The Berlin-based illustrator Martha von Maydell creates images so tactile you’ll want to reach out and feel every one of them. Natural textures like feathers, snowflakes, leaves and more feature in many of her best pieces, but she’s versatile enough to create everything from people to rocket ships. Each component is meticulously cut from paper, and every illustration is an assemblage of colour, form and texture that will inspire anyone who sees it.
As a child, Martha drew everywhere and always. When she found out what illustration was, she decided she’d like to be an illustrator, but swapped her pens and pencils for knives, scissors and coloured paper as she honed her own paper engineering style.
Plants and animals give her plenty of inspiration, and she loves seeing what other paper artists come up with. She enjoys crochet and watching stupid American TV shows, cooking with her friends, looking after her little boy, and travelling the world.
Martha studied graphic design for three years, and worked as a designer for two years after that. Before becoming a freelance illustrator, she worked as a production assistant on the CGI TV series Super 4, inspired by Playmobil toys.
Everything Martha creates is cut from coloured paper and glued down. She loves not just forming the images from the shapes, but building them up so that the outlines and shadows are clear, giving the artwork plenty of texture and therefore much more physical presence. Sometimes she uses a little chalk powder to create colour transitions, which bring another dimension the papercraft approach.
Martha’s style is decorative, striking, colourful and full of detail. She keeps it unique by adding new techniques, and she constantly looks for fresh ideas to adapt into her work.