Editorial illustrations: SOFIA project

This month, IRES and Regione Piemonte organized three days of meetings focused on the future of migrations and local territorial responses. During these days, we presented to regional public services referees the educational materials that I had the opportunity to illustrate in the last few months. I can finally publish some images from that work! The collection of stories, written by Luisa Zhou and illustrated by me, with the graphics of Enrico Zullo and the direction of Roberta Valetti and Silvia Genetti, can be browsed at this link: https://www.piemonteimmigrazione.it/lp/sofia/attivita/antologia-migrazioni-sofia

This project (project SOFIA, the same covered here: https://www.saramarchetto.com/animal-illustrations-card-game/ ) consisted of the creation of accessible material to be used as an educational and training tool, with the aim of empowering public services operators and their relational abilities while dealing with people with a migratory background, in a variety of different, everyday situations. The goal of these stories, which are based on real episodes, is to make people see the incident through the eyes of both sides involved and to reflect on self-biases, and human complexity.

A metà giugno, nell'incantevole cornice di Pracatinat (TO) si sono tenuti tre giorni di incontri sul futuro delle migrazioni e le prospettive dei territori, dedicati alle/ai referenti dei servizi regionali e organizzati dall'Istituto di Ricerche Economico Sociali del Piemonte e dalla Regione Piemonte.
Durante queste giornate abbiamo presentato alcuni dei materiali cui ho avuto l'opportunità di lavorare in questi ultimi mesi, e in particolare un gioco di ruolo e un'antologia di storie. Al link seguente potete sfogliare liberamente la raccolta di storie scritte da Luisa Zhou, impaginate da Enrico Zullo e illustrate da me. Il progetto è stato curato da Roberta Valetti e Silvia Genetti.

Questo progetto (SOFIA), lo stesso delle carte di cui parlo qui: https://www.saramarchetto.com/animal-illustrations-card-game/ consiste nella creazione di materiali accessibili che possono essere utilizzati come strumento educativo e didattico, a beneficio degli operatori/trici dei servizi pubblici e delle loro abilità nella relazione con persone dal background migratorio, in una varietà di situazioni quotidiane. Lo scopo di queste storie, basate su episodi realmente accaduti, è di mostrare l'accaduto attraverso gli occhi di entrambe le parti coinvolte, facendo riflettere il lettore sui propri preconcetti e sulla complessità umana.



The one above is the first picture that I created.
I depicted a true, sad episode in which a small group of guys was refused the entrance to a public swimming pool. I enlightened the concept of "shades" of skin colors that were at the base of the discriminatory incident using a rainbow of tints.
For this series of illustrations, I wanted to use a pencil and charcoal drawing, mixing its expressive immediacy with the communication potentials of digital colors. Since I had never used this technique before on editorial illustrations, one of the aspects that I found most difficult in this project was to envision the right use of colors in the composition while I was sketching it.




Below there are also a few previews of the illustrations placed in the browsable document.


Qui sotto ho inserito anche tre anteprime delle immagini impaginate nel PDF sfogliabile online.





Animal illustrations for educational training game


Recently, I was hired for the creation of a collection of illustrations for the project SOFIA (Servizi e Operatori Formati per l’Integrazione e l’Accoglienza – Services and workers trained for integration and reception) created by I.R.E.S. and Regione Piemonte, with the collaboration of POA and CODICI. 
I painted a series of pictures for a card deck that will be used within a role-playing game as a training tool, and to go with a collection of stories published online. These tools are aimed towards public service professionals that work with people with a migratory background, to make them exercise empathy and reflect on human complexity, conflicts, and self biases.

Durante gli ultimi mesi del 2021 ho dipinto una serie di illustrazioni per il progetto SOFIA coordinato da IRES Regione Piemonte e realizzato con la collaborazione di POA e CODICI. Il progetto Servizi e Operatori formati per l’Integrazione e l’Accoglienza prevede la creazione di strumenti formativi rivolti agli operatori dei servizi pubblici regionali. L’obiettivo è far riflettere sulla gestione dei conflitti, sulla complessità umana, sulle proprie capacità empatiche e i pregiudizi, attraverso la lettura, l’analisi e l’interpretazione di storie basate su esperienze realmente accadute nel contesto di fruizione di servizi pubblici.. 

Queste immagini di animali saranno stampati sulle carte di un gioco di ruolo, all’interno del quale esse evocheranno liberamente una caratteristica caratteriale dei personaggi da interpretare all’interno di una storia. Ciascun giocatore o gruppo di giocatori/trici può interpretare l’immagine secondo la sua sensibilità. Le stesse immagini, più altre ancora da realizzare, saranno anche pubblicate online come arricchimento di un’antologia di storie.

I dipinti sono piuttosto piccoli (la carta misura circa 9 x 20cm) e realizzati a tempera, matite colorate e con un poco di clean-up digitale.

You can see some of the pencil drawings that I created to send for approval below.

Qui sotto ho caricato alcuni dei disegni a matita che ho presentato come bozza dei disegni.

Illustrated dictionary for Éditions Anas

Hi everyone! After more than a year, I come up with a new project that I have worked on during the last months and that will be published by Éditions Anas. It is an illustrated Arabic-French dictionary aimed at kids around 8-12 years old. The book evolves around Bilal and Zeyneb, their family, and their daily lives. The characters already existed in previous books from the same publisher and just I re-designed them.
The stylistic choice of drawing all the characters and animals without a face was a set requirement. It was challenging in a good way to work within those boundaries and try to find visual interest and expressiveness relying on poses and body movements alone for all the characters.
The dictionary brings some light religious content. For me, it was very interesting to glance at a different cultural context (the book will be published in Saudi Arabia).

I worked on some book interior layout drafts that won’t be used, but I designed an almost completed cover. The final one should be very similar to this draft below.

I will upload some photos of the book when I receive some copies. Thanks for watching!

Learning Village: The Islands

Hi everyone,

I am collaborating again with the brilliant Caroline and Simon of Across Cultures (UK) in the creation of a new language learning program for students aged 7-13 years. This time, Across Cultures is working together with New Zealand's Ministry of Education!

Four different paths will take the learners on an exciting voyage among magical islands where they will meet rich landscapes, many cultures, and different people from around the world while learning a language, exercise their speech and writing abilities, and take assessments autonomously or in class, using a visual-based approach.

These below are some previews of the map, all designed in vectors: (the waves and many other objects will be animated later)



vector illustration for the project Learning Village: the Islands - Across Cultures (UK) - 2020


vector illustration for the project Learning Village: the Islands - Across Cultures (UK) - 2020




A few of the "friends" that the learners will meet on the voyage:


Some backgrounds and full-screen illustrations:






And a few sketches below:




thanks for watching! :)


Educational and entertaining book for griffin+row

Griffin+Row is an Australian company that produces high quality skincare products, containing ingredients of natural origin and native plants extracts.

In May last year, they contacted me in order to create a small coffee-table book with a light, fun tone, dozens of illustrations and a lot of info and curiosities about skin health, to support the commerce of their products. They wanted the book to be informative but fun, and created with a mix of contents and various styles of fun and educational illustrations.

For this project, I created a special layout in InDesign, working with a mix of scrap book style fonts, with a fresh hand drawn look. I also created a lot of vectors, hand drawn and digital illustrations that mix well, I think, together with the general style of the book, while adding information and vivacity. When the work was finished (the book is now being printed), I also created contents for the future social media promotion.

Following, some examples of the interior spread pages.








I am grateful to have been able to work with griffin+row again, because they always offer great feedback and useful comments, and give me a lot of artistic freedom while helping me to maintain visual consistence in a big project like this one.

I am really curious about how the book will turn out in a printed form.




Sleeping owl canvas painting

Ciao a tutti, riesumo questo blog dal suo lungo sonno e posto il mio ultimo dipinto, che sono finalmente riuscita a fare scansionare.


Hi everyone! I resume this blog by its long sleeping status to post the scans and photos of my last painting.



Da tempo avevo in mente di dipingere un gufo addormentato in un bosco, perdendomi negli intricati dettagli del piumaggio mimetico. Un giorno sono stata colpita dall'atmosfera calda e soleggiata di una fotografia di un bosco di faggi, ed ho deciso di trarne l'ambientazione per il gufo nella mia testa. Ho dipinto una tela di dimensioni piuttosto grandi rispetto a ciò su cui lavoro di solito, cioè un 40 x 60 cm. E' molto bello lavorare su formati più grandi, ma per me più difficile, perchè tendo a perdermi troppo nei particolari, faticando a mantenere l'atmosfera che avevo in mente inizialmente. In questo caso, dopo molti ripensamenti e rimaneggiamenti, penso di avercela fatta. Volendo lavorare con sicurezza sulla tela, ho utilizzato i colori acrilici, che amo meno della tempera poichè non si può rilavorare il colore asciutto, ma sono più robusti e non richiedo incorniciatura.

Nei miei lavori futuri spero di riuscire a mantenere una maggiore freschezza, cioè di imparare pian piano a utilizzare meno passaggi e pennellate più decise, azzeccando subito il colore.

Qui sotto ho inserito alcuni dettagli, poi schizzi e prove della fase di progettazione.


It's been a long time since I wanted to paint a sleeping owl, just to lose myself in the intricate details of its feathers. One day I was captured by the warm, sunny atmosphere of a photo of a beech forest, and I decided to use those colors and ambient for the owl in my head. I painted on a canvas of a size that is bigger than what I usually use (40 x 60 cm). Working on bigger support is nice, but for me, it was challenging because I naturally tend to focus too much on details (since I draw a lot of small pictures every day) and so I risk losing the general atmosphere from sight. This time, after a lot of rethinking and retouching, I think that I obtained the right tints and a sense of quiet. 

Since I wanted to work safely on the canvas, this time I chose acrylics, which I don't love as much as gouache paint, but are more robust and suitable for a flexible material.

For my future work, I hope I'll be able to use fewer layers of paint and more bold brush strokes, finding the right colors sooner.

Below, you will see some details and work-in-progress pictures.









The print of this piece will be soon on sale in my shop:


Thanks for watching!




Wolf and us: an original wildlife painting

This is one of my last traditional paintings. It's an original illustration about animals, humans, Nature and our connection.

The main character here is an Italian wolf. I painted with Talens gouache on Fabriano Artistico 300 g cotton paper. Size is about 20 x 30 cm.

Original is sold, but you can find prints of this piece in my Etsy shop: link to prints in the shop

wolf, original painting, gouache
A few preliminary sketches, a color test and final drawing:
wolf color sketch
wolf pencil sketch
forest painting detail


moon painting detail


wolf painting detail

 Thanks for watching!

Original paintings, illustrations and fine art shop

Hi there,

I just opened a little Etsy shop where you can see and buy some of my original paintings and pastel drawings, including watercolor, gouache and mixed media art:


It's called la Matita Blu (lamatitablu) which means the blue pencil.

For now I only sell handmade, original art, and one type of signed fine art prints (Giclée).

Thanks for watching!

etsy banner


Ciao a tutti,

ho da poco aperto un piccolo negozio su Etsy con alcuni disegni a matita e china, dipinti ad acquerello, tempera o tecniche miste, ed illustrazioni originali.

Si chiama la Matita blu (lamatitablu).


Troverete, per ora, solo opere originali.

Grazie della visita!

etsy shop logo

ladybug scientific illustration

Scientific Illustrations: Insects

Hi there!
I created some new scientific illustrations for GoldLeaf. I added the new pictures to this post!
Thanks for watching.

Ciao a tutti!
A qualche mese di distanza, aggiungo a questo post delle nuove illustrazioni di insetti, sempre dipinte a gouache per GoldLeaf (USA).











Older illustrations:
Coccinella septempunctata illustration

Coccinella septempunctata illustration


Oggi pubblico delle illustrazioni naturalistiche di insetti che ho disegnato da poco per Goldleaf (USA). Mi è piaciuto molto illustrare animali con una tecnica tradizionale (tempera e qualche tratto di matita, con un po' di pulizia digitale).
Sono tutti insetti utili per l'agricoltura biologica poichè perlopiù si nutrono di insetti dannosi per le piante coltivate. Queste immagini saranno stampate su delle agendine pensate per coltivatori.

Grazie della visita!


Beneficial insects for organic farming illustration
beneficial insects for organic farming illustration

mantis religiosa scientific illustrationMantis religiosa illustration


Hi everyone,

Today I'm sharing some scientific illustrations drawn for Goldleaf (USA). I really enjoyed creating them with a traditional technique. These insects are particularly useful for organic agriculture since they prey aphids and others parasites that can damage crops.
These pictures will be printed on little agendas created for farmers.

I made use of gouache, a few touches of colored pencils and a little bit of digital clean-up.

Thanks for watching!


Landscape gouache painting with Monviso

mountain landscape painting


Ciao a tutti, continua la serie di dipinti che sto facendo a tema "locale". Qui siamo sulle nostre montagne in veste invernale! Qui sotto pubblico anche qualche particolare, alcuni schizzi e le prove di tecnica. E' sempre un dipinto a gouache, grande all'incirca quanto un A3.


dog painting
dog pencil sketch
mountain sketch
mountain painting

Hi everyone,

the series of local-themed paintings continues. Here Luca and our dog Lyra are enjoying some time outdoor. At the center you can see how the Monviso look in winter. It's a gouache painting, about A3 size. Thanks for watching!