Discover the Journey of Bird Artist Maria Elizabeth | doodlewear

Discover the Journey of a Bird Artist: A Creative Chats Interview with Maria Elizabeth Artist

Exploring the Evolution of Bird Artistry: A Deep Dive into Maria Elizabeth's Creative Chat

In this blog post, we dive into the intricate and detailed world of Maria Elizabeth, a talented bird artist known for her meticulous illustrations of New Zealand's native birds. Maria has been cultivating her artistic skills from a young age, often painting alongside her mum. Although she has focused on being a bird artist for the past four years, her creative journey includes a background in graphic design, with occasional design projects still peppering her schedule. Like many artists exploring their craft, Maria experimented with various mediums, with a particular fondness for printmaking—she even owns her own desktop letterpress which she hopes to revisit soon. Today, her art primarily features black and white detailed illustrations of New Zealand’s native birds. Beyond the canvas, Maria is a wife, dedicated mum of two boys, a designer, pattern maker, and even finds time to hit the tennis courts. Through our Creative Chats interview, you'll discover how Maria's passion for art evolved, her creative process, and what inspires her to keep drawing. Let's take a journey into the feathers and flights of Maria's artistic journey!
Maria Elizabeth Artist

A Passion for Nature and Art

"I started out attempting to draw a NZ Robin that I had photographed on a walk with my family. This illustration got the attention of an acquaintance who asked if I could illustrate a Kingfisher for their husband, from this I gained a few more commissions of other native birds and I guess you could say the rest is history."

From a casual start to a thriving career, Maria's journey as a bird artist began quite spontaneously. Her initial attempts, fueled by the natural beauty of New Zealand's bird life, soon turned into a full-fledged profession. Maria's background as a graphic designer only enhanced her artistic pursuits, although she never initially dreamed of becoming an artist.

"Growing up, my dream job was to be an Architect, and it wasn’t until looking over my Design school prospectus that the interest in becoming a Graphic Designer grew."


Maria Elizabeth Artist Drawing


Crafting Photo-Realistic Feathers

"I am known for fine detailed illustrations of New Zealand native birds, and my aim is to make each illustration as photo realistic as possible."

Maria's commitment to realism in her art is profound. Her process involves meticulous steps from capturing photographs of birds in their natural habitats to sketching and inking detailed illustrations. Each piece is a testament to her dedication to capturing the essence of her avian subjects.

"My process starts with going out and taking photographs of birds and close-ups of the foliage they are on or likely to be on. This process sometimes feels like the longest part of the whole illustration. Once I am happy with the layout I print a rough black and white image that I reference and sketch in pencil onto paper. When these pencil markings are done I start in with a black archival ink pen, I always start with the eye, I feel it’s the most important part of my illustrations as this is what draws your attention in."



doodlewear 'Call Of The Kārearea' art print falcon bird t shirt by Wellington-based bird artist Maria Elizabeth.


Embracing Contrast in Artistic Preferences

"My favourite type of art is abstract art, I love the way the colours and shapes draw you in and that the feelings it invokes is personal to the viewer. It is a style of art that fascinates me as no matter how hard I try I cannot create it myself, I tend to get bogged down with details rather than a feeling and as a result my art ends up looking like something which defeats the purpose of being abstract."

Though Maria is a master at the precise and detailed realm of bird illustration, she holds a deep appreciation for the fluid and interpretative nature of abstract art. This admiration highlights her broad palette of artistic tastes and her understanding that art impacts everyone differently, evoking personal connections that are uniquely shaped by individual perceptions.


Kereru of Kapiti Island hoodie MARIA ELIZABETH ARTIST

doodlewear 'Kereru of Kapiti Island' art print kereru pigeon hoodie by Wellington-based bird artist Maria Elizabeth


Rekindling Creativity with Nature's Muse

"When I’m not inspired to create art I tend to get out of my office and go out into nature by going for walks and taking photos for inspiration."

For Maria, nature is not just the subject of her art but also her sanctuary for rejuvenation and inspiration. Whenever she feels a creative block, stepping outside into the natural world helps restore her artistic energy. These moments away from the studio are crucial, allowing her to return with fresh ideas and renewed motivation to translate the beauty of nature into her detailed illustrations.


Majestic Tui long sleeve tee MARIA ELIZABETH ARTIST

doodlewear 'Majestic Tui' NZ bird long sleeve tee by Wellington-based bird artist Maria Elizabeth


Maria's Favourite Creation

"My favourite piece of art that I’ve created is my ‘Twin Bells” illustration. It was the first piece that made me realise that I could do this as a career. It showed realistic depth and feathering technique that just clicked into place for me, from here creating feathers and how they sit instinctively makes sense. I also love the name of this illustration, it was named by my son and I thought it was a very clever name from a 10yr old."

The 'Twin Bells' holds a special place in Maria's heart, symbolising not only her skill but also a personal milestone in her career as a bird artist. Named by her son, this piece reflects the deep connection Maria has with both her family and her art.


Twin Bells


The Artistic Life: Freedom and Balance

"The best thing about being an artist is the freedom to be my own boss and to create in a way that my work doesn’t feel like work. It also means I have a great work/life balance."

Maria values the flexibility that her career offers, allowing her to be present for her family while pursuing her passion. This balance is crucial for her, as it fosters both personal happiness and professional fulfilment.


Maria Elizabeth Artist Contemporary Bird Art

Maria's sons proud wearing her contemporary bird art. 


Inspiring the Next Generation

"Keep going, it is amazing how much you can develop and change within your style through consistent practice."

To budding artists, Maria offers advice that resonates with her own experiences—perseverance is key. Her journey exemplifies how continuous practice and passion can evolve into a successful artistic career.



A Call to Explore and Engage

As we conclude our creative chat with Maria, a bird artist whose life and work are as vibrant as the subjects she depicts, we invite you to explore her stunning illustrations. Check out her collaboration collection at Doodlewear, where her detailed bird artworks find new life on wearable fashion.

Are you inspired by Maria's journey and her stunning bird illustrations? Visit Doodlewear to see her collaboration collection and maybe find a piece that speaks to you!

Explore Maria Elizabeth Artist’s Doodlewear Collaboration Collection »






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