October 2002
Marius Gabriel

I've made my living for the past 20 years as an author with a split personality. You can read about my two halves at www.mariusgabriel.com and www.madeleineker.com!

But I've always been enchanted by art, especially computer graphics. The power to transform without limits, add multiple layers and finally, animate the whole thing, make painting on a computer wonderfully exciting for me.

I have never trained as an artist. Mind you, I never trained as a writer, either. Also, like many self-taught persons, I had an idiot as a teacher. But onward and upward ...

I've tinkered with many graphics programs. Xara X is my favourite for illustration work as well as for creating Web trinkets like GIF animations. I dream of a Flash- or Swish-like animator with a Xara toolbox!

Recently I have been tempted away from thrillers and romances into the world of children's books (I have 3 kids under 10 years old). The first result was "Princess Smartypig," the tale of a genetically modified piglet, some of the illustrations to which are featured here as a mini-book.

My technique with the Smartypig illustrations is very quick and direct – the artwork is intended to be light and amusing. I draw straight in Xara, using a Wacom tablet and often my trusty Wheelmouse. Scanning in sketches, or tracing them on the tablet, seem to kill the spontaneity for me. The line drawing is done with the Freehand tool, using no fill. I set smoothing to 10% or less, and choose stroke shapes that approximate ink pens. Colors are added in lower layers, using the Freehand tool with various fills but no line.

I make limited use of fractal fills to vary colors slightly, but not too much, as I love the jewel-like brilliance of vector graphics.

I hope you enjoy these illustrations!

Hasta la vista,

Marius Gabriel


The Art of Marius Gabriel

All images ©2002 Marius Gabriel and may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the artist

This month's Featured Artist Gallery is a bit different in that all the images are related. In fact, all the images are part of a delightful children's book which Marius has been generous enough to share will the Xara community. We are honored to feature this story and wish Marius and Princess Smartypig great success. [—Editor]

Click the picture to begin the story.

XARA Artists Wanted! We are always looking for new artists to feature on this page. If you would like to be considered for one of the future featured artists, Click Here to contact us. Please don't send images at this time. What works best is for you to place some of your best images on a Web page and send us the URL. If we decide to feature you and your images, we will contact you and provide further instructions.