AnnaLaura Cantone wanted to be an artist from the time she was a child. She hated school and just wanted to draw. In fact, when she had writing assignments, she would write very large and would include lots of drawings.
She was born in 1977 in a city called Alessandria, near Turin, Italy, and attended the Istituto de Arte and the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. AnnaLaura is now a children's book illustrator with books published in several countries and an instructor in illustration at the Istituto Europeo di Design.
"Push children to use lots of imagination. Use everyday materials and recycle things to create something new. That allows all of us to be free to try something new and different. If you use expensive materials you are going to be afraid to try for fear of wasting precious materials."
How does she create her illustrations? She draws with pencil, acrylics and brushes and does a lot of collages with all sorts of materials: small squares of cotton fabric, rubber, metal stamps, beads, sometimes clay (to create the eyes for some of her characters), painted coffee beans, pompoms, matchsticks, and even the discarded packaging from cookies. AnnaLaura is an environmentally-friendly artist, and likes to get a little dirt on her hands while working.
She loves the 3-D effect and she scans fabrics and coloured paper to help create the characters, background and the colour fields. She uses two lines around the characters: one black to define the character and one red to give it a vibrant effect. She also uses a sewing machine to stitch some of the designs and borders on the pages.
AnnaLaura’s favorite artist is Picasso. She also likes Robert Rauschenberg, the Pop Artist, for collage and the abstract expressionist, Mark Rothko for colour.
AnnaLaura's new book is Prudence and Moxie by Deborah Noyes, a picture book about an unusual friendship.