Marta Monteiro is an illustrator living and working in the beautiful Portuguese town of Penafiel. A self taught artist, Marta boasts international clients, distinctive style and numerous awards.
Her color-splashed, seemingly kinetic depictions of characters in every day life and dream world situations, couldn’t help but catch our eye!
We wanted to catch up with her to find out more about the girl behind the colour palette…
1. What do you want people to feel or think of when they look at your work?
I’ve never asked myself about it, but if I could wish for some kind of reaction I would like them to be inspired. That’s what I look for in other people artwork, whether it is a short story, a film or a drawing.
2. Your colour palettes are so vibrant and distinctive – from where do you draw colour inspiration?
The use of colours is inspired by screen printing. I use a digital process that replicates screen printing color overlaying, where different layers of colour are printed separately on the top of one another. For me it works better with two complementary or with primary colours.
3. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
If it’s not to cold I like going to the balcony. I enjoy the sounds of the morning, when you hardly hear anything that comes out of human activity. I think that’s one reason why I get up so early to work. In the winter I get straight in the shower!
4. What kind of artwork do you have in your own home?
I have other illustrators artwork. Mostly from Portuguese illustrators: Júlio Dolbeth, Rui Vitorino, João Drumond, etc.
5. What has been your favourite project or client to work with so far?
I really liked doing the cover for New York Times Book Review magazine about “Borders”. Because I was trying to change the way I did illustration at the time, and I had both the support of the Art Director and time to think and finish that illustration.
6. What inspired your Cargo Collective Story Telling series, and what is it really all about?
I started doing illustration because of the comics that I used to read while I was at University. I liked the stories and the covers but I couldn’t write anything so I began working on one image at a time.
Every now and then an idea for a story would come to mind and I would draw it and compile it in the “Story Telling” site. These works are purely experimental, and some were done with friends just for the fun it.
7. What are the go-to tools in your studio for making work?
It depends what I’m working on, and how much time I’ve got on my hands to create an image or a series of images. Nowadays I sketch and illustrate directly onto digital files, but this happens because of the tight deadlines. At the beginning of every project I still need to write and do very rough drawings using traditional tools: pencil, eraser and paper.
8. What is your favourite meal of the day?
9. When you’re not in the studio, where are you?
Outside in the garden with the cats or feeding birds.
10. As a self-taught illustrator, how do you feel you have learnt most about your craft?
I’ve learned mostly by doing illustration. In art school I was taught how to draw what I see, but illustration requires you to create an image out of a text or an idea and most of the time the text is written by someone else.
It’s not only how you draw things out of concepts but also how you interpret a text. What you choose to underline from the brief and whether you are commenting or choosing to make a personal statement about it. It can be very tricky and the more I do, the more I realise that I still have a lot to learn.