Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I'm Italian. I was born in Origgio a small village close to Milan. I grew up loving comic books. With my brother Sauro we were use to collect the Marvel comic books. I was really into superheroes and my favorite one was the Silver Surfer. John Buscema was my hero (and he still is) then John Romita, Wallace Wood, Gene Colan and the great Jack Kirby. Later on I became a Comic book artist myself. Than I fell in love with animation. Were the Don Bluth's movies that got me at first. “Dragon's Lair”, “Space Ace” and “The secret of Nimh”.
I read “The Illusion of Life” and I rediscover the Disney movies. I learned about all these amazing talented artists that worked over there and I was so fascinated that I decide to give it a try. I had a brief experience in London on “Balto” and I loved it. So I changed drastically my life. I went to work in Germany at Munich Animation. I've studied in art schools for nine years but i never had a serious animation training. My knowledge about animation started from a couple of video. One from Phil Nibbelick and another one (really important one) from James Baxter. In Munich Animation I worked on three feature animated film.
After that I had the great opportunity to make a short film “The Shark and the Piano” with some great artists from Munich and Copenhagen. The short has been screened at many animation festivals all around the world and collected many awards. Then I moved to Denmark at A-Film and again London at Stardust. After that Dreamworks offered me to work in Los Angeles. So here I am.
How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
The answer is actually very simple. I always keep in mind the personality and the purpose of the character in the story.
What do you think really helps you out in designing a character?
My background knowledge and experience.
From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should we put in our portfolio and what should we not?
Always what you think/feel represents the best of your work.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
As a comic book artist I worked for "Diabolik"and "Dylan Dog". These comic books are pretty popular in Italy. I also worked for "Il Giornalino" doing the series "Reporter Blues" (you can see a page of it on my Blog) and "L'intrepido" doing single stories and some covers.
As 2D Animator I worked on: "The Fearless Four", "Tobias Totz", "Help I'm A Fish","Till Eulenspiegel","Eight Crazy Night" and "Sinbad:Legend of the Seven Seas". I also animate on the Sinbad DVD special "Cyclops Island".
As 3D animator I worked on "Shark Tale" and "Flushed Away". As Character Designer I worked on: "Help I'm A Fish","Till Eulenspiegel",and a little bit on "Flushed Away" and "The Bee movie". As Story Artist I worked on: "The Fearless Four","Till Eulenspiegel" and "Shrek 3".
I also Wrote and Directed the animated short "The Shark and the Piano" produced by Munich Animation in 2001. On this short I did the storyboards, the design and art direction. I also animate parts of it and supervised the animation and the clean up.
Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?
I must say the design for "The Shark and the Piano".
What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)
I'm currently animating on "Flushed Away" an Aardman/ Dreamworks production. It is about an uptown rat being flushed down the toilet to the sewers of London. I'm also working on “How to train your Dragon”. I'm doing the CG model of one of the main characters. The design is by Nicolas Marlet.
Who do you think are the top character designers out there?
In the animation community I like the work of Nicolas Marlet, Carlos Grangel, Tony Fucile , Joe Moshier and Don Bluth.
How do you go about coloring the character, what type of tools or media do you use?
Usually I use markers. I love the Copic sketch markers. Some times I use pastels.
What part of designing a character is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
Playing with the proportions and poses is always fun but make the character original and interesting is hard.
What are some of your favorite character designs and least favorite, which you have seen?
Well I have plenty of favorite character design. All the Milt Kahl and Don Bluth characters. With Don Bluth I should probably mention John Pomeroy as well. I believe Pomeroy helped developing Bluth's character design. All the Nicolas Marlet characters design. I still remember the strong impression that I got the first time that I saw some of his model sheets for “Balto”. I also liked the characters that Joe Moshier designed for “The Emperor's New Groove”.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
Usually I like to draw people but lately I found myself drawing a lot of animals. Last year I was obsess with horses. For months I just drew and studied horses. Of course I like horses but why did I spend so much time drawing and studying them I really don't know.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
Comic Books and later animated movies.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
From comic book artists I would say the importance of anatomy, perspective and composition. From designers: the control of shapes, proportions and caricature. From animators: analysis of movement, acting and entertainment. From story artists: simplicity and staging
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
I think the best tip is (and I'm sure everybody knows that already) draw, draw and draw.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?