Marianna Madriz is an illustrator originally from Venezuela, currently living and working in London. Marianna is the illustrator of Frida Kahlo, one of the latest books in the Little Guides to Great Lives series, written by Isabel Thomas.
A winner of the 2014 Dorset Visual Arts Prize, her clients include Creative Review and the House of Illustration.
Can you describe your book in no more than 5 words?
Strong woman, ideals, Mexico, art!
Can you tell us about the particular inspiration behind your book?
Years ago I travelled to Mexico and I was lucky enough to visit Frida Kahlo’s Blue House, where I took at least 200 photos of her room, her clothes, her collection of miniature skeletons and puppets. All of these elements (and other photos I took in and around the city) later found their way into informing the illustrations for this book.
Where is your favourite place to find inspiration and/or write/illustrate?
Who or what made you into a reader? Can you remember a specific book or moment?
My dad. One time, before going on holiday, he took me to the local bookstore and let me choose any books I wanted, on the condition that I had to read them during our travels. This became our little tradition every summer, and he recommended me many books I still have and revisit today.
Who would you love to collaborate with most (anyone living or dead)?
Joanna Newsom. She's my favourite musician, and writes some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I bet she'd be amazing at writing children's books, and (if that happens) I'd love to illustrate them.
What is the best book you’ve read recently?
House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, Mary who Wrote Frankenstein, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Julia Sarda and Tender Shoots by Paul Morand.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing their own stories, or creating their own art?
Just do it, and if you love it never stop! Surround yourself with other people who also share your interests and enjoy creating, and learn from them.