Hello everyone, thanks for this interview. My name is Emanuele, I am a comic books artist and colorist born in Venice and moved, for 5 years now, to Florence.
During my career I have worked for many Italian and international publishers and since I moved to the Tuscan capital, together with my partner Linda Cavallini I started the activity of Independent Publisher, producing our books but also those of many young authors of our beautiful country.
2. What does it means to be a cartoonist in Italy today?
It means work really hard. Live and work in a difficult market, full of contradictions, which rests on a glorious past but which fails despite the solidity of its “foundations” to renew itself and relaunch itself towards a more global openness.
We are Italian, now we have very few merits and many faults and among them there is the presumption of believing that we are always the best in everything. As we bask in our beliefs, the rest of the world move on, evolves, renews itself and we struggle to keep up with it. Even in comics it’s like: being designers today means fighting a personal war, for personal and professional self-definition in a country where the value of art and culture is totally lost. Difficult.
3. In the Italian market you have collaborated with Sergio Bonelli publisher for Dylan Dog and Dampyr. Can you tell us about this experience?
It was an interesting experience, like all the professional collaborations in recent years.
I was hired to color a commemorative book of Dylan Dog, the 250, written by Tiziano Sclavi and designed by Bruno Brindisi, and from there I worked for other issues of other titles, such as Dampyr and some artistic advice for Tex.
I also helped Giovanni Gualdoni to create the “Dylan Dog Color Fest”, a magazine that was very popular with readers at the beginning. Working in Bonelli, you know, is “reassuring”: you are part of a solid company, with functional mechanisms, you become a “pampered cartoonist”, with a finally normal salary and the stable security of those who can think of work without worrying about the future.
4. Despite the collaboration with Sergio Bonelli Editore you have been, and still are, much more active in the French market. Is there a reason in particular? For your industry, does France offer something more or different than Italy?
France, in proportion, has always offered “something” more, compared to Italy, especially from the economic point of view, but this is not the element that led me to cooperate with cousins across the Alps, is above all the format and kind of comic book, which I feel more akin to my way of telling.
Large books, color pages, care of “materials” for an idea of comics that also becomes an “object” and not just an economic book to read while you are at the toilet.
Using an analogy, if the Bonellian comic can be compared to a series for television, the French comic is the cinema; and I have always conceived of my stories as “cinematographic”. And clearly, then, there is the economic aspect as I said at the beginning: the French market, of media, is more prosperous, with more readers and more awareness of the visual and cultural importance of the medium and therefore it is a market more in health and the professionals do it better.
5. In 2014 you collaborated with Linda Cavallini for the realization of the Lumina Project, funded thanks to a fundraising launched on an international website of collective financing, and in 2017 the release of Lumina 2. Can you tell us how it went?
Lumina was the project that gave rise to the whole idea around Tatai Lab.
Linda and I wanted to create a project that would give vent to our artistic creativity, a narrative universe to inject all the visual baggage that was thrilling us from video games and from sci-fi movies. The crowdfunding campaign was an instrument almost by chance, not that we were skeptical about it, but we had not planned from the beginning to use it to try to finance our idea.
At the beginning, indeed, we had also tried, in a very standard way to present our idea to various publishers, after the first, classic, “fatigue” relational with editorial realities not in line with our thinking, we decided to go for our road and try crowdfunding. It went to the overwhelming: we were the first project, comics, Italian to reach a record share: 60,000 euros. From there was an escalation of construction and satisfaction that led us, in fact, to “have to create” (I put in quotes because it was a need for enthusiasm) the publisher that contained our design idea: Tatai Lab.
After the brilliant achievement of the crowdfunding objectives with Canvas, and Anima, we repeated the success with the second volume of Lumina, released only a couple of months ago, and now we are preparing to start working on the third volume and the real explosion of all the Tatai Lab catalog.
6. In this project you have used the innovative Hyperflat technique. What is it about?
It is a method of coloring, of my invention, which allows me to create a cinematographic “photograph” of the cartoons, by superimposing the levels of photoshop. It is more a “procedural philosophy” than a real instrument.
I construct each vignette thinking of the focus of the image and the depths that are blurred, and then developing them by opening or narrowing the overlaps between the color level so that the eye sees areas with very well defined contours (the parts “in focus” “) And confused areas (the” blurred “parts).
It’s like using the photoshop blur, but building it manually.
More difficult to explain than to see it! The name hyperflat makes the verse to the superflat style of the contemporary artist Murakami.
7. How do you think the cartoon industry will evolve in the next few years?
I think that the comic sector will evolve in an interesting way in the meaning especially of many, small but strong authors who alone, or collectively, will create their own personal space in direct contact with the public: a sort of “mini-amazon” personalized, where everyone will have his own online store, which will represent the window of his editorial activity and will take care of the relationship with the public directly, without the need for further intermediaries.
It is a phenomenon already strongly underway, but that will certainly explode over the next few years (see also the explosion of crowdfunding campaigns or independent publication tools).
I emphasize, however, the strong adjective, associated with the authors who will be the protagonists of this evolution: precisely because it takes strength to build one’s profession, in the sense of being totally independent and modeling a new and modern market, and this force will necessarily arrive at the highest level of professionalism.
In short: study, study, improve and study again, there is a war to fight and you have to be ready!
Thank you for your time and good luck for your future 🙂