Interview with Freelance & Celebrated Illustrator Lucilla Tubaro

“I consider myself a middle way between two extremes.”

Born in Rome in the eclectic eighties, Lucilla Tubaro has been drawing for as long she can remember. Graduating with a degree in Illustration at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics in Rome, and then, at the Ars In Fabula Master in Macerata, Lucilla has worked as a freelance Illustrator since 2017.

We had the honor of interviewing the award-recognized artist to learn more about her background in art and Lucilla herself, and that is Lucilla spelled with two L’s!

Tell us about your background and the road that led you to become a designer and illustrator.

Drawing is part of my life since I have memory.

I raised up looking my mum painting and handworking in her days-off, and I have had the fortune to enjoy drawing with her during my childhood; but, actually, for long time my classical studies led me to other roads and drawing has been only a passion I fed silently.

After my University studies in foreign languages and cultures I felt the urge to make drawing become a job, so I began studying drawing and painting techniques in Rome. But I felt it wasn’t enough, so I decided to attend a masterclass in illustration in Macerata and there my approach to drawing – and my whole life – began to change.

I would redo everything I did.

Do you sketch your designs by hand first, or do you design all digitally?

I love drawing and painting by hand.

I love the sensation of the acrylic under the paintbrush, the sound of the pencils on the roughness of paper. But, at the same time I am pretty curious [people who knows me define me as a little-curly-vol- cano] and I use to get bored easily in doing always the same things, thus I need to change frequently.

So, I approached to digital drawing as an alternative to my ordinary routine, and now it is became an integration of my way of working.

Congratulations on your work’s well-deserved recognition, including Illustra Competition Award – Goethe Institut + Look – Night Stories. Tell us about the award and what inspired you to enter the competition.

Thank you! It was a competition I’ve loved working on.

It was an opportunity that Goethe Institut gave to several art academies in italy and in Germany. At that time I was just graduated at Ars in Fabula Master in Macerata, and as all the students of my class, I was involved in that competition.

When I read the nightstories, I was completely overwhelmed by the atmosphere they depicted, so I decided to express my sensations. It was my first, real competition and it was an unexpected goal!

The award was a money prize, but the most grateful award was the surprise to have being shortlisted as one of the three winners, because it was kept secret until the beginning of the award ceremony.

Has art always been an outlet for expressing yourself?

Yes, it did. I think I’ve put in my art most of my feelings, rages, loves, disappointments and experiences.

Now that art is not longer – or not only – an inner passion, but mostly a job, it need to change its aim.

I have to deal with commissions, so I need to find a meeting point between the request and what I have to say about that request through my art. Of course, I continue to express myself and my inner life by using that shapes or colors rather than others.

The renewed discussion of feminism is playing a major role in today’s society. What is your personal advice for women on how to work less competitively and more collaboratively in their respective field?

I hardly believe in collaboration and I think the secret to work – and live- less competitively is to discredit the axiom for which somebody’s winnings means a defeat for someone else.

Collaborating means creating bridges between two realities that would otherwise never meet themselves, thus remaining isolated.

Everyone of us have something to learn and something to teach; mentioning one of the best monologues that in my opinion cinema have ever had: “Don’t waste your time on jealousy; some- times you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with your- self” [The Big Kahuna]

Who were your women role models growing up? And whom do you admire today?

I’ve grown up with the model of an indipendent woman, respectful of herself as more as the others. Often, we are led to think that is important to please everyone, shaping ourselves in tags we don’t fit, in stereotypes we are not.

It is an illusion, and moreover, it is not true. 

I admire every woman who is going to discredit this chliché.

How did being born and raised in Rome inspire your artwork?

It’ s true, I raised in Rome but my roots are not roman at all. My mum is from Sicily, my dad has Friulan origins. I define myself as a meeting point. [laughs]

My melting origins are my real inspiration, and in that moment of my life I am searching them more than ever.

Tell us about some of your past work and collaborations. Are there any projects that you feel are your biggest accomplishments?

I am 33 and I am in that period of life in which you add it all up.

I use to be very critical with myself, especially with my past works; but I learnt that everything I did with care is revealing useful and fruitful both for my personal and carreer paths, even what I didn’t think it was.

In terms of collaborations, I have had the fortune to meet precious persons during my journey in illustration. One of this is one of my classmates of the Master, Francesco Montesanti [yes, a man!]. When it is possible, we develop projects together and it’s such a blast!

Collaboration with SCENARIO DNA NY it was very important for me because it was a great deal with editorial illustration as a professional. I am grateful for this opportunity.

I really loved collaborating with “Carie Letterarie”too, an interesting magazine for which I illu- strated two stunning tales and with THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG, by illustrating songs in mix tape format. Working with illustration in music field is my secret wish.

Now I’am working on a picture book with a Chilean publisher and I am really enjoying working on it. I think it will be a great work.

As any respectful artist would say, my biggest accomplishment is yet to come! [laugh]

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs?

I am still on the way of Illustrations many roads, but if I had to give an advice for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs is: “hold on!”

Working with art is very far from the romantic idea of artist contempling horizon and get inspired by a coming storm. It means lots of sacrifice.

Unproductive days happen, go out for a walk. Productive days happen, make the most.

Be open to constructive criticism, forget the useless ones.

Be yourself.

Put love in what you do, even when it costs many personal crisis. Go through that, it’s worth it.

What is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?

Mentioning Michelle Obama’s words:”The measure of any society is how it treats it’s women and girls. Sadly translated: “The measure of our society is still incredibly far for what is ought to be in terms of equality, sexuality and taboos on feminine body”. 

Thus, I am going to be incredibly dowdy, but for me a Raw Femme is any woman or girl who won’t stand still and go on fighting in her own little to create the society she deserves, acting proudly and disregarding anyone who tries to devalue or obstacle her.