5 October 2011

Australian Artist Spotlight: Simone Downey (Nomuu)

Simone Downey is Nomuu, a Melbourne-based artist who creates whimsical animal-child characters. Her style is so calming with her soft palettes and soulful subjects. These Art prints and greeting cards would make great gifts for a new baby. (I think I'd like little miss Bunny Girl With Circles - 3rd below - in my study too!). I chatted to Simone about her inspirations and how she creates her amazing artwork...

Artist: Simone Downey (Nomuu)
Location: Melbourne, Australia

What materials do you use in your artwork?
I use pencil to sketch up the characters on paper, then I retrace the illustrations with a ink pen. I use a Pigma® Micron® 0.1 to be exact. For some reason that's my favourite pen. I then actually digitally colour the artwork in Photoshop. I tend to paint and scan in textures and overlay them in Photoshop. I use things like linen, fabric and water colour. It suits me much more, because I am quite messy, so if I was painting all day my house would be even messier than it is now. I just prefer this process. It's like my own version of painting.

What inspires your art, or inspires you to create?
To be honest I would love to know that too! I was initially inspired at all. I just created these characters as a bit of fun and didn't take them seriously at all. Maybe that's the point... because I didn't take them seriously, they just came naturally to me. I like the idea that they were just inside my mind and weren't contrived.

But having said that I am creative, so I am inspired to create things. I am always trying lots of different things. I love creating my own projects.

Your boy and girl characters have such personality - are they modelled after anyone you know?
Not particularly. I mean I would love to say they were based on my 'personality' - he he! Maybe they are? There is a bit of cheekiness in some of them and sadness too. I did work with children for a number of years (I thought I wanted to leave design and become a kindergarten teacher), so I have a feeling that has influenced me somewhat. Though, I think the influences are on a subconscious level.

I am quite observant when it comes to people and their little quirks, so I am sure I picked some great facial expressions when working with children.

If your characters could talk, what language would they speak?
Oh they would speak English, or any language that they could be translated to. I do actually have little secret voice-overs that I have toyed with - ha ha! They probably would have slightly English accents. I do have this secret desire to get them animated into a series. But I suppose it would be hard for them to talk animated, since they don't have mouths...not sure how I would rectify that?

Which is your favourite character or piece?
Hmmm that's a hard one. Probably 'Bunny Girl With Circles', because I love the colours and even though she hasn't got lips, she still has personality. She just looks so sweet and adorable and do wonder what she is thinking!

Where would you most love your work to hang?
Somewhere where the work is appreciated and loved.

Where can we buy your artwork?
You can buy it at a few places but these are my main stores:
My online store and on Etsy and a few retail stores in Australia.

Thank you so much Simone - I'm thinking an animated series would be right on target. Waiting with baited breath.

If you love Simone's style, check out her curated online gallery Ammiki for more great up-and-coming independent artists.

Images: Nomuu


  1. They are such gorgeous illustrations. Great interview Steph and thanks for sharing.

  2. I feel totally chilled out just reading that! The no mouth thing could be an issue for animation, I guess, but I see a series of thought bubbles that pop up. They seem like quite little people anyway :)

  3. Those were lovely thanks for sharing this awesome post.


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