If you’ve poked around at any of Adelaide’s fabulous art and craft markets lately, it’s highly likely you have come across the Adelaide Hills based illustrator and artist, Zinia King. Known for her intricate depictions of Australian wildlife and plants, King is making a name for herself on the Adelaide art scene, with her designs and illustrations becoming easily recognisable and much loved amongst the community. With a new children’s book just released, King and her furry creations are certainly something to watch.
King has always loved creating stories and drawings to go along with them, but it wasn’t until the end of high school that she really got into it. After living in Europe for nine months, King felt inspired by the European architecture and galleries, and decided to start a degree in visual communications. From there, her skills grew and she became especially passionate about illustration. ‘The course encouraged us to embrace our unique drawing styles,’ says King, ‘it also gave us great guidance in actually making money from art.’
Although she has only been practicing her freelance illustration work on a professional basis for a couple of years, King already has lots of achievements tucked under her belt. ‘Awesome things that I did last year include children’s books, a honey label (of a steampunk bee), lots of pet portraits, a few album covers, exhibitions, and many, many markets!’ she says.
King’s pieces can be described as intricate and full of character, with different textures and techniques used to create detail and shading. While it all looks beautifully enticing once finished, King says there is a bit of a process behind her work. ‘I normally start with some rough sketches in a sketchbook and then go on to draw some very basic pencil outlines on the final paper,’ she explains, ‘I then go straight to pen and the rest of the process is quite organic. Patterns form as they please and if I make a mistake I just roll with it.’ King’s attention to detail is what makes her work really stand out, and the tiny elements encourage the viewer to take a closer look. However, it is also her use of colour that helps to create her eye-catching and engaging pieces. ‘I prefer to use watercolour,’ she says, ‘I love the spontaneity of watercolour and the beautiful ways different colours bleed together.’ King has also been known to use coloured pencils and digital techniques to get her colours between the lines. The results are fun, bright designs that are full of character and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
It is not uncommon to find plenty of Australian natives peering out from King’s work. Quite often the viewer will find more than one Kangaroo, Koala or Kookaburra hiding amongst a spray of gum leaves or bright bottlebrush. ‘I am lucky enough to live in the stunning Adelaide Hills and I have always had strong connection with nature,’ King says of her nature-inspired pieces. ‘I am in awe of how unique and amazing our native flora and fauna is and my aim is to capture it and make it as ‘cool’ as the English woodland creatures. I have been asked so many times if I can draw a fox, but I would prefer not to. Fox’s are beautiful creatures, but they do not belong here.’ King also finds inspiration from fellow Adelaide artists and stallholders. ‘I have always loved the intricate floral and fairy paintings of Linda Catchlove,’ she says, ‘Her botanical knowledge is outstanding and I find her connectedness with nature to be incredibly special.’
One of her most recent achievements comes in the form of a children's book. ‘Floral Fauna Friends,’ written and illustrated by King is a discovery of native Australian animals and plants from across Australia, and the pages are full of these representations through King’s unique and intricate style. A regular stall holder at some of Adelaide’s top market places, King has been selling her children’s book and artworks to market-goers as well as on her website.
For more from Zinia King as well as information about her next market stalls and exhibitions, visit her website. You'll be greeted by plenty of friendly (and intricately detailed) characters!
Images via Zinia King