The fabulous world of Ilaria Zanellato


A fairy-tale style, exciting, poetic. This is the distinctive feature of the artistic expression of the illustrator Ilaria Zanellato. We find it in her delightful postcards and posters representing the botanical collections and symbolic places of the main museum sites of Terre Borromeo. 

Born in Oleggio, in the province of Novara, Ilaria graduated in 2015 in Visual Communication Design. Her path began with a scholarship that allowed her to attend the IED in Turin. Her plans as a young student did not initially involve a career as an illustrator, but the dream of transforming her passion for art into a more classic profession. Instead, the opportunity provided by the scholarship took her a long way. From then on, she participated in several competitions. Among the first was "Illustramente", a festival of illustration and children's literature, which she won with the work "Nicuzza, the Magic of Love", giving her great visibility and opening the doors of the publishing world. Over the years, many other awards and various national and international exhibitions followed, reaching as far as China with the group exhibitions "The Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition” (2018, Shanghai), "Illustrating Life" (2019, Beijing), "Beauty of Life Illustration Exhibition" (2019, Shenzhen), and the United States (Toi Art Online Gallery, Los Angeles, 2020). Recent milestones include selection in the Annual Autori di immagini 2021 in the Children’s Publishing category.

Always looking for new experiments, Ilaria Zanellato began drawing by hand with mixed media ranging from watercolor and collage to acrylic paint, colored pencils, and graphite. With her light and evocative stroke, she created illustrations that had a great impact, especially in the children’s publishing industry, working for the most prestigious Italian groups. Among her publications are the illustrations for a book on the theme of bullying "The Child with Broken Shoes" (by Rosa Cambara, Edizioni Gruppo Abele, 2018).

"The creative phase of making an illustration is always preceded by the study of the theme, of what has already been produced. It’s an important moment to try as much as possible to identify with the mind of the public to whom the work is addressed and to see things from their perspective”, says Ilaria Zanellato. “Then comes the practical part in which I decide how to express the meaning and value of the stories through drawing. After coloring, I conclude with digital scanning for the final touches".

This procedure was also used to create Terre Borromeo's tourist maps for Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Rocca di Angera. Ilaria's unmistakable hand has graced a simple map with an artistic touch, with the soft, pictorial feel of the watercolor technique. From her maps, you can experience a taste of the poetry that you will find in the places themselves.