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Work / Illustration

Giacomo Gambineri on shifting his creative career from graphic designer to illustrator

Giacomo Gambineri is an illustrator regular readers of The New York Times will know like a dear friend. With his signature line marks depicting wide-eyed characters in all sorts of thrills and spills, Giacomo’s work sits across both printed pages and online features of NYT as he’s made one of the world’s most-revered publications one of his main clients. Which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is no mean feat.

Born in Genova, Italy, and now based in France, Giacomo is an illustrator who originally “sneaked into the cartooning world by entering magazines as a graphic designer.” After an early career spent “spending my days working in magazines as a designer and my nights drawing for other magazines as an illustrator,” he now works full time as the latter.

Having swapped InDesign for Illustrator, you may recognise his weekly work for the NYT “for which I have to render three readers’ tweets every week,” Giacomo tells us. Titled “The Thread” Giacomo’s regular feature is a section he inherited from illustrator Tom Gauld in 2016, “and little by little I made myself comfortable”.

Like an illustrative spy of social media, Giacomo first takes a tweet centred around a recent New York Times article, writes out the little pull quote and illustrates a scene from its tone, and what it was initially relating too. The result is a square panel in which Giacomo manages to convey a tonne of editorial background and personality of the tweeter in question. Occasionally, he even gets to illustrate the tweet of someone notable, pointing out a recent one by Neil Gaiman, “but he’s oblivious about it,” says the illustrator.

When he’s not combing through NYT related tweets, Giacomo can often be found in the publication’s kids section too, “which is a very fun gig,” drawing everything from sections of its Exoplanets issue through to being abducted by aliens, and he’s even been responsible for “teaching kids how not to get assassinated by wild animals and how their flu shot is baked,” he explains.

In other sections of the publication Giacomo can also be found turning his attention towards adults again too, drawing the leading opening image for an article for instance, or illustrating historic dinners too.

A chameleon of illustration for alternate audiences, Giacomo has always managed to stick with his signature style despite the varying – and in the case of his weekly week the sheer volume – of subjects he covers. Overall his work, whether it teaches you something or just makes you laugh, is always true to the subject he’s illustrating. Must be the graphic designer in him, eh?

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine

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Giacomo Gambineri: The New York Times Magazine