A day in the eyes of Gaia Bordicchia

For this episode of Thunder Chunky’s ‘A day in the eyes of’, we’ll be taken on a short journey around the lovely little town of Crema, Italy. Let us welcome the wonderful children’s book illustrator Gaia Bordicchia, as she kindly guides us…

For this episode of Thunder Chunky’s ‘A day in the eyes of’, we’ll be taken on a short journey around the lovely little town of Crema, Italy. Let us welcome the wonderful children’s book illustrator Gaia Bordicchia, as she kindly guides us…


“Il buon giorno si vede dal mattino” says the old italian proverb. A good morning bodes well. I’m not a morning person, I never really appreciate the calm of these early moments, but today looks very pretty. Now that I took the photo, I wish I could go back to bed…


At Ninja O’clock the only proper Ninja in the house is my son Elia. He’s perfectly awake and very chatty. A double shock for me. The only form of communication before my first coffee can be a hug. Don’t expect a proper conversation until 10!


Caffe latte for me, yogurt for Elia, animal cookies for both.


Markers, notebooks, dictionary and pens. We’re ready to go! For the first time I realize his shoes are only three sizes smaller than mine now…


It’s a good day for a walk. Spring and Autumn are my favorite seasons, because it’s not too hot or foggy. Crema looks especially nice in this weather. It’s a very small town with two main streets forming a cross and rows of two-storey buildings.


At the intersection of the main streets there’s a square with the Duomo. Compared with the rest, it’s a very large church. I like its romanic style front.


This is the clock tower. If you follow me on Instagram, this is the one visible from my window. It’s lit up in my night pictures with the moon.


The good thing of living in such a small town is that if I walk in the opposite direction of the center, I’m soon in the open fields. I do it every time I have the chance.


My studio is inside an attic space. I spend a lot of time here! This is my table which is particularly clean today, because I’m not working under the pressure of a deadline. It quickly turns into a battlefield when I am busy.


I have an old kitchen cupboard, where I store my supplies and other things. It’s not very organized!


Inside I keep art supplies, paints, nibs and other less professional bits (seashells, pebbles and dried gourds!) I have a small collection of tins. An excuse to keep my stuff neatly stored, but I buy them only because I like the typography and decor. The yellow sticky note came off from one of the jars while I was taking pictures. It says “Mermaids?” … I have no idea what the original purpose was. Clearly, nothing important!


I start the morning reading about Rainforests and conservation projects developed for kids, like this app called Habitat by the Rainforest Alliance. I’m doing a little research on the subject for something I’d like to do later on…


I work mostly as a children’s illustrator, but I started as a wildlife artist. I’d like to branch out in this direction again in the future. This is a snippet of a Seychelles map I did a couple of years ago. With time, I hope my portfolio will offer this type of work too.


Today I’m focused on personal work. My website needs an update. Priority goes to the Black&White section which is a little too old compared with the rest. I’m doing a series of illustrations in graphite for this purpose. Last night I used my light table to trace a sketch on the right paper, so that I could render it today.


This is what I am drawing this morning. As you can see I only just started and the finished piece lacks the depth of the original sketch. It will slowly get there. It’s important when working with graphite, to start with a very light overall rendering before adding the darker tones. This character is inspired by Melquiades from “One Hundred years of Solitude” by Marquez. He’s described as an old gypsy with a crow-wing hat!


At 1pm I stop for lunch. Yesterday I bought some of my favorite things of this season: cheese, strawberries and tomatoes. I’m lucky to have a nice shop very close to home. It has a huge wall of parmesan cheese.


Mozzarella di bufala with olive oil. Tomatoes with oil and balsamic vinegar. Grissini.


Now I’m really tempted by a nap on the deck chair… but no!


I’m spending the afternoon catching up with emails and writing a to-do list for next week. It’s Friday after all! I need a new promo card. I might use these characters, only with a different twist.


Around 4 pm I usually have the last coffee. Next week I will also discuss a new book project, so I’m reading the text again. My french is limited and I need to read a manuscript more than once.


At 4.30 Elia comes home. He will have a lot of things to say and he knows that unlike this morning, I will be up for a good chat and a glass of orange juice.


Evening activities until dinner.


I often take pictures of sunsets from the roof, this was taken a couple of days ago. I especially like the tiny flag on the last building in the center. It’s always turned in the same direction. I hope it’s a good one!

A big thanks to Gaia Bordicchia for taking us around, and be sure to follow her on twitter @GaiaBordicchia and instagram for more lovely photos of her work and life.