About me

I was born in Pisa, Italy, from a Brazilian mom and an Italian dad. With my heart already divided between two countries, I decided to add a third by falling in love with an American man and moving to the United States to be with him. I am now raising two beautiful multicultural boys that think, like me, that the world is after all a very small place. 

Maybe because of my background, communication has always interested me in all shapes and forms: before becoming an illustrator, I studied languages and theater and worked in entertainment, travel and language instruction.

I have a BFA in Children’s Book Illustration from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and a BA in English and Spanish Language and Literature from the Universita degli Studi di Pisa.

In 2020 I won the SCBWI ILLINOIS Prairie Prize for the fall conference “Full Zoom Ahead” with my space themed illustration.

In 2022 the book “Cayuga Island Kids Book 2: The Adventure of the Big Fish by the Small Creek” written by Judy Bradbury, Illustrated by me, and published by City of Light Publishing won the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Awards of the Independent Book Publishers Association.

In 2023 the book “Billie the Brain” written by Dr. John Hutton and Dr. Ryan Moore, Illustrated by me and published by Blue Manatee Press, won the gold medal at the Moonbeam Children’s Books Award.

I have worked on multiple chapter books and picture books, to see the full list click here.

Although I see myself as an Illustrator first, I have a few completed or in progress picture books dummies, available upon request. I am currently seeking representation.

When I am not drawing, I love exploring Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, learning new things and pursuing new hobbies to avoid cleaning the house. I have a real passion for music and for Shakespeare; in fact, I have created over 100 illustrated portraits of Shakespeare which you can find on Instagram under the account Shakesportraits.

I would love to hear from you! You can reach me at

Vagnoli [dot] Gabriella [at] gmail [dot] com