Immerse your senses in a Whimsical World

WORDS: Nicole Marino PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Budding illustrators and artists of all ages, as well as general lovers of storytelling, will be treated to a sensorial experience at the Whimsical World exhibition due to open at HOTA on Monday 14 March.

A showcase of the work of one of the Gold Coast’s most prolific and well established illustrators, Lucia Masciullo, Whimsical World promises to draw the reader into a world of storytelling and art.

Presented by Somerset Storyfest and in association with HOTA, Home of the Arts, the exhibition will take people on a journey, uncovering the feel, sound and scents of the stories that are invoked through depictions of Lucia’s unique style.

Open to all ages, Ms Masciullo said the objective of the exhibition is to invite readers behind the scenes of how a picture book comes to life.

“Picture books are usually for a younger audience, but the exhibition offers something for everyone who is interested in the visual aspect of storytelling,” Ms Masciullo said.

“Often you open a picture book and wonder where the illustrations come from. I’m going to take readers step by step through the process, from the development of each character and their background to the storyboard and eventually the finished product.

“It’s usually a four to six month project for one book. I start by thinking about questions such as what do they look like, what do they eat, then I start drawing a lot of sketches of the character and sometimes this fills an entire book.”

Originally a biologist from Italy, Lucia has published more than 30 books since moving to the Gold Coast in 2007.

“I have always drawn as a hobby, however I was a bit afraid of rejection. In order to become a successful illustrator though, you have to accept feedback,” Ms Masciullo said.

“My advice to budding illustrators is if you really like to draw and colour, you should practice a lot and be inspired from what you like the most, and most of all don’t give up.”

Ms Masciullo has been a part of Somerset Storyfest for many years and regularly features in ‘Storyfest on the Road’, which takes the festival to schools throughout the year.

Somerset Storyfest CEO and Festival Director, Andrea Lewis, said it’s important to showcase all elements of how a book comes to life.

“Lucia’s work is so unique, she presents something new and inspiring with every book she illustrates and the process is surprisingly more in-depth than people expect,” Ms Lewis said.

“This exhibition is one not to be missed, both for children and adults.”

Officially launching on Monday 14 March 2022 and running for one month, Whimsical World is free to visit and open daily. Visit for further details and opening times.

Somerset Storyfest is Queensland’s largest literary festival. The official program runs from Tuesday 15 March – Friday 18 March, however the extended program runs all year and includes community events such as the pop-up Beach Library, Business Lunch Series and Golf Day.