Nature is filled with magic, patiently waiting for us to finally notice its spells. You just need to know where to look – or let Monika Šarac guide you.
Inspired by Earth and everything beyond it, Monika chose to grow her artistic skills by painting what she genuinely loves. This Croatian artist brings out the enchanted qualities of nature and encapsulates them in her ethereal designs, all oozing with soft colors and a touch of mystery.
In this week’s On The Spot, Monika talks about how staying in her comfort zone has actually helped her find magic and develop her own style. Join in!
Where do you live and what does your workspace look like?
I live in a small town in Croatia, but I spend most of my time in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, where I go to college. My workspace is simple – I have a desk where I keep all my art supplies as well as my tablet and laptop. I hope to have a more permanent and dedicated workspace someday – right now it’s not really an option since I move back and forth between my home and Zagreb.
Mesmerizing and colorful characters are your specialty. How did you develop your art style?
When I first started drawing, I didn’t even think about art style. I just drew what I liked, which at the time was mostly realistic portraits of my favorite celebrities, as well as Pokémon and various anime characters.
A few years later, when I started taking art more seriously, I became obsessed with the idea of developing my own style. The fact that my art wasn’t yet distinct was hard to accept, but I just kept trying out different things until I eventually started noticing some recurring elements in my work. I believe my art style will keep evolving in the future, as I still feel like I’m at the beginning of my artistic journey.
What is your artistic background?
I never went to art school, simply because there wasn’t one close enough for me to attend from home, and I wasn’t really ready to live alone at the age of 15. Besides, everyone always told me that becoming a successful artist simply wasn’t possible.
However, nothing ever stopped me from drawing, so I taught myself how to paint through years of practice. Of course, I also learned a lot from fellow artists who share their knowledge online, which I’m very grateful for!
What kind of work do you most enjoy doing?
I don’t have a lot of experience with working within the art industry, but I’ve enjoyed doing personal commissions so far.
What does your artistic process look like?
I usually start out with a sketch, and then just pick the first color and go from there. Sometimes I have to change the whole color scheme if it doesn’t look right. I rely on my intuition when it comes to choosing colors – and since I use digital software, I’m able to easily change them with just a few sliders.
Once I’m happy with the colors, then comes the rendering. While it’s the least difficult part of the process, it’s also the most time consuming. After I’m done with rendering, I do some final color adjustments if necessary.
What are your biggest inspirations?
I find a lot of inspiration in nature and I’m fascinated by the beauty of our planet Earth, but also by everything beyond it. I like plants, stars, and magical creatures that may or may not exist somewhere else in the universe.
As for other artists, one of my biggest inspirations throughout the years has been Loish. I appreciate her approach to creating – she does things her own way and it shows through her unique art.
What is your dream project?
I’d love to build my own world with a unique storyline and characters. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach this yet – all I know is that it’s going to be a long-term project, so I don’t want to rush into it before I’m fully ready.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not creating?
Besides painting, I spend most of my free time playing games, watching shows and looking for inspiration. If I’m in the mood, I try to learn something new – whether it’s useful or not. I also work out 4 times a week.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far?
Probably to stick to painting whatever I find enjoyable. It’s true that leaving your comfort zone can be a great way to become a better artist – but sometimes the lesson you learn is that you don’t like painting a certain thing, or in a certain way.
Pushing yourself too far can only cause burnout and frustration. Be honest with yourself and find out what it is that you genuinely like to create.