Linked websites are possibly NSFW: each person on this list has at least one project which includes illustrated ladybits.
Sarah is a freelance illustrator from Milan and Bologna, Italy who is quite active in the creative scene: she co-curates Teiera (an “illustration and comics independent label”), teaches workshops, gives talks, collaborates on books, and participates in exhibitions. Much of Sarah’s work is for editorial clients, like Anorak Magazine, Plansponsor, and The New York Times. Her ongoing abstract illustrations for Rivista Studio (Studio Magazine) are particularly interesting. Website
Like Gloria, Alessandra no longer lives in Italy; she is based in London, where she works on collaborations and commissions. For those itching to get their hands off the computer and onto some art supplies, Alessandra’s portfolio is a real treat: her projects feature gouache paintings and Riso-printed (swoon!) zines. I love a good “cool girls” series, especially rendered in Alessandra’s style—voluptuous curves and squinty eyes. Website
Gloria is an Italian expatriate now living in France. Between a couple different all-female collectives, Gloria works on projects in furniture, fashion, and product design. Gloria’s illustrations feature beautiful line-work, moody color palettes, and exaggerated curves. Though her style changes a bit from project to project, I’d say much of her work looks like a Little Golden Book illustrated by Fafi (slightly NSFW) in the 1950s. Website
Rita is a Rome-balanced freelancer whose work spans book covers and interiors, advertising, editorial illustrations, comics, and fine-art exhibitions. Her figures are rendered in a relatively simple style, but carry so much expression. That’s a strength you usually see in illustrators working in animation and character design, so it’s not surprising that Rita’s book illustrations are particularly successful. Personal favorites include Storie di Bambini Molto Antichi and Miti Romani. Website
Valentina is a designer-illustrator whose work carries an airy, minimal aesthetic. Similar to some of her compatriots, there’s a hint of a cut-paper influence on her vector illustrations. Valentina is also the founder and director of Quintilio, an London-and-Rome based line of fine art prints. Each black-and-white composition honors Italian cultural heritage. Website / Shop