marisa volino


Marisa Volino decided that she wanted to pursue art in her career during her senior year of high school, while taking IB and AP art. Although she has always liked creating things and making up stories. She enjoys and uses most media, and has a difficult time choosing just a single one to call her favorite. Marisa is an unabashed lover of children’s books, anime, fantasy, and comics. Her outlook on reality is quite dark, which is why she prefers creating cute and uplifting artwork in contrast.



My thesis is composed of simple watercolor illustrations for my original children’s book. The book concept is focused on two themes most children relate to: loneliness and being small. The main character is incredibly small, only about six inches tall. The story follows a single character as she explores the world around her, with every task full of challenge and adventure. Large everyday objects are used for different purposes to suit her small needs.

Loneliness is a part of childhood rarely explored in children’s picture books. It is not dramatic or silly; instead it is an internal conflict. Like the challenge of being small, the main character’s loneliness is exaggerated to be easily understood. During the story the main character realizes that she is in fact, completely alone, and ends up deciding to find out if there is anyone else out there.

As a child I was a reluctant reader. Instead of reading the story written out, I preferred to make up my own from the pictures. This is part of why I decided to make a wordless picture book. I believe the story must be very simple and clearly laid out since it is the reader who explores the fantasy. The subject and action of the character is decided by the reader. The main character could be a fairy-like creature, who physically exists, or another small lonely child, or their imaginary friend. By the book’s end, the story remains open-ended and the reader can take her with them.