The Inspiration Diaries: An Interview with Artist/Illustrator Maria Young

Ideas are more than what you create. It’s a connection to something that inspires you… how you separate yourself from the crowd. This isn’t just a series of interviews with artists, musicians, influencers and taste makers. With “The Inspiration Diaries,” I am trying to capture the drive and passion of these people, find out what inspires them, and in turn, why they inspire us.

Maria Young

Artist and Illustrator Maria Young was born in Central New Jersey where her roots were firmly planted until she visited Mississippi and met her husband, Steven. She moved to Jackson in 1999 and has since made Mississippi her home. In 1988, she graduated from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA with a BFA in Illustration and began her professional career as a graphic designer.

She has always loved to sketch and paint and considers her talents a special God-given gift. Her favorite subject matter includes people and animals and she enjoys working in acrylic, watercolor, ink and pencil.

alice fisher Mrs Tittlemouse peter

Who or what inspires you?
My life experiences, especially my childhood; my children; nature

What’s your favorite art work?
I love the biggies like Michelangelo, Leonardo, Picasso, Van Gogh…I like classic, figurative work. A forever favorite is Mucha and his connection to nature. My favorite painting used to be Reubens’ Prometheus Bound, but now I thinks it’s so dark…as I’ve gotten older I prefer more color and appreciate abstract painting like Rick Stevens — the closest I’ll get to liking any kind of landscape painting or the simplicity of Walter Anderson and color burst of a Wyatt Waters’ painting.


What do you love about your work?
…that sometimes I surprise myself!

What do you dislike about your work?
I am impatient and time crunched so a lot of what I do goes unfinished.

What artist do you most identify with?
Wyatt Waters. He is the only one I’ve met. He is a Mississippi painter/illustrator and I studied Illustration in college. He illustrated a book called The Year of the Stars and took the time to tell us some of the back story of his illustrations when my daughters and I met him.

Who are three people that you’d like to be compared to. Why?
Oh I don’t know. I think I’d rather not be compared to anyone. I would like to be considered creative, compassionate and appreciative of all that I’ve been blessed with.


What is your dream project?
Oh definitely a children’s book that gets PUBLISHED! Ha. I’m working on that. Sort of. ; )

What superpower would you have and why?
First of all, let me say I definitely would NOT want to read minds. I think it is overrated and asking for trouble! I think I’d like to fly or have super vision. Either one would give me a new perspective.

Name something you love, and why.
I love being a mother. For me there is simply no greater experience than being a parent to an amazing little being that grows up right before your very eyes. I love being creative with my daughters (7 and 5). It doesn’t get lost on them. They are very talented little artists and I think it’s pretty cool that I’ve passed on my talent to them.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t learn the tools of the trade, learn the trade.” There’s a lot to be said about having a strong foundation in the skills you need to express yourself or tell a story. I believe it’s just as important to have a strong foundation in your faith, in life, in marriage…otherwise it just feels half-hearted.

If you are in need of a graphic designer or illustrator for any corporate or personal projects, please contact her at: She also has a portfolio web site (in progress at this writing) to showcase her book illustrations, graphic design and custom painting/murals. in progress. Go to:

Tom Kitten

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4 thoughts on “The Inspiration Diaries: An Interview with Artist/Illustrator Maria Young

    • She’s trying to break into children’s books and illustrations. By having her sit down to write the interview, she has been spurred into action to get an online portfolio together and really pursue her dream. I’d like to think that I had a little something to do with the nudging process.

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