"My artworks reflect my perceptions. In fact, they take shape from my readings, from things I see and listen”. With this words, Sardinian illustrator and cartoonist Daniele Serra starts talking about his career, which includes covers and illustration projects for horror and fantasy books at the international level.
Born in 1977, after achieving a diploma as electronics consultant, Daniele spends 7 years working as a graphic designer in advertising, and in this circumstance he first gets familiar with illustration and graphics’ software.
It is not wrong to say that Daniele’s artistic profile followed a reverse order: “With a background in graphics, I started practicing with digital painting first, and then I moved to hand-drawing, a technique marks the majority of my production today”.
Accordingly, Daniele’s work originates from oil on canvas, watercolour or Indian ink. His imagination of gloomy visions and quite dark shapes takes inspiration from influences such as the German expressionism, the horror school of Bava and Lucio Fulci, readings like Hoffmann and Pirandello, as well as the fantasy style of Dick and Asimov.
“All these influences take part in the creative process and then are put on paper”. Looking at his own style, Daniele would describe himself as a decadent author, with a dark, gothic approach. That is what he finds very romantic, by the way. “Most of the time, behind my work there are no rules or rigid schemes, it is mostly a matter of instinct instead.”
“My research still has a long way to go”, says Daniele, reflecting loud about the amount of work to do improvements to make before to consider himself satisfied. “I still have a lot to learn”.
Despite his modest approach, Daniele has achieved important recognitions at the international level, such as the British Fantasy Award as the best illustrator in 2012.
“The most important thing for me is to inject emotions through my work. This is why I was so happy when I got the British Fantasy Award: it represented a sort of evidence that I achieved the aim”.
With absolute simplicity, Daniele tells about exceptional projects like the ones with DC Comics and the Image, the most popular publishing houses in the US when it comes to comics.
Also, his portfolio includes commitments from editors of high profile such as PS Publishing, Oneiros Books, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales Magazine and Guanda in Italy, and the graphic novel Carne, together with the Sardinian writer Marcello Fois.
More recently, Daniele produced an art book whose intro was signed by the American writer and scriptwriter Jeff Mariotte, along with a cover quote by the writer Joe Lansdale. The book is available online.
In Daniele’s life, there are two big pillars: “First of all, there is Mara, my wife. Secondly, my homeland: Sardinia. This is all I need to be happy: being together in my house in Cagliari, and spend hours sitting at my desk and drawing”.
by Carlotta Comparetti
Photocredit: Mara Lasi