The Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu, who has died aged 85, was one of the most distinctive illustrators of his generation, painting film posters – from Italian realist cinema to the Carry On series – and book and magazine covers. While his long career started and finished in Italy, his work in Britain encapsulated the whole look of popular illustration in the 1960s and 70s.
Putzu was born in Rome, the son of a senior Italian navy officer. At about the age of 10, he began painting seriously, studied art at the Rome Academy, and found a love of portraiture, which he practised by painting his relatives. While doing illustration work in Milan in 1948, he met the poster artist Enrico de Seta, who took him back to Rome to work at the heart of the booming Italian film industry.
After four years with De Seta,