You were born in France, your parents are Italian, and you went to school in the United States. Now you live in Spain. How did the cultural experience of different countries affect you?
It is like looking at the earth from a space porthole: one falls in love with the earth and it turns out that borders and borders between countries do not exist.
You graduated with a major in philosophy, why did you decide to become a children’s illustrator? What influence does philosophy major have on your work?
It was quite random. Around the age of thirty I took a summer course in the International School of Sarmede (http://fondazionezavrel.it/), in Italy, and I discovered the picture book. It seemed to me to bring together all my passions: art, literature, childhood. I studied philosophy to answer the big questions I had as a child about life: what it is, why we live it, how we should behave ... I make picture-books because it seems to me the best way to continue looking for these answers, which I think are closer to the intuitions of childhood than to those of adulthood.
《金色鸟舍》（The golden aviary）
站酷网：您创作过很多故事《The golden aviary》《 Super 8, a child autobiography》《 La caja de los recuerdos》《The incredible story of the terrible child》等，您的故事都在表达什么，在关注什么？最想传达给孩子的是什么？
You’ve created many stories: The golden aviary, Super 8, a child autobiography, La caja DE los recuerdos, The incredible story of The terrible child, etc. What are you trying to express and emphasize with your stories? What message do you want to convey the most to children?
I do not think books for children should have a moral message. I think they should transmit a fragment of the mystery and wonder that dwells within us and surrounds us. As an artist, I look for these fragments within myself. They are like pieces of rainbow. I put them in a book. It is this dazzling beauty that I was looking for in books when I was a child and that I hope to give children today. I think that beauty has more moral in itself than all the morals of the world. Children know it.If there is a message that goes through all of my books, it is this: life is difficult, but poetry and beauty save us.
You were a judge of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2014. How did you decide what’s a good illustration? What kind of criteria did you use?
It is not the technical perfection of an illustration that seduces me, but the presence of an emotion, of a feeling experienced by the illustrator at the moment of drawing. I was looking for this feeling. Something authentic, realized for an internal, certifiable need to communicate with children through drawing, and not to please jurors.
This year, you are a judge of ZCOOL Awards. The main purpose of ZCOOL Awards is to discover and enhance the value of design. What do you think of the value of picture books?
My opinion on illustration has not changed in the different juries I attended. I always look for the ability of a illustrator to convey an emotion, a feeling of wonder. Looking at the many illustrations in ZCOOL I always wondered: does this design make me enter in a world or not? I believe in this world? I chose the works that brought me most in these worlds.
I had some difficulties because I realized that many expressions, gestures of the characters, graphic codes, belonged to a culture that I do not know, the Chinese one, I wondered if I was able to understand them in depth. I looked at them with the eyes of a child: even children do not yet have the codes of a culture.
《插画手册》（The Illustrator's Manual）
站酷网：您出版过一本书叫《The Illustrator's Manual》，从一个儿童插画创作者的身份转换为一个儿童插画教育者，最大的不同是什么，又是什么原因让您开始投身到插画教育中去？
You published a book called The Illustrator 's Manual. What’s the biggest difference between being a children’s illustrator and being a children’s illustrations educator? What made you want to engage in the education of children’s illustrations?
It's an interesting and difficult question. I think the biggest difference is that in one case I talk to children, in the other to adults. They are two different languages, two different motivations. When I make books for children it's because I have something to say in a poetic way, and it's a more irrational, profound, perhaps unconscious language. When I teach illustration, or I criticize, I use more my rational thought, my experience, my culture, and I do it to help others make beautiful books.
In your opinion, what qualities should a professional children's illustrator have? What is the most important in making children's illustration?
It is a very complex question. I hope my illustrator manual will be published soon in China, where I have answered throughout this book to this question :)
Most people think that children’s illustrators and writers need to be “childish”.What do you think is “childishness” ?
The need for authenticity.
The pacing of picture books is very important. How do you control the pacing of stories and pictures?
安娜：通过一个故事板，我试着将画面和留白进行编排以及编排图像的顺序，还有更重要的是色彩的平衡。一切都是画面和留白、动与静之间的关系。Through a story board I try to calibrate the full and the empty, the balance of images in sequence and above all colors. Everything is a relationship between full and empty, sound and silence.
You create both stories and illustrations. For many illustrators, writing is very difficult. How do you write stories? How do you get inspired for writing stories?
It is true that writing children's stories is difficult, but if we remember what stories we liked as children, it becomes easy. Children like concrete stories, without metaphors.
I have to be honest, I do not know where they come from, but I always try to build contexts where ideas can be born. It helps me to read a lot, it helps me to interrupt the rhythm of daily work with the days when I have no commitments (creativity needs freedom), helps me contact with nature, the relationship with children……
I'll give you an example: this summer a little girl gave me a poem about silence. The poem was so deep and beautiful that I remembered how little space I give to silence in my daily life. So I decided to leave on vacation without internet. I spent ten days immersed in silence and nature. I've got a lot of ideas.
站酷网：您在跟插画师合作的时候，比如Carll Cneut、 Isabelle Arsenault，你们之间是如何沟通的，从而使文本和插画更完美地结合？
When you collaborate with other illustrators such as Carll Cneut, Isabelle Arsenault，how do you communicate with each other to make sure that texts and illustrations work well together?
安娜：这取决于与插画师的关系。比如和盖亚·斯特拉(Gaia Stella)合作，她是我的朋友，所以我们会一起工作，在博洛尼亚书展(Bologna Book Fair)见面或者通过电子邮件交流。在其他情况下，我们最好保持独立。我认为插画师必须有自由使文本转化为他自己的表达，在这种情况下，作者最好不要进行干涉。
It depends on the relationship with the illustrator. In only one case, with Gaia Stella, that she was a friend, we worked together, meeting at the Bologna Book Fair or via e-mail. In other cases we preferred to remain separate. I think that the illustrator must have the freedom to make the text his own, in this case it is important that the author does not interfere.
To find the harmony between text and image is a job that the publisher must do, mediating between the author and the illustrator.
《家族的飞行》（The Flight of the Knitter Family）
站酷网：《The Flight of the Knitter Family》是由您创作的插画，在颜色和风格的选择上，您是先考虑故事，还是先考虑受众群体？插画是服务于故事还是服务于受众的？
In your illustration The Flight of the Knitter Family, what was the bigger influence on your decision of color and style, the story or the audience? Do illustrations serve the story or the audience?
I wanted to rebuild, through the line and the colors, the feeling of total peace and security that gave me the holidays with my family when I was a child.
The style of an illustration serves this: to give the reader an atmosphere. I looked for a line a color between dream and reality.
This decision has influenced the text. If I had used a style with less realism, the text would have taken on a more metaphorical, poetic flavor. I preferred to bring it into the realism field to tell the child: this story is true, but not too much.
What do you know about Chinese children's illustrations (picture books)? How are Chinese children's illustrations different from those of other countries?
I started to learn about the Chinese illustration last year, with the exhibition and the events that took place in Bologna, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (China was the host country of 2018), and through ZCOOL. So my judgment is still immature and superficial. I find that technically the level of the illustrators is very high. But at the stylistic level there is something that for us Europeans is a bit strange: there are atmospheres that refer a lot to the tradition of Chinese painting. Here painting and illustration have two very different stories and the differences are more pronounced. I also found a lot of influence from the manga and the comic strip. Also in this case, in Europe, manga, comics and illustration are very different genres, in terms of style.
In your opinion, what is the future trend of international illustration? What do you think of the commercial quality and artistic quality of picture books?
In these years of great ferment of the children's book, I witnessed a very strong return of self-censorship from publishers, even here in Europe. A self-censorship due to the large social revolutions that have occurred in Europe in our society (such as assisted reproduction, marriages and the possibility of having children for homosexual couples) and the fear that these changes have generated in many people. This tension is reflected in the children’s book market, creating books-slogans in favor of one or the other idea.
I do not like this trend. I believe there must be a difference between educational books and “fiction” books. In the second case, there must be freedom to express something profound about fairy tales, nonsense, wordplay, and not adult’s tensions! The book for children should be a playground and experimentation away from the noise of society, full of silence, poetry, beauty…, but we are not going in this direction.