Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 5, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Alistar

Some Book Covers

How did you choose the name Alistar, when you name is Leticia?

I’ve worked for a long time in animation with my name Letizia Geminiani, and when I started with illustration I wanted a different name to keep the 2 different jobs separated.

AListar is a mix of 2 words because of the way I was grown up in 2 different cultures italian and anglosaxon ( USA/ UK).
I was born in Italy and Ali means wings in Italian and star is the English word… it sounded to me as a sort of good fortune for the future in this business.

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating since 25 years.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I ‘ve started working as an animator before illustrating, and the first paid work was in the animations studios in Milan where I ve worked for cinema and tv, but actually I don’t really remember what was the subject, it’s been a long time ago.
The first illustrated work was a little book for a publishing house called European language Institute which I dont remember the name but it opened a large way to me in the world of illustration.

Have you always lived in Italy?

I lived in many countries beside Italy, mainly in the UK, USA, Germany and Georgia ( Caucasus)

When you say you travel between Italy and Georgia, do you mean Georgia in the US or the country in Eastern Europe?

I lived for a while in Los Angeles California, but in this case, when I say Georgia is Caucasus, in Tbilisi, the capital, a beautiful and lively place , a mix of culture between east and west.


Where did you study art in Italy?

I studied art at the school of art in Urbino in central eastern Italy, a wonderful reinassance city, and my school was inside the ancient palace of the dukes , I studied photograpy and animation.

Did the art school help you find illustration work, when you graduated?

I graduated in animation in 1991, and then I went to USA for work training there was no internet at the time, so we had to move if we wanted to do something, later in 1992 I started working in Milan in animation studios.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

My art school influenced me in the lyric way of seeing things, the people I met there is been important, more than the style, we created a group of people with similar dreams, and lots of us became international professional very well known in illustration. it didnt really influenced my style, I was more influenced by american illustration which is ironic, lively colorful as mine, more than European style.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I never really decided , its been a natural progress, I always illustrated something, since I was a child, so for me was natural studying art when old enough and then working in that direction.

How did you get started doing creative products designs?

I started doing creative products once I ‘ve entered in the USA market, clients started to call me to work on creative products, of many different kinds..toys, objects etc…

 

Were you doing puzzles, activity books, and board books, when you were asked to design products and characters to go with them?

The activity books and products came later in my career after illustrating lots of books, now is less and less books and I’m having more fun with them.

How did that illustrating job come your way?

The illustrating job came my way after I had a long previous career in animation, I went to Dreamworks in Los Angeles at the time they opened the studio in the late 90’s and I’ve been hired for ‘Spirit’ and I was there in the making of the Prince of Egypt. When I came back to Europe I opened my own illustration brand called Alistar Illustration working with many companies around the world and doing many different things from google glass to apps and toys companies.

Was The Gingerbread Man your first published book?

The gingerbread man wasn’t my first published books, there have been many books before and many years working in illustration, I dont really remember my first commissioned work, I work in this field since many years and difficult to remember everything.

How did you get that job?

The Gingerbread Man was made for a Los Angeles based company called educational Insights, it’s mainly a company of toys but they wanted to publish a few boxes with activity books , so they called me! And it’s been a pleasure to work with them, and I had the pleasure to work with many creative people.

Do you have an artist rep. to represent your illustrations? If so, who and how long. I not, would you like to find one.

Yes, at some point in my career I’ve chosen to have a rep. It took me a few years to understand the right one and to get in contact but finally I’ve found mine which is Wanda Nowak creative illustrators agency in new york http://www.wandanow.com representing AListar illustration in USA and Canada and I got another one for Europe which is MIA illustration Agency http://www.milan-illustrations.com.

Have you illustrated any books with a US publisher?

Yes, I ‘ve illustrated many books with US publisher, but most of them are educational and activity books
I’m working right now with an american author on an amazing story that will be soon published.

Does the publisher design the puzzle pieces from your illustration or is that left up to you?

Usually the design of the boxes and the layout is made by the internal graphic designer of the company.

Was DIVERTIMAPPE a book of maps? Was that the first maps you illustrated?

Divertimappe was a book of maps for the italian train company. They commissioned me that book to entertain children on their fast trains from Milan to the beach, so inside the book was illustrated the road that the train was taking from Milan to the sea. there were many maps of the cities the train was meeting along the road.

Have you done any book covers?

Yes I did many book covers , but difficult to write a list on how many all along these years…for children books as well as for young adults for which i received many prices in USA by 3X3 magazine of contemporary illustration.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I wrote my own stories beside illustrating for children, but I always found more interesting working on commissioned works, you never know what can come in next time, it’s always a big challenge.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

From time to time I did that when I like the stories and I see a great potential in the project, but I prefer to work for big companies, where the wok is very well organized, after illustrating for many years and most of the time on many projects at the same time, you need to be very well organized and working with experienced people.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

I have worked with many educational publishers around the world as McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Usa Oxford University Press in UK Vice Vivens in Spain helbling in Austria Mondadori in Italy just to mentions a few of a long list.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I’ve done illustrations for magazines as Ladybug magazine, Babybug magazine, highlights magazine european Language Institute magazines just to mention a few.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, illustrating a wordless picture book would be very interesting, but I never did before, who knows, maybe will come in the next future.

What do you think is your biggest success?

My biggest success it’s all the amount of work I worked on all these years with the best companies and professionals all around the world, it’s 30 years I work in this business and I reached all my dreams and my goals between animation and illustration. I really loved my creative job!

What do you think is your biggest success and has that changed over time?

My favourite medium is working at my computer, I dfeel the freedom to use any style and any feature I need. When I studied I used to use pencils and brushes, watercolours, gouache and everything…but when it started with computers in the 90’s I switched for that and I ‘m still very satisfied…I never use colors and brusch anymore, but I get the best out of softwares for illustration and painting….I used to work with corel painter in the beginning but since when Photoshop started having excellent brushes I definitely switched on that one only, and sometimes I use illustrator for vectorial drawings when needed.

Can you tell us a little bit about your studio?

My studio is a big room inside the place where I live, I use to work 24 hours a day, so I needed a studio at home, otherwise I would never go there. My clients are everywhere around the world, so sometimes I need to work at night as well.

My studio has a big long table with my computer on, screens, cintiq screen + pen where I wok on and that’s all I need. I also got many books around for inspiration and my works, I kinda feel to live in a toy shop sometimes ; ) getting larger and larger.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I ‘ve always spent long hours a day working , my work is been my life , so its difficult to dived the hours in work and life about this matters I’ve been invited to participate on a beautiful book published by the wonderful Canadian Uppercase magazine http://uppercasemagazine.com called work / life where 100 professional illustrators around the world were showing their work and their studios and speaking about how they were mixing life and work. http://uppercasemagazine.com/worklife3/

Here’s a video about me http://uppercasemagazine.com/blog/2013/8/21/worklife-3-alistar-khabuliani

I’ve tried to work on my projects in the past years but I got more and more involved in commissioned work that I don’t have time anymore for anything else right now.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes, before starting a work I do a lot of research, sometimes the company helps me sending me materials as well.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

The internet has definitely opened me the world, I can live anywhere I like and easily work with all the world and being in contact with artist everywhere, hurray for the Internet!!!

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

In the beginning I was using the Wacom pen tablet , when I started and for many years, until it’s been featured the Cintiq screen and pen, which was the biggest revolution for digital lllustrators, finally after long years moving the hand on one side and watching the screen on the other, we got back as drawing on the paper, hand and eyes there at the same time!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

At this point of my career I fulfilled all my dreams, I’m a senior now, it’s me that is teaching how to do this job, my dream is getting junior again on something else, something I need to learn.

What are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on a number of different projects, games, illustrated books, toys design, maps…I can’t work on one only , I need to have many things at the same time.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Working on digital I cant really suggest paper or colours, but there are many features that you can download on photoshop to improve your software, as brushes, paper texture, colors, and many other….

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

In the wall of my studio , over my computer there’s these words:
‘Magic is something you make’ I really do believe in that, but it means, working really hard , being persistant, following your dreams and feeling the passion, always.

Thank you Alistar for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Alistar’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://www.alistar.us/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Alistar. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Dear Alistar, you have a tremendously beautiful and varied world of illustration! I recognized some of your work and remember thinking when I saw the drawing of the planets somewhere how beautiful it was and the sensation of that drawing was very inspiring and reminded me of childhood. Congratulations on your life’s work. You’ve done so much! How exciting to think what you will do next! Best wishes, Isabel (author) from Chile

    Like

    • Many thanks Isabel ! Thanks for your time and your kind words ! It’s always helpful to hear that in order to create the next big thing ! I hope you will enjoy!!

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and colorful work!

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    • Many thanks tiemdow ! It’s always a pleasure to realize to be able to give beauty to this world!

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed Alistar’s lively style!

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    • Many thanks Wendy! I loved you have appreciated the lively style ! 😉

      Like

  4. oh I just love her work! thank you for introducing me to her lovely, fun, original work.

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    • Thanks for appreciating my work Julie ! It’s a pleasure!

      Like

  5. Alistar, your work is SO expressive and distinctive. SO kid-friendly, no wonder you’re so successful 😀 And that video you made is just fanTAStic. REALLY enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing all this! Thanks, ladies, for all the work 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much!!! For your kind words and your time to watch the video as well!!! ..and honestly my biggest success is been.. being able to reach people’s hearts everywhere around the world ! Thank you!!

      Like

  6. Your world is wonderful Alistar… we can all feel that thank you 🙂

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    • Thanks Marti for bouncing on my world and enjoy! It’s made for fun!

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  7. I’ d like to thank Kathy first of all for giving me the possibility to be featured on her amazing blog and to everybody for the warmth words of love and encouragement to my work, in the comments here and on my private mail. it’s always a pleasure, even after a long time committed to this job to hear how many of you follow my work everywhere around the world and your words always makes me feel more sure that the research of these mysterious visual worlds and colors I devoted all my life its been worthwhile if I can reach you all . Thanks to everyone deep from my heart ! Keep up the great work you all!!

    Like


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