Magdalena Marchocka on nature, digital illustration, and being stuck inside.

 Madgalena Marchocka is a Polish illustrator, with a typographic focus and love for animation. Her illustrations have a beautiful, tender, handmade quality to them. Homely and warm colour palettes complement the scratchy texture of the brushwork, further bolstered by her unconventional and striking use of negative space. We were lucky enough to be able to pick her brains about her practice. Her brilliant work "Eden" is available from graphic editions.


We really enjoyed looking through your 36 days of type challenge, it was refreshing to see an analogue feel in there. What materials do you use, or are your illustrations done digitally?


Nowadays I mainly draw digitally - on a graphic tabled or an iPad. It saves me a lot of fuss with scanning, colors and formats. Years ago I found an old photoshop brush that I immediately fell for, and I still use it today - I like experimenting with new brushes, but I find myself coming back to that particular one. The way I use digital brushes has a lot in common with analogue drawing with paint, which was my favorite technique when I was a student. I tend to paint over my mistakes rather than erasing them, I fill all the spaces by hand instead of inserting a surface of flat color, I don’t use streamline or other ways of smoothing out my lines etc. I think that’s partially why it may feel so analogue, even though I do use some digital tricks.

I still draw by hand whenever I can, I find it very therapeutic. Many of these drawings are simple sketches or small margin ballpen creations that I often don’t showcase anywhere.


A lot of your work features plants and animals. Are there any animals, plants or natural places that have been important to you in your life?


 Nature is a great source of inspiration for me, even though sometimes I feel discouraged by it’s beauty. I will never be able to create anything half as perfect as a simple leaf or a puddle reflecting sun rays. I try to be outside as much as I can. It hasn’t always been that way though - when I was a kid, my favorite pastime was reading - mostly sci-fi or novels - and I was stuck inside a lot. I think my current illustration obsessions are a combination of my love of nature and creating new fantastic worlds. 

There’s not one particular place that is close to my heart when it comes to nature, I have been in awe of so many of them! My Eden print however has a very clear source of inspiration. I was quarantining in a small flat in the city. It was still springtime, and all I wanted was to smell the world outside and feel the sun on my face after months of winter grayness. I finally decided to go see my parents when I felt it was safe. They live in the suburbs, in a house with a garden, and they have a couple of cats. It really felt like heaven to be there. 




Who are your illustration inspirations?


One that immediately comes to mind is a polish illustrator Gosia Herba - I love her style, colors, work ethic and dedication to the community of illustrators. But there are tons of other people whose skills I admire, off the top of my head Jakub Zasada, Tatsuro Kiuchi, Hiller Goodspeed and Sophy Hollington. 



Can you tell me about a personal project you’re working on?


 I don’t have any personal long term projects at this point, but I am hoping to participate in this year’s 36 days of type challenge again, it was a really fun experience the last time!