Developing Characters from Observation with Marianna Madriz

By giving herself time to sit and observe, Marianna Madriz has nurtured her ability to capture a sense of distinct personality in the characters she creates.

Whether it’s in the everyday situations her characters find themselves in or the nuance of their expressions and body language, there’s always something easily relatable in Marianna’s illustrations.

Marianna talks to us about how important studying from life is for her and the kind of direction in which she would like to develop her work.

“Iʼm an Illustrator based in London originally from Venezuela, working on a variety of editorial projects as well as childrenʼs books.”

“Iʼm fascinated by characters (be it in a novel, or a film, or real life), and I try for my illustrations to have as much personality as possible.”

“I usually work digitally, but always start every illustration with a drawing using colour pencils and/or felt tip pens.”

“When I want to take my time and enjoy what Iʼm doing, I use brush pens. I love the way the ink flows, and how not every stroke might turn out as you wish.”

“Whenever time allows I take myself on ‘datesʼ to draw from real life— in botanical gardens, exhibitions or small cafes. Itʼs precious time that I use to reconnect with myself, and to draw for ‘the sake of itʼ.

Later, I might find sections in my sketchbook that I can then expand into more finalised pieces.”

“My end goal is to get better at narratives and tell compelling stories, and also to experiment as much as possible.”

“I want to leave the comfort of tablets and nibs a bit more so I can try painting and printing (on fabrics especially). Also embroidery is a technique I’ve been enjoying a lot recently, and I want to push further.”

All images © Marianna Madriz

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