The fine detail with which designer and illustrator Andrea Smith creates her illustrations may be lost at first glance. The vibrant colours, texture and depth of focus on her designs arrest the eye at once with their whimsical representation of unmistakably Australian flora and fauna.
What lies deeper is the painstaking creative process behind the scenes – Andrea makes all of her illustrations by carefully layering intricate paper cuttings, one on top of the other, to build a collage of colour and movement.
The result is a joy to behold – lively storytelling with each tiny piece contributing to a brilliant, considered whole.
Andrea started working with paper collage 10 years ago when studying to be an illustrator and her love of folk art from Europe and North America influenced her work from early on. “I wanted to bring that aesthetic and storytelling to reflect the Australian native flora and fauna of the landscape that I grew up in,” she explains.
With a fashion design background, the textural and tactile quality of the paper drew Andrea to the medium. “I like the freedom paper gives me to move things around and create happy accidents,” she says.
“I loved that I could achieve a flat, graphic look while also creating lots of texture and depth.”
“I could do what I do digitally but for me it’s the hands-on process and the labour of love that creates something special.”
Always looking ahead to her next collaboration, Andrea is currently working on a new range of greeting cards and stationary for Earth Greetings, developing textile prints for a fashion label and getting new products ready for The Makers and Shakers Market in Canberra next month.