As a child
I was born in the north of Italy and spent my childhood between Milan and a little town called Lovere on the lake Iseo. I attended the Montessori institute primary school and my secondary school was a Musical Institute. Both helped to develop my creativity a lot. For as long as I can remember I‘ve always been good at drawing, but I also really enjoyed singing and playing instruments and was also comfortable using technology. I liked cartoons, comics & video games.
I have always been a very independent person and I started young. I often played quietly on my own and since I had young and quite “bohemian” parents, I probably had more freedom to experiment than most kids. I suppose I didn’t have an ordinary childhood in the traditional sense. For example I didn’t have “rules” & my sense of responsibility developed independently. I could watch television until late and walked on my own around the city from quite a young age. This self-reliant childhood challenged me as person, it had its difficulties, but it also gave me the opportunity to become an open minded and resourceful individual and gave me the confidence to chase my dream of becoming an artist.
As an adult
I attended the European Institute of Design (IED) in Milan and achieved a BA in Illustration and Multimedia Animation. I further developed my illustration skills and I built my own portfolio after the university as I started my illustrator/Animator/Graphic Design career. Commission by commission I learnt how to draw and to become a professional.
While I was still living in Milan, I joined a UK illustration agency specializing in children’s book and my interests started to move in that direction. When I came to London for the first time to meet my agent, I fell in love with the city. After a couple of years, and a brief experience in Paris, I decided to leave Italy and to move to UK. I was lucky enough to attend Cambridge school of Art and achieved an MA in children’s books, a fantastic experience which launched me into the world of children’s book publishing. Following this, I published two books and developed my English a bit more – always learning!
I am now living in London, this city offers me many opportunities and it is a continuous fountain of inspiration. I frequently work as an artist in an animation studio and as a freelance Illustrator from home.
I am pretty confident in my skills as illustrator, but to be honest, I’m less confident as Author/Writer. I find writing pretty challenging; I have started many stories but only finished a handful because of the plot. I’m working on my third title at the moment and I’m still waiting for an epiphany!
As an artist/author
I prefer working around other artists rather than alone. I like to work in the studios when I have the opportunity. When I was in Milan I had my own space in a big studio with others illustrators and friends and I enjoyed it a lot. I find a bit lonely to work from home sometimes, but also I enjoy the peace as it can help me to focus better on my projects. Social networking helps too in many ways, helping keep me connected with friends, collaborators and clients.
At the moment I’m working as a freelance illustrator from home but also as an artist in an animation studio in Wimbledon studio. I wanted to challenge myself working in a real studio with other talented people. I find it inspires me and can by very satisfying.
I’m very excited and proud about my second book as author, “The Really Abominable Snowman” which will be published in November 2014 by Walker Books. It’s the story of a lonely monster considered abominable by everyone, but rather than abominable he is adorable. It’s something I’m most proud of.
I’m also quite attached to my first book published in 2013 with Top That Publishing called “The Tragic Tale of Dwayne the Eating Monster”. It’s a funny lift-the-flap book about a monster that can’t stop eating and growing.
As an illustrator I have also had some other titles published: “Dinosaurs rhyme time” with Faber and Faber, “Puff Flies” with Tick Tock Publishing, “Pink Bunny” with Wise Walrus and some other educational books with Italian and American publishers. However the most satisfying experience is to work as author on my own projects.
Currently I’m trying to write my third book: it’s about a boy who’s looking to find his own talent. Apparently he is a disaster in everything…or is he?
Things you didn’t know about Valentina Mendicino
- I don’t like drama, sad stories or tragedies. I love happiness and funny things, even better if they are colourful, scented and preferably fluffy.
- I love cats and my favorite animal is the red panda.
- I love good food, happy music, travelling to new places and sleep. I don’t really enjoy the gym but it’s something I have to do! I like playing tennis though. I don’t like reading books without pictures
- I’m not good at all with discipline and I don’t like rules or formality. I just want to do what I want and like – doesn’t everyone?
- I love all kinds of games and toys.
- I like using technology to create my art and don’t like paint too much…I wish to be better with it!
- I’m a funny person when I want and I’m a loyal friend. I’m kind, sensitive and generous. Modest too!
- I can’t stand selfishness and I don’t like ignorance.
- I like trash television and I love animated movies!
- I would like to visit the planet Zorg!