The_ Imaginist_ is Giulia Bragaglia, an Italian girl from Rome, who loves drawing Walt Disney’s characters. We had the pleasure to talk with Giulia about her creative world.
Hi Giulia, welcome to Dare Clan community! As first question, I would like to ask you to introduce yourself.
Hello! I am an illustrator, but this definition is quite vague because there are many different fields in which you can work in the world of illustration: I create products with my illustrations that I sell in an online store. I create customized drawings and from this year I started illustrating children's books.
The passion for drawing has always been there, since I was very young, but only when I started working after university (I graduated in speech therapy), I begin to believe I could do a job with it. And while I was working as a speech therapist, I enrolled in the Roman School of Comics in Rome. But it was then 4 years before it really became my job.
Your Instagram page is called The_Imaginist. Why did you choose this name?
The name “the imaginist” was really simple to choose: I wanted a name that made you "dream", that made you think of fantasy, creation, imagination. I knew that the imaginers were the "engineers of the imagination", who worked for Walt Disney. And since Uncle Walt, or rather his feature films, are the reason why I started drawing as a child, it seemed like a good choice: I took the part of the engineers and created The_imaginist.
What do you prefer to draw and why?
Absolutely I prefer to draw female figures of all kinds: I love to draw them with sinuous lines, or very round, or fine and linear. With short hair or long and fluttering hair. I think the female body is beautiful, so I never get tired of drawing it.
I wanted a name that made you "dream", that made you think of fantasy, creation, imagination.
How did you let people know about your business in the beginning?
Through social media, with a little word of mouth, but basically with social media. But it's not easy, it's not fast, above all. I have Facebook and Instagram pages since so many years and it grows very slowly. It is a sea with lots of fish. But the great thing is that social networks give everyone the opportunity to start something of their own, independent. It is a way to make yourself known, that did not exist before.
It is a sea with lots of fish. But the great thing is that social networks give everyone the opportunity to start something of their own, independent.
Is Social Media useful for your job?
As I said before, yes, a lot. While the part of the illustrated books is independent of social media, the part of the private commissions and of my online store exists thanks to the fact that there is a group of people, who know me and appreciate my works. For this I am really grateful to those who decide to follow me and support me. And social media also allowed me to discover and learn about other realities, people, talents.
Which is your own favorite work?
This is a very difficult question. On the one hand, I would say the products I create for my online store: the diary makes me suffer a lot every year, but then it gives me a lot of satisfaction when I see that I like it so much. But I'm also enthusiastically waiting for the books I illustrated up until a few months ago to come out. I think seeing them will give me enormous joy and satisfaction!
I saw that you like drawing cartoons characters. Who is your favorite one?
I love this question! I would say Ariel, because she is a mermaid and I like drawing mermaids a lot (and it also removes the problem of drawing the legs, which is not a little!). But my favorite cartoon characters in general are Mulan, the genius of Aladdin and basically any Disney villain (absolute and undisputed favorite: Maleficent).
What kind of technique do you use to complete a drawing?
For some years I no longer work in traditional, but only with the graphic tablet (my great love), therefore in digital. Lately, however, I have picked up the watercolors again…I'll see what comes out!
Would you rather work with pen and paper or digital software?
In digital. You have so many more possibilities. Especially because publishing houses or clients often ask for changes in the illustrations. With traditional technique everything would be much more complicated.
Which effect had the lockdown on your job plans?
As soon as the lockdown started I had just started working on a book on Christmas stories and I had already planned a book by Tom Thumb right after. So, luckily, it didn't touch me very much at the moment. I closed my online store orders to avoid shipping, but luckily it wasn't a time for new products to come out. Of course, in the following months, the "crisis" began to be felt. All businesses have been affected, therefore publishing houses too.
Let's hope well for the future. The advantage and the problem at the same time, of working as a freelancer is that you can manage your job, you are your own boss, but every day you wake up and have to find new jobs, it is a search that never ends. It's up to you to make a profit, so you always have to give your best and improve from the previous day. At least, I live it like that.
Did you ever think to teach people drawing, illustrating or something about the craft?
Yes, I've thought about it, but I've never really done it. Maybe it may not seem like it (or maybe you see a lot!), but I am a person who very often does not feel up to it and who is very strict and a perfectionist towards herself. So, I have often wondered whether or not I was able to teach. For now, it's not in the plans, but maybe one day it will.
I would like to take advantage of smart working and online lessons more and more, especially in this historical moment, perhaps create video lessons for those who want to learn to draw.
What advice would you give to those who approach illustration for the first time?
I would recommend first of all to study, to have a good foundation and then draw a lot, to carve out some time a day to practice. When you feel confident enough in your work, create a portfolio with 10/15 illustrations. Better to put 9 of which you are sure than 12 but with 3 that do not convince us very much. With a portfolio you can propose yourself to publishing houses or magazines or other based on the field in which you want to work.
At the same time open a page on social networks to let you know and create contacts. Obviously then it depends a lot on what you want to do specifically.
What do you want to communicate through your creations?
It depends. Sometimes I just want to create an illustration that creates "pleasure" in the viewer: something beautiful, light, carefree, colorful. Sometimes, however, when a cause is at heart, I try to convey serious messages through my drawings. It is very complex because you have to create something that is not trivial, effective, but which is also fair, consistent. What really conveys is the message you want to express. It is more complex but useful.
I think that images on social media, especially in an era in which few people stop to read long posts, but often only look at the figures, can be very functional to sensitize people.
A drawing, if done well, has an impact and stays in your head. For example, I have created some illustrations (and others are in the pipeline) about mental disorders: it is a topic that is very close to my heart for various reasons. I think that illustrating them, talking about them can raise awareness and convey the message that mental disorders should not be ignored, that if a person goes to therapy he is not crazy, but has the strength to try to fight his inner monsters. That a mental disorder shouldn't be ignored, just as we don't ignore a broken leg.
Are you working on any new project?
My 2021 line has just come out, but I'm already starting to imagine the 2022 one!
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I don’t know. I always see myself on this path, always trying to create new and better things than previous ones. And I really hope to have the opportunity to illustrate new books. A dream in the drawer (but at the very bottom of the drawer, which perhaps will never see the light) is to create my own story, write it and illustrate it. Maybe one day!
To follow and see more of Giulia's work click here.
Interview & Article by
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