Andrea De Santis' SPACE KIDS

Space isn't what it was when I was a kid. Not only is Pluto no longer a planet, there's all this space junk up there now. So, our kids need new books to learn about it! Enter Andrea De Santis' all the way from Italy. He stopped by to talk about this entertaining and educational book from Little Gestalten Press.

e: What is your creative process/medium for SPACE KIDS, can you walk us through it?
Andrea :
It was a very special experience, even though I have worked for years in the toys sector and been publishing on many magazines, this is my first children's book entirely illustrated by myself. It was not an easy task to make my illustration purely conceptual and readable even for children, and the merit goes to the Editorial Manager Angela Francis of Gestalten who directed me helped me to make the right choices.
      Gestalten wanted me to maintain the same poetic approach that I usually use in my illustrations, and I hope I succeeded in this. Undoubtedly it was very helpful the theme treated "space" that has a good dose of poetry within it.
My first step, perhaps the most important, was trying to think about a context, the characters and to make this book fun and rich of elements. What's better than a group of aspiring little astronauts who page after page fantasize on their space travel chasing nebulous stars and planets?
      Each scene has been designed to create a connection between earth and space, for example in the reflections of a river or in a glimpsed sunset over the hills we can see constellations nebulas and planets with which our little heroes interact, each kids in the story is passionate about different scientific aspects related to space. At the end of their long day of discovery they meet in their little house on the tree / spaceship to tell everyone about their adventure and their dreams.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Andrea :
I think that what makes an illustration magical is also connected to the state of mind of who creates it, what it wants to transmit through it, putting something personal as much as possible. When I work I do not limit myself to interpret the message linked to the article or to a story, but I want also to look even minimally to think and identify myself with the character that lives in my illustrations. When everything works, people immediately perceive all messages and the sensations I want to communicate, the most sensitive people are those who immediately catch all this.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of SPACE KIDS?
Andrea :
There is a curiosity that is hidden in the pages of Space Kids that perhaps the fans of illustrated books will notice. I wanted to dedicate to the great illustrator and author Miroslav Sasek (1916-1980) and pages 18 and 19 are inspired by his book for children "This is the way to the moon“. There are many references to his representations of the Cape Canaveral space museum with its typical palm trees among the exposed rockets.
e: How do you advertise yourself?
Andrea :
Mainly on several socials like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Behance, and by the fantastic agency in Frankfurt the Kombinatrottweiss Illustration which represents me.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Andrea :
There are many challenging parts to deal with, such as to invent something new and try to convey a clear and immediate message. There are also many aspects of my job that I love, including seeing my work appreciated and knowing that there are people who follow me constantly.
e: Is there something in particular about SPACE KIDS you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Andrea :
A small detail, perhaps not very obvious, is a small rocket-shaped tree house in the upper right corner of the cover, that refers to the last double page where the children meet inside their headquarters. The need to insert it on the cover comes from the lack of a table eliminated during the design in which we could see the tree house from the outside with a child who jumps with the pulley, helmet and missile on the back, simulating a space trip. There are several references to the 80s and the memories of those good old days and I wanted to represent some of them including the tree house.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Andrea :
Mostly I do illustrations for an adult audience, so after this little break in the world of children, I have started again to collaborate assiduously for several major magazines. I can say that I feel very satisfied, but I'd like to publish an illustrated book with the works that more represents me and what I did in the last 5 years.
Illustrations by Andrea De Santis from Space Kids, Copyright Little Gestalten 2018”
“Artwork by Andrea De Santis from Space Kids, Copyright Little Gestalten 2018”

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