Illustration by Giulia Buratti
We had the pleasure of chatting with Giulia Buratti, a 27-year-old illustrator originally from Versilia, Tuscany, Italy, more specifically Forte dei Marmi. Beginning our interview with Giulia Buratti, she tells us, “My father passed on to me a love for art, although he never had success with sculpture: he has been a craftsman in Pietrasanta for more than 30 years. I have always had a predilection for 2D drawing, especially for comics; in fact, after graduating from Liceo Artistico Stagio Stagi in Pietrasanta, I graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara in 2020.”
During those years Giulia was part of an art collective with which she participated in various events and exhibitions in the area. Then, as she tells us, “I needed a change of scenery so, also in the same year, I enrolled in the biennial Comics program at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, where I currently live. In the year 2023, I decided to freeze my studies to devote myself completely to my career as an Illustrator.”
Giulia Buratti’s techniques and works
Giulia’s artistic style has been consolidated only in the last year, after the many researches and studies she has been carrying out since the beginning of her artistic career at the Academy of Ferrara. The advent of digital even in the world of illustration has been a focal and changing point in the workflow of many illustrators, as Giulia herself admits, “I have to admit that I have to give great credit to the Ipad I bought, again a year ago, because, perhaps, it was what gave me the final push to get where I am now.
And, she continue: “Digital has been a great option because it allows me to easily create so many layers of textures and effects, thanks to the wide range of brushes I can access without having to do the always time-consuming preparation of materials. One of my many shortcomings is that I have no patience.”
Giulia’s approach to digital, however, began long before the iPad, when she was still in high school and was given a graphics tablet, the kind without a screen, to attach to my laptop and draw with Photoshop.
“I didn’t mind, although I preferred to draw on paper, probably also out of habit: especially in the beginning I had a hard time getting used to drawing not by looking at the paper I was working on, but by looking at the screen in front of me,” she says, and again, “I also never appreciated the complexity of Photoshop and the cumbersome way I was forced to work. So, eventually, I lost the desire and the habit of using both the graphics tablet and Photoshop, preferring analog drawing.
Illustrations by Giulia Buratti.
Returning to the initial concept of the talk Giulia makes a small clarification: “By style I mean everything about the design, preparation and visual rendering of the final product. So also the use you make of a certain tool and medium (even the IPad itself for example, because the use of digital is also a stylistic choice), the choice of colors and their arrangement, how you determine the space. But it is also the whole part of research, of studies implemented throughout my life that has brought me to today.”
Giulia’s Creative Evolution
Why do you bring illustrations versus comic boards? Giulia to this question answers, “At the moment I find that illustrations better satisfy the narrative mode I need: in an image I describe better what is happening and it is more immediate what I want to tell. more immediate what I want to tell. What I dwell on most are everyday, human and social relationships through light, fresh, comic and light-hearted storytelling. I like to exaggerate proportions, movements and perspective giving both dynamism but also a touch of the grotesque, never exaggerated. I used to put a lot more emphasis on facial expressions, another thing that comes a lot from studying sequential images.”
Whereas before Giulia used to give a lot of importance to facial expressions, which is something that comes a lot from the study of sequential images, now she prefers to turn her attention to body language, making faces smaller, strong, and broad shoulders with rounded, muscular limbs, large, dynamic hands, which in body language are more significant.
“The environment and objects are often constructed based on the characters; I’ve never been a landscape painter. I have never been a landscape painter. I’ve tried to do it, but with poor results, but it’s a challenge I’m not letting go!” she concludes.
Illustrations by Giulia Buratti.
From the point of view of colors and lineart with Procreate, she tries to recreate the natural and cool effect of watercolor using this type of brush as a base, then creates the shading and details that give some depth through a brush that simulates the scratchy and dry effect of graphite, to diversify the various objects, clothes and accessories. Same if she has to make animals in a wild and natural setting.
Continuing our interview with Giulia Buratti, she says: “For Lineart I almost always use a graphite-type brush, especially for the basic one, while to enrich and detail it better I use a soft brush that simulates the effect of watercolor on wet, or a Japanese nib effect.” she continue.
With Giulia, we then approach the idea also of not giving too much importance to the draft, as she states, “Another beautiful flaw of mine (I attribute it as a flaw because I have a rather classical approach to drawing derived from academic studies and my father’s influence, for others it might not be so since the freedom of making art should not only be visible in the final product but felt by the artist throughout the process of making it) was to not give too much importance to the draft. I was overconfident and overconfident about the final result, which of course in my head was absolutely incredible, but turned out not to be entirely consistent with what I had imagined.”
Impatience also did not work in Giulia’s favor, which continues: “Yes, impatience as well did not work in my favor! Of this darn I still have after-effects but certainly much more muted since now the draft and character studies have become indispensable. I do them in pencil or pen. The pen is one of those tools that I recommend especially for those who want to practice to be able to take away the initial anxiety and insecurity.”
“The pen in fact cannot be erased and forces you to revise all the strokes, the wrong passages that, out of fear of error, we had erased. The act of erasing can often be counterproductive because it doesn’t make you realize where to correct, which is why you always have anxiety about making mistakes!”
Giulia makes drafts in analog because in digital I still do not find all the naturalness I have while drawing on paper, so afterwards I scan the drawing and proceed with making the final illustration.
The illustrators and artists who have inspired Giulia are numerous, but she would like to primarily mention the illustrator and comic artist behind the Gorillaz project, Jamie Hewlett, and the renowned Japanese comic artist and director, Katsuhiro Otomo, both in terms of character design. Other significant influences on her development are Italian illustrators Veronica Ruffato and Gianluca Foli, along with American illustrator Molly Mendoza.
In conclusion of this interview with Giulia Buratti, it has been a genuine pleasure to hear Giulia’s story, filled with challenges, techniques, and inspirations that accompany her on her artistic journey. At the same time, it has been wonderful to admire her undoubtedly high-quality work. If you’d like to get to know her better and see more of her creations and updates, you can visit her Instagram page.