Inside Darling Issue 23: Behind the Personas

Hello, Darlings!

My name is Katy Smail. I am an illustrator, painter and art director originally from Scotland and now based in Brooklyn, NY. I fell in love with drawing and painting in high school, studied illustration at Edinburgh College of Art and from then on was determined to make a career as an artist. I worked in restaurants for years while I built up my portfolio and creative network — it took longer than I thought it would to be able to earn a living in the arts. Now I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love full time.

As an illustrator, I work mostly in fashion, advertising and product design while my personal painting is inspired by color, women and the natural world. I have always loved collaborating with photographers and stylists, and lately this has evolved into my work as a photo art director.

An editorial I worked on with photographer Erin Foster is actually in Issue 23 also – it has been lovely to be fully submerged in the world of Darling this Spring! The different mediums all feel like different parts of the same world for me and I love the variety that they give to my working life.

Like Darling, I feel passionately about making images that show natural, imperfect beauty and have always been inspired by women — so I was delighted when they asked me to illustrate their Personas. I knew that I wanted to make the paintings colorful and decorative and for my women to be diverse, strong and romantic – and to sneak in my other favorite: floral patterns. 🙂

I began with pencil sketches, color palettes and outfit ideas and the Personas just emerged from there – fully formed, complicated and (I like to imagine) ready to make their mark on the world…

Here are some words I was thinking of while I created each of my women:

THE INTELLECTUAL

Strong-Willed, Reflective, Eccentric

THE DREAMER

Spiritual, Ethereal, Romantic

THE STYLIST

Lively, Expressive, Thoughtful

THE EXPLORER

Curious, Daring, Unpredictable

THE CONFIDANT

Kind, Open-Minded, Caring

THE HOSTESS

Loving, Friendly, Reliable

THE BEAUTICIAN

Creative, Calm, Sensitive

THE ACHIEVER

Bold, Determined, Kind

Find Katy’s art and more in a sneak peek of the The Imagination Issue HERE and in the shop HERE!

Artwork by Katy Smail for Darling Issue 23

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Raised amongst the purple hills and scruffy trees of Scotland, Katy graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a First Class degree in Illustration. She began her career as a fashion writer and illustrator in London, before following her dreams to New York City to work as an illustrator and art director. She now lives in Brooklyn, where she paints surrounded by plants, flowers and a little cat.

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