"My new leather shoes clacked against the gray linoleum."

From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami, the italian edition of
an illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library.
A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from
the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.


Illustrating poetry.

I had the great honor of illustrating “The Strange Library” by the great Haruki Murakami for Giulio Einaudi Editore.
The work included 25 illustrations, including the cover piece, which were created during a 6 month work trip in the USA.
The illustrations were completed in the Utah deserts, so I had to adopt a very basic technique that involved HB lumograph pencil with the rare intrusion of a prismacolor black pencil.


Blinding darkness

The illustrations are gritty, shaded graphite pieces with a strong, symbolic color coding.
Linework melted in a more photographic (not photoreal) take on shapes and volumes.  
I tried to bring the viewer deep down into perceptual darkness taking advantage of blinding backlights defining
main undertoned areas rather than going a more obvious full black approach.


I began with quick but precise digital sketches (images above) for early editorial approval.

I then made pencil illustrations that would serve as a black channel for three spot color silkscreens (image below).


I was continually moving my workplace during the whole book production and I had to deal with very limited space and commodities.
Luckily enough I could find a battery operated lightpad so I could trace my digital drafts even in extreme conditions. 
Whenever I had the chance to work on a computer, I made the final digital touches.

It was an amazing opportunity: this short story is a thing of beauty, and I still can’t believe my fortune to help visualize it.
Considering the other international editions are by huge artists like Chip Kidd, Kat Menschik, and Maki Sasaki,
I had to take a very deep breath to accept the challenge!


Italian edition: