Girl Power and Colors
MEET THE ARTIST: Maddy Zoli
In the past, women have been portrayed in art mostly as creatures of seduction. This is likely due to the old-fashioned, male-led, notions of Advertising.
Modern Art, instead, has showcased women in a myriad of ways. Still, there is a new crop of boundary-breaking females that feel there is a lot more to say.
And Maddy Zoli, Italian illustrator based in Brighton, has made it into her illustrations as her mission to represent women in all of their multidimensional power: diverse, brave beings, who feel love and experience loss, who explore sexuality and much more in today’s frenetic world.
Maddy’s passion for illustration allows her to work on many side projects with friends and clients outside of work, she’s currently working as an Art Director for an e-learning company.
We’ve interviewed her hoping that you find some inspiration from her creative world.
Where do you find your inspiration to create your illustrations?
I find inspiration to create my work mostly on the web. I read a lot of comic books and watch tons of movies and tv series. With time I started understanding which stories are more precious to me and why. The themes that inspire me the most are certainly love, in all its forms, and ancient myths. I also look at the work of the artists that I love and I use it as an inspiration to improve my technique to deliver my own stories.
What has been your process of creating an online presence?
Opening an account for my art on social media was very easy, but sticking to a consistent posting schedule is quite hard and I still struggle with it today.
I decided to use Instagram because it is a very image-focused media and the art community is very active on that platform.
I feel very lucky to receive the support of my friends and my peers on Instagram. If I need more constructive feedback, I simply share my work with family and friends, who have always had a good taste in art. They have certainly given me the best advice so far!
When did you start illustrating?
When I was 10 I drew my first comic book for my classmates. It was a one-page adventure of me and my friends fighting the bullies in our school. As I said before, I’ve always been interested in comic books and fairytales, but only in my early twenties did I finally decide to pursue a creative career.
How did you discover Vectornator?
When I started using my iPad I was happy that I could finally do some digital drawing directly on a screen. Being a vector artist though, I was desperate for an app that could allow me to do vector art just as easily. That’s when I found Vectornator.
What do you like most about Vectornator?
What I like the most about Vectornator is the user interface. It looks like a lighter version of a desktop vector software, but don’t be fooled, it is a complete tool!
The thing that I use the most, besides my trusty pen tool, is the layer panel. I love a tidy project! It takes so many layers to create my characters and the new group layers and multiple artboard features allow me to have more control over the organization of my file.
I wish there were more brushes and textures to help our vector creation to have that extra touch. Also, I’d love a smart freehand drawing tool. I think that would make the creative experience a lot more enjoyable for illustrators.
Have you ever used any of our Tutorials to help you learn the app? If so, was one type of tutorial more useful than the others?
The tutorials definitely helped me learn how to use the app and where to find all the tools that I needed. I still watch the mini-tutorials published on Instagram and YouTube to keep myself up to date with new releases of the app.
I think the most useful mini tutorial I watched was the one about anchor points and how to change them from a right corner to a smooth corner with a simple double-tap. That trick is so useful!
Would you recommend Vectornator to other people?
Yes, I always recommend it to my friends.
Let’s get to the point.
I see that you mainly draw females characters. The women designed by you are far from championing unrealistic body standards, mechanical poses, or smug expressions. It looks like every illustration manifests the creation of a new world, designed for today’s women. Is this correct or is there any other specific reason behind that choice?
Yes, this is correct. The characters that live in my illustrations are mostly brave and strong women, who are not afraid to jump into the unknown and who grow proud and tall. Women in art are often portrayed as a symbol of beauty and sensuality. More and more artists are stepping away from this tradition by choosing to portray lots of modern and independent female characters.
I have found great beauty in smart, curious and confident people and I think that those traits need to be celebrated more.
I always place my modern characters in fairytale-like environments. This contrast creates a shift in the narration that I quite enjoy. I ask myself things like “how would Cinderella find her way in the world nowadays?” or “what if Prince Charming is the one who needs saving from the evil witch?”.
I’m constantly surrounded by incredible women and kind men who don’t believe in themselves. All I want is to give them representation through my art and hopefully help them believe in themselves a bit more.
What is your dream achievement as an illustrator?
My dream achievement as an illustrator would be to create more stories for modern women and men. I’d like to portray strong and independent female characters alongside kind and generous men. I need to create stories that could encourage boys and girls to share their feelings and dreams without reservations. I’ll keep sharing new adventures in the hope that they would entertain and inspire other people the way they inspire me.
Maddy Zoli is now working on a new illustrated adventure that she wrote and we can’t wait to see it.
Thank you, Maddy Zoli.
You can find her on: