Felicita Sala’s work is full of life and colour, and given depth by the way she uses her materials. Felicita talks to us about her technique and the road that brought her to working in freelance illustration after having started on a completely different career path.
As she goes on to talk about below, Felicita uses a combination of watercolour and pencil to create her illustrations. Using them in this way, layering them together, gives a lot of weight to her work and some really nice contrast.
We really like the edge of the pencils set against the lighter touches of watercolour.
With such strong work, it’s interesting to hear her story and learn that illustration isn’t what she had been doing from the start. It’s something that really found her, which is so great to hear. When it feels right, it feels right!
I was born in Rome but grew up in Perth, western Australia, where I studied philosophy and did a bit of painting on the side.
It was after a few years travelling that I realised ‘on the side’ wasn’t good enough and that painting for painting’s sake didn’t really do it for me anymore.
I discovered illustration while in Rome one year, where I met some people who did it as a job. It was much more than I had imagined it to be, and I thought, this is what I could do.
I moved back to rome 8 years ago and have spent that time trying to work my way into the world of (primarily) children’s book illustration, though I do a lot of editorial work as well. At the moment I am working on 3 children’s books for different publishers which will come out in the next couple of years.
I used to work with acrylics a lot at the beginning, but my main technique is a watercolour base and coloured pencil on top. I love the textural roughness of pencils. I oscillate a lot between using more watercolour in certain pieces and only pencil in others.
I have done some animated stop motion videos with my drawings, together with my husband Gianluca who is a plasticine sculptor and animator.
We made a music video which was fun, but a lot of work! But I prefer to work on still images where I have more control of proportions and space.
My favourite part of this job is trying to create a visual counterpart to a text. The more difficult or poetic the text, the more interesting the work. This is the essence of illustration I think, making words important, but going beyond them.
© Felicita Sala, 2014