We're very pleased to announce that Maruko Zhao has joined the Illo roster.

We're very pleased to announce that Maruko Zhao has joined the Illo roster. Maruko, currently based in China, loves colour and has a great talent for story-telling through illustration.

Some have said her artwork has many healing qualities, as her works are very atmospheric, whether it's a warm or funny tone,  it's always very likeable.  She has rich experience in commercial illustration - collaborating with many clients at home or abroad. In recent years, she began to focus on children's book illustration, which resulted in an award, for her first original picture book.

Here’s where we found out a little more…

When did you start illustrating?
I started taking part in illustration competitions and activities when I was in primary school, but at that time it was just a hobby. The first time I regarded illustration as not only a hobby but also a career and a part of my life was after I entered university.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?
That has to be one of my editors. I studied illustration by myself in University, but I still couldn't find any job by the results of self-study when I graduated. At that time, that editor appeared and invited me to serialize comics. I learned a lot from that work experience, which laid a good foundation for my later work. Most importantly, if that editor didn't show up, I might have to give up my dream for a while.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?

I used to think that only engaged in art related professions, such as painting, such as music, could be regarded as artistic life. However, I later found that art was just an attitude towards life. Everything that everyone was doing could be called "art" as long as they put in their feelings and hearts. So I now think that art is a very important part of life.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?
There are many subjects that I like to express, among which my favorite one is about feelings and emotions. Last year he wrote a personal picture book about "cherishing the time I spend with my family before it's too late".

How would you describe your style?
 Since I like to express emotions and feelings, my works are often full of stories but not deep ones. I tend to express them with interesting elements. Color is also a very important part of my work. I like pictures full of colors, gentle or active.

What is your favorite collaboration to date?
I once serialized cartoons on the network platform for a period of time. It is my favorite cooperation, because I had the honor to freely express a lot of views in the comics, and my editor also helped me a lot in the story sorting. It was a very happy cooperation.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?
I like the style of Illo, very relaxed and lovely. When Amy contacted me for the first time, I felt that she was very friendly, so I thought this would be an opportunity. I might have a good cooperation experience in the future.

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?
I like Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, the authors of the Blacksad series. They can write and draw great stories. And Julia Sarda, lisk Feng and so on.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?
Earlier this year, I started to apply illustrations to products like cell phone cases and T-shirts and blankets, and then put them on the Internet for sale. This is my first attempt to sell my art product, and to be honest, the result is not very ideal. There are still many parts I need to learn.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact her agent; [email protected]

at illo agency we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.