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IWC Schaffhausen

The Journal

About the artist: Filippo Morini on “Finding Mr. Klaus”

The IWC Journal spoke with the creator behind IWC’s Wimmelbook illustrations.

Visitors to the IWC website have been wondering: where in the world is Kurt Klaus? Moving their faces closer to their computer screens, they have been looking from left to right, up and down, and from right to left again. In its most recent campaign, IWC invites us to investigate beautiful “Wimmelbooks” to find the legendary watchmaker Kurt Klaus - and many other well-known and not-so-well-known characters. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and study?

I was born and grew up in Casteggio, a small town in Northern Italy, among vineyards and green hills. I’ve been drawing since I was little kid, but I never really thought of making a living off of it, opting for a science and math-related career path.


I studied International Business and Economics at the University of Pavia. After graduation, I worked an office job for a year and a half, but I eventually realized that I was not cut out for it. So I quit, and started working as a freelance storyboard artist. Over a few months I taught myself how to use video editing, post-production and animation software and gradually became an animator.

What inspired you to become an animator and illustrator?

I think that reading comics during my childhood was the first source of inspiration. When I was around 6 years old, I started drawing imitations of what I saw in the comics I liked and creating my own characters and stories.


I gradually lost interest in comics, but my love for illustration was always there; it was just influenced by other interests I developed over the years. During my teenage years I was really into rock music and playing live, and I made many friends from playing in bands. So I started making illustrations for our album covers and for the screen-printed t-shirts we sold during live gigs.


In my adult years I approached the short film and advertising industries and I applied illustration to storyboards, posters and animation.

When drawing IWC’s “Wimmelbook” illustrations, what details did you have to keep in mind?

My main concern was nailing the proportion between the characters’ heights and the building dimensions. Also, deciding the point of view of each illustration took some time, since all locations are quite different from each other. I wanted the observer to be able to enjoy as many details as possible and at the same time put each IWC boutique in the best possible position.


What did you think of the collaboration with IWC?

It’s been a wonderful experience so far. It started with the Formula 1 illustrations as a single commission and it kept growing into bigger projects. I have had the chance to meet and liaise with a lot of different IWC departments for a long time now. I had a great feeling speaking with everyone I have been in contact with which helped a lot and enhanced the creative process.


I would have loved to meet the people at IWC that I talk to and work with every day. However, the current pandemic has made it difficult so far. I hope there will be a chance in the future!


In your professional life, who or what inspires you most?

Since music is still a very important part of my everyday life, I think that professionally, I take a lot of inspiration from those independent bands that used to do self-booked tours across Europe and the U.S. before the Internet, in the 80’s and 90’s.


Booking their shows on the phone, spending 80% of their days in vans on a highway, playing basement shows in front of 3 or 4 people for a few dollars, but playing each concert like it was the very last thing they were going to do.


Even if illustration and music are two pretty different worlds, the dedication those musicians showed has always been inspirational to me; it really pushes me to constantly do the best I can in my job, despite the circumstances.


And in your private life?

I think I would pick my brother and my girlfriend as the main inspirations. My brother at different times in his life made choices that threw him totally out of his comfort zone, with the intention of testing his own limits.


My girlfriend is probably the most tireless person I know, extremely determined and goal-oriented. Their qualities are, for me, very valuable both in everyday life and while working.


How do you approach each project?

First of all, I start doing research based on the client’s brief, browsing the internet and checking out books. Then I prepare some sketches and drafts for illustrations or storyboards for animation. I make a schedule and set deadlines for each step of the drafting process, which I try to follow rigorously, in order to avoid the “running around in circles” situations.


Once I’ve presented my idea and received feedback, I enjoy working with the client on developing a style and a color palette that fits the project and the client’s esthetic, creating something that is “tailor made”.


When are you most creative and come up with the best ideas?

Early in the morning and late at night, when the world is quiet and I can focus better. I mainly work alone with music or a movie I like on in the background.


The best ideas usually come when you’re not actually looking for them, so it’s essential to go out and do something else whenever possible, to keep your mind fresh.


I’ve always come up with what I think are my best ideas when I wasn’t seated at my desk, so even doing something relaxing or just for fun could be considered part of the job. 

Do you have any quirks that you don’t want anybody to know about - except perhaps our tight-knit IWC community?

I force myself to do push-ups, stretches and sit-ups every time I get up from my desk for whatever reason. Like it’s a little tax I have to pay or something like that.


Those quick breaks filled with physical activity help me to blow off some steam and be more focused afterwards.


What qualities do you need to be successful?

I think that the most important characteristic you need to have is being really passionate, almost obsessed, with drawing. This will give you the perseverance to draw every day for years and slowly get better at it without ever really feeling bored or pressured. At some point you’ll eventually start producing something you’re satisfied with.

Also, you need to be really independent and be prepared to sacrifice part of your social life: spending a lot of time alone, sometimes working late at night and on weekends, focused on your work, being your only critic.


Self-promoting and networking are also important. Don’t be discouraged by periods of little or no work, they often happen at the beginning.

Click to find out more about Filippo Morini’s work and IWC’s Wimmelbook campaign. 

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