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Work & PortfolioWork & Portfolio
Unedited scans of my sketchbook pages, maps, art supplies experiments, bestiary pages, and worldbuilding process

Work & Portfolio

Short StoriesShort Stories
Original characters, creatures, and portals.

Short Stories

How to Illustrate Fantasy Concepts using Gouache on Black Paper


Bio - Kiara Maharaj

Bio - Kiara Maharaj

Illustrator & Writer
Kiara Maharaj (Kiara in the Forest) is a fantasy writer and illustrator from South Africa. Her illustrations are done using gouache on black paper, and are based on tree portals, characters, and creatures from her fantasy short story series: The Polkadot Files. She spends most of her time in her sketchbooks creating studies of leaves and foliage, and experimenting with techniques to paint on black paper. Before publishing her first paperback anthology, her short stories have been published by Short Story Day Africa, Articulate Africa, Fairytalez, and shortlisted in the Wilbur and Niso Smith Adventure Writing Competition. She graduated with a BSc in Computer Science from UKZN, and used that knowledge to write science fiction/fantasy. In 2022 she won first place in Nedbank's YouthX entrepreneur competition for her publishing business idea Slyspore Publishing. Since then she has been interested in educating artists on how to create an art business through her E-book series The Starving Artists Academy. Her first illustration course is about painting fantasy concepts using gouache on black paper, and her recent E-book (The Second Brain Method) became a bestseller for showing artists how to apply this popular method to improve their skills, find their unique inner voice, and create meaningful art. She exhibits at Comic Con Africa twice a year to launch her books.


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