A woman wearing a black jacket and pink scarf is standing against a grey background. There are cherry blossoms on the left.

Marija Smirnovaitė

Marija Smirnovaitė was born in 1978 in Lithuania, she studied at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Her native town is Vilnius. She is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, ceramic artist and designer. She has illustrated and published more than fifty books in Lithuania. In 2012, her illustrated children’s book were awarded “Most Beautiful Book Of The Year” and “Book Of The Year” by the IBBY organization. In 2013, she won the award for the Best Children’s Book in Lithuania. In 2014, her illustrations were selected for the Illustrators’ Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (Italy). 

To see more of her artwork, please visit: www.behance.net/musiukas

‘I love drawing! Illustrating books is the most wonderful job and the best profession I can imagine. No matter how long I live, I won’t ever have enough time to illustrate all the stories I like or implement all the ideas that come to me.
After drawing, my second passion is ceramics. For me, making pottery is a deeply meditative activity that occurs after I finish a book illustrating project. 

Another of my favorite activities (besides ceramics and illustration) is gardening. I have a tiny garden near my house where I grow irises, lavender, clematis, ferns, and thyme. 

I get my most powerful inspiration from walking in the forest or woods, along sea dune coastal lines, or by rivers and lakes. The most magical place in the world for me is the Dūkšta river not far from Vilnius city. It is rocky, extremely fast, and the most beautiful place to take a leisurely walk. I usually go there no matter what time of year it is. 

I am also learning how to sail a yacht right now – although so far only on lakes. But even a small lake can be an ocean if you have a good imagination!’