Sara Fanelli was born in 1969 in Florence, where she studied for a Diploma di Maturita at the Liceo Classico Michelangelo before coming to England, where she studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School, Camberwell School of Art, and the Royal College of Art, London.
As an artist
Sara Fanelli is one of the world’s most distinctive and idiosyncratic picture book creators.
Her acclaimed title Dear Diary received an Honourable Mention from the 2001 Bologna Ragazzi Award Jury. Sara’s interpretation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio won the best overall prize in the V&A Illustration Awards and the First Prize in the Book Cover and Jacket Illustration Prize category in 2004. Pinocchio also won the British Book Design and Production Award in the children’s category. Sara was also awarded an RDI Honorary Fellowship in 2006, the very first woman illustrator to have ever received the honour.
Sara Fanelli’s originality has brought a breath of fresh air to the world of British picture books. With an off-beat sense of humour and an inventive approach to everything from page design and typography to choice of materials, she has the kind of vision you might associate with illustrators such as the Czech Kveta Pacovska or Wolf Erlbruch in Germany, or the American Lane Smith (of Stinky Cheese Man fame) http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/gallery/2011/mar/31/childrens-books-7-and-under.
I have always found Sara Fanelli very inspiring, and after seeing her work for the first time, many years ago, I felt new doors opening within my own ideas and concepts of art and illustration. I decided at that point that my work did not have to be ‘perfect’ or what people imagine art should be like, but that it should just be ‘my’ work and how I would like it to be. I also love the way she scans anything and everything into her work creating her very own unique style.