Laura Simonati’s imaginary scenic drawings are a breath of fresh air on social media
Starting as a daily drawing task set by the illustrator to get over a creative slump, Laura’s drawing subconscious has created a series of calmly relatable pieces.
- Lucy Bourton
- 23 November 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Drawing has always been a consistent part of Italian-born, Brussels-based illustrator Laura Simonati’s day-to-day life. Although an important activity, “especially to let the time pass during the hot and endless Italian summers,” in being such a constant, Laura reached a stressful point earlier this year where she was unsure what to make next.
Viewing “illustration and drawing as a way through which explore and discover the world around me,” during her bachelor's Laura first focused on graphic and editorial design, meaning drawing “was just a marginal part of my practice there,” she tells It’s Nice That. Concentrating on illustrating fully during her final degree project however, she then continued her education during a masters at ENSAV La Camdre, where drawing once again became the focus. However in June of this year, when combatting the task of another final degree project, Laura became slightly stuck with the looming prospect of delivering the project by the end of the summer. To both distract and inspire herself, Laura decided to set herself a daily drawing exercise, “to find some breathing space and escape from my daily tasks,” where the illustrator could continue to explore a visual universe, “without the limits imposed by a brief or school exam,” she explains.
The result is Piccoli Posti, a self-imposed task where Laura always draws within the restricted size of a five centimetre by eight centimetre rectangle in a stripped back graphic style, and never for more than 15 minutes at a time. To give the side project further space she also decided to dedicate a separate Instagram account to the project, “to maintain a visual coherence among the illustration and to strengthen the idea of seriality,” she says.
In turn Laura has created an illustration account which is a breath of fresh air, both for the illustrator herself and the audience who encounter it. Using one or two colours and on what appears to be gridded or lined textbook paper, the illustrator draws scenes of daily life with minimal precision allowing the viewer to make up their own mind of what exactly it is she is depicting. The illustrator’s tiny drawn lines can depict an array of subjects, from a street of houses escalating a steeped street, a mop and bucket gliding across a tiled floor through to a tiny cat taking a nap on a bed, each made with calming precision.
Despite evoking precision, Piccoli Posti is a project Laura affably describes as “a series of ‘lazy drawings’, something unimportant and with no purpose,” just viewing the pieces as “little sketches, naively made.” Her opinion of these drawings also stems from how they’re mostly scenes she herself has imagined, rather than a strict brief to visualise from a brief or an editorial commission. Also possibly evoking ease due to Laura simply picking up the tools around her, she details the pieces often only need the resources of “very cheap fine-pointed markers on recycled paper, often coming from notebooks or even paper from parents and grandparents’ houses,” she explains. “I often use a little plastic ruler, too.”
The term Piccoli Posti also represents Laura’s approach, translating to “small places” and describing the collection “as a sort of catalogue or sticker album of possible places,” she says. “I want the ‘place’ and the ‘landscape’ to be the protagonist of the picture and not simply a background, that’s why there’s no people in these drawings, at most a few animals.” The only constant is actually that these places only exist in Laura’s imagination, and one she visualises by first tackling the drawing’s perspective, before looking for “a sort of ‘invisible balance’ in the image, the right amount of visual elements, the right composition, the right feeling of suspension – but it’s very hard to determine at this point.” For the image to also reach a shareable state, Laura will also often redraw the pieces two or three times, usually eliminating unnecessary elements.
An example of how the most simple of drawings can often be the most impactful, the way followers are interpreting or relating to her Piccoli Posti pieces has been quite the surprise for the illustrator. “This is the most satisfying aspect of Piccoli Posti: discovering that some drawings made with no purpose can speak to someone else (not everyone, of course).” Concluding with a recent comment someone left: “that the drawings give him a sense of ‘breath’ in the middle of the visual saturation we are all immersed in,” we highly recommend giving the account a follow for your own sense of calm on social media.
Laura Simonati: Piccoli Posti (Copyright © Laura Simonati, 2020)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.