I have a confession to make; I do sometimes judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, I can’t resist a book with stunning artwork. Great Minds is one such book, and it’s as eye-catching on the inside as it is on the outside. Indeed, André Ducci‘s graphic novel style fills every page with bold colour (just take a peek at images below!), and the contents are bright both in style and ideas.
Covering 2500 years of thinkers and philosophy, authors Joan Haig and Joan Lennon take us on a surprising, thought-provoking journey across time and cultures, from Confucius to the present day in a narrative that will get us all thinking.
I’m so pleased to be kicking off the Great Minds Blog Tour today by shining a light on André Ducci’s artistic talent. Read on to learn more about the artist, his creative process, and his tips for budding illustrators – and how we almost lost him to veterinary science!
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
In a short version, I am a Brazilian illustrator and cartoonist with a degree in art, more specifically as a printmaker, now based in a small beach town near Rome with my family.
2. Was being an illustrator your dream as a child?
Not exactly. I’ve been drawing since I was a little boy and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do. However, I didn’t see this as a professional possibility and therefore I grew up thinking about being a veterinarian. When I started thinking about it seriously I realized that I didn’t have the profile to deal with anyone’s health and so the illustration prevailed. So far it looks like it’s been the right road 🙂
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, usually I have breakfast with the family, do some quick home care, and sit in my workspace. At the end of the day, I go on a bike trail that in the summer can end in a swim in the sea.
4. Great Minds and its companion book, Talking History (Templar 2021), are both visually stunning books – what inspired the striking artwork?
Thanks! This is work that I am very proud of! I used a lot of my background as a comic artist and took a lot of inspiration from vintage posters to create the visual structure of these books.The narrative structure of the book turns out to be very inspiring in itself, as each chapter takes us to a different culture or era, from which I was able to take advantage of various graphic elements to enrich the stories presented.
It’s the kind of work I love to do. Being a great source of learning.
5. How much creative freedom do you have when creating illustrations for children’s books?
A lot! Child readers tend to be very open to graphic experimentation and being surprised.
6. How long did it take you to illustrate the books? Can you share some of your work?
Sure! About 1 year. It is a very detailed work that demands a lot of attention and affection.
7. What advice would you give young illustrators hoping to make a career in illustration?
Now with the evolution of AIs the scenario is a bit uncertain, but I would say to practice a lot, with the most varied styles and techniques until you find your own style. I’d also advise to stay in touch with the community, with real people and be aware of your surroundings. It’s very important to remember to stretch too haha
8. Are there any art materials (physical or virtual) that you couldn’t live without?
Not exactly. At the moment I’ve been pretty computer dependent as I’ve developed a style that is predominantly digital. But I’ve been missing making prints again, especially woodcuts. Hope to find time soon for that. But a pencil and a notebook are enough to make me happy.
Keep an eye on the rest of the Blog Tour which will take us all the way to Non Fiction November – the perfect time to be celebrating this eye-catching book which, you’ll be pleased to know, is OUT NOW!