Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sergio Asteriti

Sergio Asteriti was born in Venice on February 13 1930 and, after junior school, attended the Venice's Scuola di Magisterto d’Arte, intent on a career in advertising. His first comics work appeared in 1949 when he drew the series I bucanieri for Risveglio, which was distributed around schools in Venice.

After taking only one examination, he left school and moved to Milan, finding work with the publicity agency SPINTA where his workload included drawing movie posters featuring many of the actors in vogue at the time. Two years later, the company went bankrupt and Asteriti found himself in Milan without any work.

Not wishing to return to Venice in defeat, Asteriti hawked his portfolio around various publishers. His interest in comics had developed as a child and, whilst still in Venice, he had known Giorgio Trevisan and Leone Frollo, the latter a Venetian contemporary who introduced him to Giorgio Bellavitis, and other members of the Asso di Picche group, Faustinelli, Ongaro and Pratt.

He found work with Giuseppe Caregaro in 1955 and was one of a group of talented newcomers who began working for Caregaro's Edizioni Alpe around that era. Asteriti created the character 'Bingo Bongo', the comic adventures of a young black boy, for the weekly Cucciolo. Other strips from this period included 'Congolino' and 'Capitan Jolando', as well as covers for Voici d'Oltremare di Bianconi/Missionari Combboniani and contributions to La Vispa Teresa.

In 1958, Asteriti began working for the English market via Creazioni D'Ami, often working in collaboration with Antonio Lupatelli, who had been drawing 'Fun in Toyland' and 'The Funny Tales of Freddie Frog' for the nursery weekly Jack and Jill since 1956. Asteriti assisted on both strips and eventually took them over, 'Freddie Frog' was passed on to other artists in 1960, but Asteriti continued to work on 'Fun in Toyland' for many years, as well as contributing to the Jack and Jill Annual. Some of his work was translated into Italian in the pages of Bimbo e Bimba, an Italian edition of Jack and Jill.

He continued to draw for the British market until the mid-1970s, also contributing to Bobo Bunny, and illustrations to Disneyland and Walt Disney's Now I Know.

His work also continued to appear in Italy where he worked illustrated romance novels for Rizzoli editore in the late 1950s and then revived the character 'Formichino' (created by Roberto Sgrilli) for Selezione dei Ragazzi. In the early 1960s he also drew 'Hayawatha' for Corriere dei Piccoli in collaboration with Antonio Lupatelli. Asteriti has alos illustrated fairy stories for AMZ, Boschi and Carroccio.

In 1963, Asteriti produced 'Pippo e la vacanza culturale', his first strip for the Italian Disney magazine Topolino. Over the next decade he contributed to Disney Italia with increasing regularity, drawing both Pippo (Goofy) and Topolino (Mickey Mouse). He quickly became recognised as one of the leading contributors, both as an artist and, since 1974, a scriptwriter (a task he occasionally shared with his older brother, Franco), and eventually dropped his other work in order to concentrate on Disney characters full time, especially Mickey Mouse. Asteriti has described Mickey as "the best friend of my childhood", a character with whom he grew up. "The only drawback is that I have grown older while he has remained the same, young and healthy, without ever catching a cold!"

Having written and drawn hundreds of stories, Asteriti continues to be one of the major contributors to Italian Disney comics, his illustrative, decorative style perfectly suited for adventures set in medieval and fairy-tale locations

"The public prefer Donald... Personally, what I like most about Mickey Mouse is that he is pure adventure, with situations that are not necessarily comic. [Mickey] can live in any age, in any circumstance, whether it's western, historical or science fiction. There are no limits of time or space for him. It's greatly satisfying and never boring... I love Mickey Mouse when I find the right balance between adventure poetry and humour. It's a difficult balance which involves a good dose of loving effort by both those who write it and whoever draws."

He was awarded Il Premio Papersera in 2008.

Examples of his artwork can be found for sale here.

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