After completing his classical studies in Milan, Novello gained a degree in Jurisprudence from the University of Pavia. Immediately after World War I, in which he fought with the Alpine Corps, he continued to study painting – to which he had been introduced by his uncle Giorgio Belloni – and also took Ambrogio Alciati’s courses at the Brera Academy. From 1924, the year he graduated and won the Fumagalli Prize at the Brera Biennale, he participated constantly in the exhibitions of the Permanente in Milan, in some editions of the Venice Biennale (1934, 1936, 1940, 1948) and the Rome Quadriennale.
A driving force behind the coterie of artists who gathered at the Milanese trattoria Bagutta, he also made a name for himself as a cartoonist: a collection of his vignettes are featured in the volume La guerra è bella ma scomoda (1929) with a text by his journalist friend Paolo Monelli, Il signore di buona famiglia (1934) and Che cosa dirà la gente (1937). During World War II he fought in the Russian campaign and was deported to Germany after being taken prisoner at Fortezza in 1943. In the post-war period he took up painting again, displaying his works in several solo exhibitions, and worked as an illustrator for the newspaper La Stampauntil 1965. New volumes featuring his drawings were also published.