Andrea Mancini illustrates The Girl Who Counted Ants

by Sofia Laskari and Adriana Sblendorio
Art by Andrea Mancini

The course Art and Places: from Renaissance Florence Contemporary the
Metropolis exposes its students to Florence’s art and built environment, seen under the lens of patronage and politics over times. These are always important factors impacting art. With this is mind, and to take part to the 2019 TuttoToscana program, on our second day of class we went to visit Andrea Mancini’s exhibition entitled The Girl Who Counted Ants at the FUA-AUF hospitality campus in Florence. Andrea Mancini is a Florentine artist who specializes in digital illustration and painting. Starting his artistic career at a young age, he grew up with an inclination and admiration towards comics and graphic design. Working under the wing of master
animator Tomislav Spikic, Andrea set up a strong foundation for his artistic future. Going on to design advertisement campaigns with big Italian names, he began to develop a strong visual communication platform and with his recruitment in the company Leader, his career took off. Andrea went on to travel all around the globe to display his works and to attend renowned artist’s studios in Japan, the United States and of course a multitude of cities in the European continent. In our interview, Andrea shared the biggest inspirations of his artistic vocation, which began with two legendary artists of the 70s: American graphic designer Milton Glaser and French illustrator and cartoonist Jean Giraud who goes by the alias Moebius. Andrea’s accomplishments include being featured in the “Lohengrin” opera production, winning the Fiorino prize for visual arts, and some of his first works being displayed in Bologna Art Fair.
In the exhibition, The Girl Who Counted Ants, where he collaborates with author Gabriella Ganugi in order to form a true representation of a real character, Andrea chooses to utilize his expertise in digital watercolor, his ideal medium. The series of colorful panels envelop and expound our heroine’s character by using a suitable color palette and appropriate curvilinear brushstrokes. The vibrant blue, greens, yellows and pinks evoke the quirkiness of the narrative and highlight the vigor of La Gabri’s childhood.
Andrea took the opportunity to illustrate The Girl Who Counted Ants to reconnect with his previous career. He revealed that the most important part of the process for the book was him was defining the main character, La Gabri. During his creative process he wanted to incorporate all of the characteristics that Gabriella Ganugi, the author of the children’s book, has and portrayed through La Gabri. Andrea explains that the first draft of his visualization of the main character was completely different from the final result. The young girl was blonde with curls in her hair and seemed somewhat timid. She was, however, a dynamic young lady full of curiosity and energy who found interest in the strangest activities, including counting ants. He then goes on to account for the change of line and brushstroke structure. From a more rigid and static formulation of the bodies, he transformed them into images in motion with curves and twists.
The collaboration between the two creative minds produce a harmonic alignment between past and present, reality and fiction and between the real world and the aesthetic.