Creator Spotlight - Barbara Cantini

Creator Spotlight

Barbara Cantini
Barbara Cantini (Photo Courtesy of

In the spirit of the season, we spoke with Barbara Cantini about her inspiration for Ghoulia, the zombie girl and her undead family. Here is what she had to say:

Ghoulia (Mortina in the rest of the world) was inspired by a drawing I made in an old sketchbook from my school days when I studied animation in Florence. I've always had an inclination for creepy and gothic atmospheres, especially when the dark aesthetic is coupled with irony and nonsense. The inspiration for Ghoulia came from the things that I've always enjoyed reading and watching, such as The Addams Family, E.A. Poe, movies by Tim Burton, Murder by Death, and the beloved Edward Gorey (and much more...). My family origins were also a big inspiration. Like Ghoulia, I grew up in a large family and my grandparents lived with us. There was always a 100-year-old great uncle like Uncle Misfortune around! My grandma, like Auntie Departed, was harsh-looking but soft-hearted.
I'm happy that Ghoulia's stories help foster conversation about acceptance and diversity, but when I write and draw I do it mostly for the sheer pleasure of telling stories and being with my characters, without any educational intentions. I'm not a fan of books that are created for the purpose of teaching something at all costs, and I don't think kids love them either. Fundamentally, I really enjoy what I do: draw characters that animate the stories in my head, and bringing those characters to life so much that I think of them as family.

Learn more about Barbara Cantini and her books!


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