Books for Youth & Adults
Through Boboli Gardens: Reflections about the art of illustrating books for children and young adults
Rui de Oliveira
Ana Sofia Mariz
Rui de Oliveira, PhD.
Rui de Oliveira is one of the most celebrated master illustrators in Brazil. I had the honor of working with him on multiple projects featured on this site, including this one which received colossal recognition and became a sales success beyond any expectations. This project is different from other illustrated books that I worked on with this author because it resulted from his PhD thesis on illustrating books for children and young adults and became an essential reference in art schools across Brazil.
From the beginning of the project, I worked very closely with Rui to identify all the images that illustrate the piece. It was his requirement to have all the content punctuated by illustrations. To fulfill that in a meaningful and consistent way, I proposed using the art of Rui's extensive sketchbooks. Those are all but ordinary, as they show the uncensored artist mastery and have a consistent evocative open-ended theme that showed well alongside the text copy.
I anchored the design concept on the solid humanistic and Florentine aesthetics core to the author's work, which guided my choices from typography to the color palette. I chose Arno Pro and Brioso Pro, two iconic humanist style type families designed by Robert Slimbach. Working carefully with all the high-end qualities of these two typefaces, I manipulated all the necessary typography strings to convey the timeless beauty, warmth, and dignity that the content deserved.
In keeping with publishing requirements, I designed it to be printed using only two colors — Black and Sanguine. Still, I used the widest variety of shades and mixtures of these two inks to create that visually engages the reader. By the end of the project, the publisher offered me a spread to add a signed copy describing how this design came to be. This was the most significant sign of the appreciation I had received up to that point, and it created a precedent for similar requests in the future.