Calling all fox enthusiasts: get ready to be charmed by Martith’s fantastical menagerie! This Chile-based artist merges soft colors and sharp compositions to bring out the magic in nature – and foxes seem to hold a special place in her art. In this week’s On the Spot, she tells us all about her childhood inspirations, her creative process, and her dream artistic enclave in the woods.
Where do you live and what does your workspace look like?
I am originally from Poland, but currently I live in Santiago, Chile. My apartment is relatively small, and so is my workspace. It consists of a table and a “gamer” chair, my trusty Lenovo laptop, a Wacom Cintiq 13HD tablet, and a small standalone drawer unit which holds all my prints, art supplies and accessories.
What did your career path look like?
It’s been rather complicated! For my career, I always wanted to do “something with computers and art”, as I described it in my childhood. I used to think I would work in IT, creating websites – but having difficulties in learning programming languages in high school, I switched to architecture. This required me to pass the university’s exams, so I took a preparatory course. One of the instructors there used a digital tablet to create these awesome drawings in his free time. This was my first contact with the world of drawing tablets and my first glimpse at their potential for creating art. That very same year, I begged my parents to get me the Wacom Bamboo for Christmas. From the moment I started using it, I knew that this really is a path I want to pursue.
Eventually, architecture studies didn’t work out for me – I dropped out after the first semester. Some years later, I got a bachelor’s degree in theater studies, but in the meantime I’ve been working hard on expanding my digital art skills. That’s because deep down, I only dreamed of a future as an illustrator. Thanks to the immense support of my loved ones and my artist friends, I was finally given a chance and soon started offering my work for sale, which has propelled my illustration career.
You mostly focus on painting animals and creatures – all kinds of them! What draws you into these subjects?
First of all, I love animals! It sounds cliché, I know, but this is where it all starts. From an early childhood I’ve been drawn to all kinds of animals, both real and animated. I loved Disney and DreamWorks movies, and I’ve been deliberately avoiding the ones with human protagonists. Because of that, I now have a lot of classics to catch up on!
And so I kept choosing animal characters for my art, too, creating my own originals and redrawing stills from my favorite movies. Thinking that as a “real” artist I should be able to draw everything and anything, I also attempted to draw humans from time to time, but I really did not thrive artistically when doing so. I just kept going to my animal comfort zone. Eventually, I stopped bothering and simply accepted it as a personal preference.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
My first huge inspiration were the animated classics from Disney, Dreamworks, or 20th Century Fox. Soon enough, as the Internet had grown with online art communities such as DeviantArt, I began to pick up more styles and ideas from artists that impressed me, and wanted to recreate them. Today, I use Pinterest and Instagram for my daily inspiration boost.
The other major source of inspiration for me is definitely nature. I always take multiple photos during walks or hikes to put on my personal inspiration board. Additionally, during my teenage years, I tried some photography, which I think helped me see the world through a lens and notice the compositions and ideas all around me. And since my family used to go to the countryside pretty often, I could explore forests, fields, lakes, and meadows to my heart’s content.
What does your artistic process look like?
Once I get a rough idea for my next artwork, I gather up all my references and place them on the side of my canvas so I can peek at them while drawing. I made several templates with canvas textures and my logo hidden on a separate layer, so I’m always ready to go with just one click.
First, I sketch the lines and try to adjust the proportions and composition. Then I follow up with base colors underneath, and, depending on the complexity of the drawing, I assign the background and characters to different layers or merge everything into a single layer. Once I’m happy with the colors, I merge them with their respective sketchy lines and proceed to detailing and cleaning up the drawing. I like to combine elements and use only a few canvases, because it helps with keeping the overall soft look. It also resembles painting in a traditional sense, where each brushstroke is final and can only be fixed with another coat of paint.
I try to save the sneak peeks of my process as I go, so I can share them later. Final detailing includes adding lights and all kinds of sparkles, and making sure that the colors are cohesive by adjusting the hues. Finally, I hide my logo somewhere in the artwork – and it’s done!
What do you normally do when you are not creating?
I ride my bike! I also love to meet and spend time with my friends and people dear to my heart, especially when there’s good coffee and chill in the park involved. Recently, I also started practicing classical guitar! Still, most of the time I’m “recharging” at home, so I like to watch long-form YouTube videos, or I just scroll TikTok. If I lived closer to the countryside, I would definitely add some nature walks to the list.
Who among other artists do you admire the most?
One of my first big artist crushes was Alexandra Khitrova, known under her artistic alias GaudiBuendia. Her soft brushwork, lightly textured canvas, and ethereal themes were my first big inspirations.
Another noteworthy influence is Roberto Gatto. He mostly inspired me with his daily landscape sketches that, despite rough brushwork, looked perfectly complete. I was impressed by his technique, which perfectly conveyed both the idea and atmosphere without being overly detailed. In a similar spirit, I wholeheartedly admire the fantastic sceneries by clockbirds.
Finally, my linework owes to some notable influences as well. Mainly my friend and fellow Polish artist Felidre, and Mythie-Paws – a wonderful UK artist who blessed us all with her cute artworks before she unfortunately left this world much too soon.
If you could pick one place to create in, what would it be?
Definitely a small and cozy wooden lake cabin with a fireplace, surrounded by dense forest, with mountaintops on the horizon. Ideally, with lots of different animals around, like my own pets and some wildlife stopping by. Truly a dream!
What is your dream project?
In the art world, it’s definitely creating book illustrations and concept artworks for games or movies. I would love to be able to live fully off of my art, and be able to afford regular travels to visit my family in Poland. When it comes to my lifelong dream project, it’s definitely the above-mentioned cabin, with access to horseback riding amidst the beautiful landscapes.