My First Love

I was maybe four when my aunt gave me a book that changed my life.

"Il bosco delle meraviglie" by Tony Wolf
“Il bosco delle meraviglie” by Tony Wolf

I was just learning to read, and that book helped me a lot. But “Il bosco delle meraviglie” was far more important than that: I watched the complex, vibrant, beautifully rendered illustrations, and thought to myself “I wanna draw like this guy”. Tony Wolf has been my first contact with illustration.

Tony Wolf (Antonio Lupatelli) is an Italian illustrator. He is a very reserved person, and as far as I know he never went around giving lectures about his work. Now he stopped painting, and his son took over the job.

His most famous work, “Il bosco delle meraviglie”, is a collection of short stories in various chapters, that are often published as standalone books. The first chapter, “Il bosco” (The Forest) tells about the lives of a bunch of animals in a typical European forest: they have their little funny adventures, until a flood forces them to relocate: they meet the Gnomes in the “Gli gnomi” book: the two cultures integrate very well, meeting even a giant or two in the meanwhile (I Giganti). They eventually meet some fairies who join them, but not for long (Le Fate); they even get along pixies (I Folletti) and dinosaurs (I Draghi).

I could spend hours describing how strong and lively the illustrations are. Below are some little examples (all the images have been found on Google):

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I remember spending hours and hours immersed in those pages: I already knew all the stories by heart, but got lost everytime in the paintings. I may be a little biased, as Wolf’s illustrations are the ones that grabbed me into this wonderful world, but I am sure that many of you will find the same magic.