03 Apr 2023Mont Marte

A while back, she reconnected with her creativity while on maternity leave. With her little one asleep, she started sharing her work. Now Stacey Bigg (@kalaii_creations), has had her work featured in everything from fashion to a Children’s book and even on a wedding dress! With a can-do attitude, her delicate designs are full of colour, warmth and often inspired by nature.

We got to know Australian illustrator and watercolour artist, Stacey Bigg and uncovered her creative journey, how she creates her work, and we grabbed a few of her watercolour tips and tricks along the way.

Artist Stacey Bigg holds watercolour painting and watercolour brush and smiles with a dried palm behind her.

How did your journey to creativity unfold?

I was on maternity leave with my second baby (I’m a mum of two) in 2016 when I discovered Instagram. I had never joined the platform before, and I started seeing so much artwork, and collaboration between peers. It ignited a spark in me, and I started illustrating and posting my work during kiddie nap times. Soon people began asking me to make artwork for them, and I just kept saying yes, and it opened up so many opportunities.

Eventually I discovered what’s called surface design -- at the time I understood this as basically getting my artwork onto lots of different surfaces, and I was hooked.

From there I’ve had the pleasure of creating artwork in the form of repeat seamless patterns for swimwear, baby and active wear companies, and I’ve even had my artwork featured on wedding cakes and a wedding dress. It was such an amazing experience.

Where do you find your inspiration for a piece?

I look to nature a lot of the time, and of course, my clients. My clients provide me with such great vision on how they want their artwork to look, and I get a lot of joy from helping bring this to life. I look at other artist’s work, trending articles on new colours and styles, Pinterest and google too. I love taking my own photos of nature, flowers or leaves and recreating these in my style of artwork.

Baby wrapped in blue fabric with tropical fish watercolour painting designed on the fabric.

Where do you create? What does it look like? 

I’ve carved out a space in my home for my studio. It’s a little sunroom at the front of the house, so guests can see it as soon as they walk in. It has three large windows with wooden blinds (in a natural colour), and I have white desks around one half of the room (I like to spread out hehe). I have two large computer screens, a pink keyboard and behind my computer screens I also have some gorgeous, dried fan palms. These dried palms are in neutral shades of white and pink and they sit in white vases. I love bringing tropical nature inside!

The other half of the room is filled with shelves and storage for my ever growing list of art supplies. Every day while I’m working, I listen to my favourite tunes, or podcasts on Spotify, and there is so much bird life around me, so I hear lots of chirping all day long.

Your works are also featured on fabrics, do you approach this the same way as a design or watercolour painting?

Yes, for the most part. I paint or illustrate themes, motifs or trending ideas on paper. I then clean all of the artwork and use Photoshop and or Illustrator to make repeat patterns. The second half is a bit techy, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s so amazing how you can watch your artwork change from single motifs/elements/drawings, into complete patterns. It’s even more amazing watching your patterns go from your paper and computer to real life applications, like baby onesies, yoga mats, stationery and so on!


Artist Stacey Bigg smiling and creating on an iPad with her watercolour designs overlaying the image.

What do you love most about watercolour? Any watercolour tips and tricks?

I love the flow of the paint as it hits the paper and the gorgeous textures it creates once it dries. I love how everyone has their own style too. Everyone’s piece is different based on their control, pressure etc. I also love how it’s a super- beginner friendly hobby too and it is so relaxing!

Tips and Tricks: hmmm this is a good question. I think something I have learnt, is to paint to your strengths. You don’t have to be an amazing landscape artist or paint a whole completed scene. If you work better painting individual elements (like one flower on a page), go for it! You can continue to learn other skills later in your journey like digitising your artwork -- which can help you combine your artwork into wall prints, birthday cards and so on. The list is endless.

Watercolour tips: water is your best friend. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of it. It helps the paint flow so well and it adds excitement to the page. If you use too much, you can always dab it up with a tissue or use your dry paint brush to soak up the excess. This also helps add texture too.

Thanks for your tips! What’s something you were nervous about starting, that turned out amazing?

I was very nervous to undertake my first commissioned children’s book project. A lovely USA author contacted me to illustrate her story. But it was my first book. I was very upfront with the author about this, but it was just meant to be. We’ve finished the illustrations and it’ll be published in early 2023. We’ve received some great feedback from publishers too! So, I’m very excited to see it launch. It’s called ‘One Day’ and it’s about the worries and anxieties that normal every day activities can cause us all. It has a lovely message that the universe embraces us and that we will all be okay. It will be okay.

Pink flower drawn on watercolour paper and filled with colour next to a red Mont Marte watercolour tube and brush.

Do you have a favourite Mont Marte product?

Oh there are soooo many goodies in your entire collection. I have used so many and it’s always my first stop when purchasing goodies for my children to learn and play with art. My favourite though, would be the Monte Marte premium watercolour paper 300 gsm -- Lovely quality paper and the Monte Marte premium watercolour paints (pack of 24) I love having heaps of colours in my collection.

Have your creative influences changed as you’ve matured as an artist?

I love trying to work in lots of new styles all the time. I feel this pushes my creativity and skills to the limit, so in my journey I’ve progressed from watercolour and pencils through to learning the iPad and Procreate app, but now I’m really loving the textured art movement, so I’m excited to try and create some textured art. I love that as I learn each new skillset, it becomes a tool in my tool kit that I can use for different projects as needed. But in the end, I always circle back to watercolours as a firm favourite!


Possum painting in watercolour on white paper next to a green plant.

How do you get yourself out of a creative dry spell?

I think a little bit of rest goes a long way, so making sure you’re taking care of yourself is very good to ensure you don’t burn out. I find after a shopping trip and looking at all the fashion, wall prints, and bedlinen out in the world, I get so pumped to get home and start trying some new paintings and patterns to add to my pattern library for sale!

What does a Sunday afternoon look like for you?

Sundays are filled with domestic bliss. All the fun family chores, like cleaning the house, doing the laundry and putting away six baskets of washing. It just never ends hehe. We also visit my mum and dad who live close by, the kids love a visit with their nan and pop. If I can squeeze in some creative time just for me, then I do, but mostly it’s just about spending time together and getting ready for the busy hustle and bustle of the next week ahead.


We hope that you feel inspired by Stacey Bigg and her story. Create something for yourself and #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create. Or check out more feature artists here.