Kirrily has a diploma in Graphic Art from NMIT in Melbourne, and the rest is self-taught!
Research is where it all starts, and Kirrily uses the internet as well as art books for references and inspiration. She loves Instagram for texture and colour ideas. Thanks to her design background, she plans her images meticulously, and works on the composition in Photoshop. When the drawing begins, she uses a technique called stippling. Millions of fine dots are created - usually with Copic Mulitliners – to form a beautiful picture. Her colour palette is minimal and the figurative parts of her images are almost always monotone.
By painstakingly creating a picture dot by dot, Kirrily seems to tap into the emotions of her subjects through their facial expressions. Their eyes are full of life and intensity. At the same time, her style is soft and reflective, with everything you need to know communicated through the body language and the eyes of the subject.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Kirrily: Drawing has been my favourite thing since I was a kid – I used to love spending as much time as possible colouring – I still do!Question: Do you have any formal design training? Kirrily: Yes, a diploma of Graphic Art from NMIT.Question: Where are you originally from? Kirrily: Narrandera, NSW, Australia.Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Kirrily: I have just moved from Melbourne to a small town called Chiltern. Chiltern is surrounded by national park and the Australian bush here is beautiful. I'm hoping to draw lots of inspiration from my quieter surroundings. I've also set up a studio called Paper Trail Studio that will be open to the public and I will be running workshops from there too.Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Kirrily: My new studio is located in an old butchery on the main street of Chiltern in North East Victoria. We have just renovated it, so it is very clean and tidy! Black concrete floor, white walls, lots of plants and of course my artwork - soon to have a mural on the back wall.Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Kirrily: Currently my biggest inspiration is nature and fashion/models.Question: How do you get your ideas? Kirrily: They usually come to me in the middle of the night. I think for me it's a matter of playing, trying different things, looking at different artists and inspirations and then walking away from it all to let the ideas silently form while I'm not taking notice!Question: Do you collect anything? Kirrily: I really love to find unique art books and have a small collection that I would never part with.Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Kirrily: No, but my inspiration board is a bit like a continually evolving scrapbook – some things stay up there forever while other things get moved on and replaced with new inspiration.Question: What is the first record you bought? Kirrily: Kylie Minogue's debut album Kylie, I was obsessed!Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Kirrily: I love to travel – be it a day trip to somewhere new or a longer trip overseas, you always learn something new when you travel.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Kirrily: I recently ran an art workshop in rural Victoria. The group were all so passionate and enthusiastic and it was incredibly rewarding to have such an impact on a small community. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Kirrily: To collaborate with a fashion label making prints for a collection.Question: Who are your art heroes? Kirrily: Del Kathryn Barton is amazing – in too many ways to mention. Her use of colour blows my mind and I often turn to her for inspiration. Frida Kahlo is also a hero of mine – she went through so much and her strength and bravado was phenomenal.Question: What's the best advice you've ever been given? Kirrily: Take your passion and make it happen. Question: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? Kirrily: I'd find a quiet, tropical beach hut in Asia and I would take all the books I've bought in the last few years that I've not read (a habitual problem I'm trying to overcome), and read, swim and eat papaya salad and prawns.Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Kirrily: The 1920's – the arts were thriving, the fashion and architecture were stunning and the music was great.