publisher's and Author's ideas and my point of view. To create an illustrated book it's a team work, not only an illustrator's work and not everybody shares the same ideas. This is a challenge to me and it's curious to see the process, the final illustrations sometimes are so different from the initial sketches.
I do really love the memory of my mum reading to me. She was a teacher, so she was very expressive while reading and I was totally charmed. I loved the bedtime readings, it was a moment of the day full of suspence and emotions!
When I was little, and not able yet to read on my own, my favorite books were Peter Pan and Pinocchio. I would love to illustrate Peter Pan nowadays, it would be a great satisfaction for the child I was!
How did you come to the realization that you wanted to write/illustrate children's books professionally?
I guess the most precious gift to me would have been to collaborate with Gianni Rodari. He was such a genius, his books are just wonderful, his mind so brilliant. He died before I was born so obviously I'll never have the possibility to collaborate with him, but I'd love to work on one of his books, it would be a great honor.
My five years old niece. She've always loved to read, since she was very little. She is so curious that it's so satisfying to tell her stories. Also, since she've always loved to read, she is very able to discern a good story from a bad one and it's fantastic to see how she pays attention to the illustrations and to hidden details!