Meet Andrina Manon, an illustrator and designer who’s based in Sydney. She’s worked with the likes of Dangerfield, Caboodle Magazine, and Castify, and this year she’s challenged herself to do a hundred days of watercolours. So far, her pieces have been an array of colourful and cheerful works filled with plants and groovy characters. We got the chance to ask her a few questions and find out about her artwork, inspirations, and more on her self-devised challenge.
What first got you into painting?
When I was really young my parents, who are both very creative, would set me up with an easel and paints in the garden. They would also read Tintin, Madeline and vintage Disney comics to me. I still love these books and constantly re-read and refer to them for inspiration. I also had several incredible art teachers in high school who encouraged me to experiment with lots of different mediums, one medium being watercolour which I fell completely in love with.
How do you develop your style? Would you say you have a style?
I think it develops through experimentation, practice and refinement. The more time I spend working with watercolour and fine liners the more I understand what I can get from these mediums, what works and what doesn’t. I never had the intention of sticking to a certain style but over time my work has definitely become more defined and consistent in style! However, it seems to always be changing and growing as I discover new influences and techniques.
I know you’ve worked with watercolour, pigment liners, collage and tiny brushes. Do you have a favourite style or tool?
I do! I currently use Micron pigment liners and Winsor & Newton watercolours nearly everyday. Safe to say that they’re my favourite materials!
Your Instagram tells me you went to India recently. What was that like?
It was amazing! I was in Gujarat for nearly a month with a group of twenty textiles students from UNSW. We participated in embroidery, dyeing and printing workshops with local artisans in Ahmedabad and Kutch as well as visiting temples, museums and meeting with incredible groups and NGOs such as the Self Employed Women’s Association. I can’t wait to go back and explore other parts of the country.
Tell me about your ‘100 Days of Watercolour’!
‘100 Days of Watercolour’ is a self-devised project that I started in January.
The aim of the project being to create an illustration with watercolours everyday and publish the results to my Instagram. At the end of the challenge I plan to self-publish a zine of the 100 illustrations.
Has it been challenging so far?
I wanted this project to get me out of my comfort zone, challenge me to experiment and try new things with watercolour. So far I have found it challenging to fit the project in with everyday life, work and study but am so happy and surprised with the results, which inspires me to keep going.
How do you come up with the characters you paint? At least I see them as characters – each of them look like they have their own personalities, lives!
Oh thank you! I love character and world building. I think an interesting illustration transports you to another place or gives you insight into someone else’s life. I mainly get my character inspiration from seeing people go about their everyday lives. Information and inspiration seems to sink in constantly, whether it’s from seeing the lovely florist near my apartment, catching a man in a suit riding a unicycle down Oxford Street, a group of friends at the beach, a lady walking her dog or a couple having a picnic in the park.
What is your inspiration for each day? To do a painting for a 100 days must get repetitive at some point. How do you keep the ideas fresh and flowing?
The inspiration is often very random. It might be from something interesting that I spotted on my walk home, a film that I watch, objects around my apartment or even the weather! Sometimes one painting will inspire the next day and will prompt me to make a little series of connected illustrations. I try to keep the paintings experimental and fun so that it doesn’t become repetitive or a chore to do!
Where can people find you?