Illustrating and Collage Making: Andrea D’Aquino’s Unique Creative Process

New York City-based illustrator and author Andrea D’Aquino took to drawing as a small child. An avid reader, she grew up to combine her two passions and has illustrated so far three books, including a quirky interpretation of the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Her work also includes commercial collaborations with brands like Anthropologie, Conde Nast Traveler, and Chronicle Books, as well as publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times.

Her creative process includes cutting up paper and moving it around – a blend between collage work and illustration. “I use a mix of medias and have a spontaneous approach,” she shared her process with Bibelot Magazine. “It’s often collage, but not necessarily photo-based.”

Often, D’Aquino finds this playful process full of unpredictable results and is surprised at the images that seem to land on her art table. “I draw and paint, then I cut things up and see what happens – though being contrary by nature, I don’t like to stay inside any box that is too pre-defined,” she notes. “Whenever someone calls me a ‘collage artist’, I never fail to be surprised – really? Is that what I am? I really don’t know, but maybe.”

“Some of the best things I’ve made are mistakes, however – this does not imply sitting and waiting is any kind of effective choice,” she adds. “I think all art is work, it takes effort and doing things over or just organizing and experimenting without a clear cut goal or without seeing pleasing results.”

D’Aquino’s latest book, “A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa”, was published by Princeton Architectural Press. You can see more of her work on Instagram.