Noted 2016 Artist Spotlight: Madeleine Karutz

This year, ahead of Noted, Bela Farkas interviewed six festival artists. In this sixth instalment, he chats to Madeleine Karutz, a freelance comic artist, illustrator and animator. She has created comics for the National Youth Magazine, Voiceworks and a recent comic anthology called Starrytellers as well as various student publications.

Image: Madeleine Karutz (sort of)

Image: Madeleine Karutz (sort of)

How did you get started as an Illustrator?

I started by drawing little characters on whatever material was available and it’s progressed from there. Unfortunately it did not involve a giant man knocking on my door and telling me ‘Yer a Illustrator, Maddy’. But it did involve some really amazing people encouraging me and offering me some great opportunities to grow as an artist.

What can you tell us about your work in the Starrytellers project?

Starrytellers is a comic anthology about stars and I did a comic about a busker magician that can perform little bits of real magic, but at a personal cost. It’s an 18-page comic so it’s probably my longest published comic to date.

Could you briefly explain your creative process?

Generally it involves me trying to read as many articles and other stories as I can during the day. So by the time I go to bed my brain is overflowing with ideas and I scribble them down. These many doodles then form a collective overnight and trip me over when I get out of bed the next morning, demanding my attention. Then there is a self-doubt fermentation period of anything from two days to a year. If they make it through that I try to make them look handsome and cohesive, ready for public consumption.

What are things that are inspiring your work right now?

I’m really enjoying little comics/animations that are like parables or any that involve talking animals. Especially inspired by the work of Yuri Norstein and Tove Jansson. Trying to take some of that aboard so I can find alternate ways to tell the stories I want to tell that can engage viewers better.

Do you have creative slumps? And if so, how do you handle them?

Probably my greatest problem is having the confidence to see something through. Doubt worms its way through and at 3am you’re wondering if it’s worth it, does the world need another comic with a talking dog? I normally handle it by just pushing through it, playing some music. By the time it’s done you can see the merit in it, it’s just in the halfway stage that everything looks a bit wonky because you’re really projecting with your doomfuture head imaginator what it will be.

Madeleine Karutz will feature at Noted Writers’ Festival 2016 in the following events: Independent Publishing Fair – Sunday 20 March, 10am-3pm at Gorman Arts Centre; and Remixed Histories – throughout the festival online.


Canberra-based writer and 2016 Noted artist Bela Farkas's work is heavily influenced by popular culture and current events. Bela's work will also appear as part of Bill Poetries at this year's festival.