Skarabe

I love finding out what inspires people & drives them to create what they do. While flicking through images on the interwebs I happened to come across an illustration by Skarabe (aka Marie Skara) expressed in watercolour wonderment. I spoke to Marie and asked her to share a little about her process & her art.

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How did you develop your creative style, how did your career and life in art begin for you?
I developed my “style” through years of practice more or less intensive ! But actually I do not consider that I really have a well-defined style, and for that I was very frustrated at one point, but now I feel better! I read some interview of artists who admit it took them a while to find a style of their own! So I do not despair and I continue to try lots of different styles.
As far as I can remember the pleasure of drawing came from my mother. No matter whether she fills a sheet of paper with doodles while she answer the phone or she signs ultra-realistic drawings of animals (dogs, cats, birds …) she gave me that passion! Especially portraits. It is a real pleasure for me today to draw a face, a mouth, eyes … So after having searched my way (journalism, marketing …) to have a “serious” job I finally decide to get into Art.

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What is it that inspires you to create your illustrations?
A beautiful picture, photo or even another illustration are mainly at the origin of all my drawings! I still have little trouble to make a drawing directly and entirely from my imagination. I need something that inspires me, guides me. But time goes by and I can free myself from that. Documenting myself constantly on different styles, artists or illustrations allows me to be more free in the realization of what I want to do.

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Do you have a running theme in your work?
The theme that comes up most often is without doubt portraits. Only female portraits because I take more pleasure to draw the features of a woman than a man. I do not really know why, it’s just like that!

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What mediums do you tend to use in your illustrations? Are there any others that you would like to try?
I have a real weakness for watercolor! I have a feeling of freedom with this medium. A splash, colors running over and mixing each other, that is unexpected, it pleases me so much ! I also like the fact that the colors are soft, transparent, they leave constructions lines visible.
Basically, I’d like to work all types of mediums! I already tested acrylic that I immediately turn into a kind of watercolor! I’d love to try oil painting for its complexity and its beautiful rendering.
Regularly I buy different things that come expand my small workshop : recently some minis ink pads, fluorescent markers and printed paper!

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What impact has the place that you grew up had on your work?
I never really asked myself this question. I grew up in France, in an ordinary family with my parents, my brother and my sister. My drawings do not particularly transmit any messages of my personal life but they are cheerful and colorful so I guess that there is a certain impact of my not-dramatic-life !

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What was the last thing you have learned that has come in use?
I recently learned how to free my hands, my eyes, my gestures when I draw. That I do not always control everything when I make a drawing, but continue anyway to see where it leads me. This is something that I put in practice a while ago and it may seem silly but it really helped me a lot!

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Who are your favourite artist, designers or photographers?
There are so many artists who greatly inspired me and enrich my artistic landscape : Kiraz, Marguerite Sauvage, Margaux Motin, Diglee Pascal Campion, Quentin Blake, Marie Perron, Conrad Roset, Norman Rockwell … and I can go on ! For designers and photographers I have no specific names to give but I am so inspired by what I see everyday online (like Pinterest, blogs, Tumblr…).

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In one word what does art mean to you?
Art is freedom !

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Where do you see yourself creatively in the next 5 years? What sort of projects would you like to be working on?
Good question!  I think I’m going back to Art school soon, because I feel that there is still plenty to learn. Currently I live in Stockholm, Sweden, as Au Pair and it’s quite nice because it gives me enough time to continue to draw ! But in 5 years I imagine myself as an illustrator (in any country!) with lots of great projects to achieve ! Projects as diverse as children’s books, press, advertising, personal orders or even animation films ! And it would be a real plus if I met talented and fascinating artists through my job !

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What is one piece of advice you wish you were given?
I wish someone told me sooner that pursuing a career in Art and being able to have a good life was not impossible ! Then I would have taken the right direction from the beginning to have a strong training today.
The choice of studies is often took in the teenage years when,maybe, we have less confidence in ourselves. We often let others tell us what would be best for us but it’s often ends so we do what gives us pleasure !

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If you would like to see more of Marie’s work, click on the links below.

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