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Salvatore Rubbino

As a child

I liked to daydream and draw a lot when I was small. Now that I'm a lot bigger I still daydream and draw but I call this 'work' instead. I grew up in London very near the Arsenal Stadium in Highbury but unfortunately this didn't make me any better at football. I loved the excitement of living in a big city, where things moved fast and there was always something interesting to point at. In fact, I'm still inspired by city life, the endless cast of characters on the street, the changing architecture and by the thrill of not knowing what I might see around the next corner.

As an adult

I studied printmaking at art college and discovered that you could think about drawing in lots of different ways. I started to combine words with my pictures and this inevitably led to making books and telling stories. I love the way a good story or picture can take you on an adventure and introduce you to wonderful new things. Later on at the Royal College of Art I studied illustration, and in 2005 was short-listed for the Victoria and Albert Museum Illustration Awards for a series of paintings set in New York. This series has been transformed into my first picture book, A Walk in New York, and it charts the adventure of a walk through the Big Apple.

As an artist

Drawing and observation underpins the way I work and helps me to achieve a well-informed response to a project. I like taking my sketchbook with me wherever I go. I have pages full of bumpy drawings made whilst on a train, pages stained by the rain when I've been caught out without an umbrella and other pages contain conversations that I have heard in passing and jotted down. There's always something that sparks off my curiosity when I'm out and about and drawing helps me to understand what I'm looking at. As well as working as an illustrator I teach at various art colleges. Each discipline feeds the other and I always learn a great deal from the students.

Things you didn't know about Salvatore Rubbino

  1. I like eating ice cream with my son (he usually ends up eating most of it!).
  2. We also like visiting building sites together to watch the diggers and dump trucks 'in action'.
  3. When I get stuck for an idea I go for a long walk and this helps me to see things in a new light.
  4. I often work on my pictures late at night when everyone else is asleep. You can tune into some strange and wonderful radio programmes that you can't hear at other times.
  5. I love travelling by airplane and always ask for the window seat; clouds are so beautiful especially when you see them up close!
  6. I hate wearing socks with holes in them.
  7. I like to eat smelly cheese but this doesn't make me many friends.
  8. I like to read on the train and sometimes miss my stop.
  9. I still have the first paintbrush that I ever bought (aged 10).
  10. My favourite quote is by the 19th century German thinker, Goethe. He says: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

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