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:
Strong-Willed, Reflective, Eccentric
Spiritual, Ethereal, Romantic
Lively, Expressive, Thoughtful
Curious, Daring, Unpredictable
Kind, Open-Minded, Caring
Loving, Friendly, Reliable
Creative, Calm, Sensitive
Bold, Determined, Kind
Find Katy’s art and more in a sneak peek of the The Imagination Issue HERE and in the shop HERE!