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- author Jackie French

Thursday 8 August 2019

Meet The Illustrator: Macarena Smartt

Name: Macarena Smartt

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less:
Whimsical, emotive and quirky. Capturing moments and ‘painting emotions’.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Music, natural light and being surrounded by nature.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
My favourite medium is watercolour with pen and ink.
They’re quick drying and that makes for an expressive and spontaneous painting. There’s no time to overthink each brushstroke, and with ink, each line matters as there is no reverse gear. Watercolours have a romantic and charming aura. Inherently able to capture the essence of a watery lake or the innocence of a child’s face.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
May Gibbs, Beatrix Potter, Asako Eguchi.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
The beginning of the 20th century. Illustrators such as Beatrix Potter and May Gibbs were able to earn a living from illustrating. With the expansion of printing processes, children’s books and magazines became more affordable and widespread. Illustrators were becoming recognized as contributors to a vast array of disciplines. Botanical, medical, cartoons for newspapers, as well as children’s books to name a few. An exciting time to be an illustrator.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator? 
When I was about eight years old, I won a drawing competition. The prize was a ‘family’sized block of chocolate. I was so surprised at winning, that when it was announced, the kids around me urged me to go to the front of the hall and claim my prize. I couldn’t really believe that I had won. It dawned on me that if I could get paid in chocolate for drawing, then this was the career for me!

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it. 
My studio is purpose built with windows almost all the way around for natural light. It’s at the bottom of my garden overlooking my veggie patch. I have two studio dogs that sleep on an antique sofa and keep me company. It’s surrounded by large trees, and I can hear and see birds, possums, bees and other wildlife.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
When an idea first pops into my head and/or when brainstorming with a client. The evolution of an idea is exciting as the image(s) emerge in my mind's eye.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
You are unique and the more you draw, the more your own personal style will emerge. Create every day, enjoy what you are doing. Each time you draw you are infusing the drawing with your own magic pixie dust, and that’s what will set it apart from the rest. Have a social media presence, show the world what you’ve got.

Macarena draws inspiration from the many places she has visited and lived, including London, Houston and Sydney. Expressing herself in classical form in a variety of ways, from large impressionistic landscapes to fun whimsical drawings. Having had several solo exhibitions, her artwork is held in private collections around the world.

Please visit Macarena's instagram to see more of her beautiful art.