Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 10, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Robert Zammarchi



Wilkinson Studios, Inc. is an international agency representing artists from around the world. We specialize in illustration for Publishing, Advertising, Editorial, and Corporate industries, creating artwork for Children’s and Adult Trade Books, Mass Market and Board Books, Graphic Novels, Educational Programs, Magazines, Print Ads, Packaging, Websites, and Apps. We also do Games, Puzzles, Toys, and Character Development, and have hundreds of images available for Licensing. Wilkinson Studios also represents their illustrator’s own authored works to the Publishing industry, and will be launching Wilkinson Studios Press through Ingram, a POD publishing venue designed to market and distribute their illustrator’s books both nationally and internationally.

Christine Wilkinson has been representing artists since 1985, and founded Wilkinson Studios, Inc. in 1998. Her business partner, Lisa O’Hara, has been with the company since the beginning, and is an integral part of their success. Both Chris and Lisa have graphic design and illustration backgrounds, bringing a broad understanding of the needs specific to publishers, editors, design, and art professionals. Wilkinson Studios also provides art management services, with a skilled staff of project management specialists involved in the important details of procurement, creation, quality control, and delivery of art for clients in almost every country.

Here’s Chris:

TAKE A LOOK SUNDAY – REVIEW:  Robert Zammarchi

Robert’s lively illustrations are definitely appropriate for a Chicago springtime – snow pellets are dancing off my windows as I write this review! Hopefully by next week’s Take a Look Sunday, there will be flowers blooming. 😉

These illustrations have a very unique style, a graphic handling with collage textures and elements that make them stand out from the crowd. Bravo, Robert!  You’ve obviously been working professionally and have studied illustration (note that I don’t usually go to the artist’s websites, so that it does not influence how I interpret and review their submissions).  Robert’s images look well thought out in their composition and in the execution of the digital media.  There is an attention to detail in each one, and a flow that moves your eye over and around, seeking out what’s happening, finding the surprises that weren’t noticed the first time.

TKLskate girl_bear_robert zammarchi2

Even with the stylization and simplification of Robert’s art, the girl, animals, and setting are easily recognizable. These fun and funky images tell a story, though I think the order that I received them in is mixed up (they weren’t numbered), and I’m not sure if the sequence is 1) girl flying through the air above the bear  2) girl skating, with seagull on the stump, and a penguin on skis  3) snow-ball girl upside down  – or if the first two should be switched.  Either way, they all work together well as a part of whatever story Robert is telling in his overall book.

There are a few things that I can offer as a critique, to really polish these images and give them a bit more snap. Let’s start with what I have as #1, and actually some of these comments apply to #2 as well.  The girl is looking off into the distance, her eyes are not really focused on anything.  This makes her seem disengaged from the action of the scene she is in, and not really a part of what she is doing, and not involved with the other characters.  Simply having her focus on something – the bear, or the ground that she is flying over, will put her actively in the scene and in the story.  She looks more like a marionette with a fixed stare, than a girl who is playing in a winter wonderland with her friends.

TKLskate girl_penguin_robert zammarchi


The girl’s face and body in both the images is also almost the same, like Robert was re-using the digital elements, giving a clone-stamp effect. Changing the girl so that she doesn’t seem like a cut-out doll, always in the same position, will give more interest to the scenes, and again increase the character’s engagement – and ours! – in the story.

I really appreciate Robert’s limited, almost monochromatic, color palette. The subtleties of the blues allow for the layering effects in his graphic style, and contribute to the coolness (both in temperature and “Wow, these are really cool!”) of his scenes.  However, this makes the warm colors and the black areas of the penguins really stand out in the images, and draws our eyes to those areas first.  Punching up the colors of some of the other elements may help – the purple in her coat, maybe add a bit of purple to her ice skates too.  Playing with some deeper colors in parts of the backgrounds as well, would add in depth.  Robert does this more in the second image than the first, and I think it would help the first image, especially around the bear, to define him and separate him a bit better.  You’ll need to experiment – look at different versions of your images at a distance to see how the elements pop, or if they merge too much.

There are a couple things about the second image that I’d like to mention. The stump that the bird is sitting on is incongruous with the rest of the scene. I like that you use photo-like elements, but maybe have him on something that would more likely be in a frozen lake – the stump seems out of place.  The same with the piece of tree on the lower right side – it introduces some needed color and frames the edge nicely, but is out of place.  You don’t have any other trees close-up in the scenes – it might be better to have graphic snow mounds there.

TKLskate girl_upended_robert zammarchi3

The third image may be further along in the book’s sequence as there seems to be a gap in the storytelling from the first two images to this one. Perhaps there’s a snowball rolling down the hill with the girl in it that comes before this.  It looks like she has already landed – this image is lacking the movement and action of the first two scenes.  Again, also with the cool monochrome vs warm colors – the mouse, her striped leggings, and the penguin are what the eye is drawn to.  Another background level, some hills and trees in the distance would help, as well as more detail and shading in the snow and her snowball-face.  The shape of her as a snowball is also odd – perhaps you could give hints of the girl who is underneath it all.  It looks somewhat alien in this image, rather than her being encased in the snow.  Pay attention too, to how you’ve constructed the bear – his snout is off, and his limbs are more mechanical than organic looking.  The softer bends of his arms in the first image lends personality to his character.

Well done overall though, Robert! I’d like to see these images once they’re tweaked, and also the rest of your book!  Now – how about some flowers and bunnies next?  😉

Thank you Chris for taking the time to share your expertise with us. It helps so many illustrators and is very much appreciated. Here is the Wilkinson Studios website link:

Here is a little bit about Robert:

Robert Zammarchi is an award-winning freelance illustrator who has worked for a wide range of clients over the past 20 years in various mediums. At this point in my career, however I am most interested in pursueing the whimsical world of the children’s illustration field, where my heart truly lies.

Robert Zammarchi’s Childrens’ Illustration Website 


If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be chosen.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What fun characters! I loved the hint of forest with a few trees, the green and brown brought some much appreciated color. I enjoyed the big change in position in the second piece, with the girl’s foot big and out in front. The Bear in the first piece was nearly iridescent. Nice work. Thanks for sharing.


  2. i really like the backgrounds – very sensitive.


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