Miranda Tacchia is an LA-based artist and illustrator for animation, who has worked for some of the best in the business including Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Over the last couple of years, though, she’s gathered a hefty 34,000 followers on Instagram by publishing her personal work, a series of sassy, curvy ladies with tons of attitude.
After studying at California Institute of the Arts, Miranda built her portfolio by drawing nature studies on road trips and hikes, and posting them online, hoping to get noticed. A year later she landed a job designing backgrounds for Star vs. the Forces of Evil at Disney, then another show Pickle and Peanut, which had a “drastically” different style she says. “We actually got to design backgrounds with ink and paper, instead of digital, which is rare these days.” Following that she worked on Pinky Malinky at Nickelodeon and became a character designer there, before moving to Cartoon Network – but meanwhile craving another creative outlet.
“After a few years designing backgrounds every day, I felt the need to explore something else,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I love facial expressions, so I started drawing characters on Post-it notes, usually focusing on them from the neck or chest upwards. So much can be said with just an expression. I became obsessed with depicting emotions, so I’d come up with a short caption or story I felt most people could relate to, and now it’s become a daily habit.’
Miranda uses a fine-tip brush pen for line work, and Copic pens for colour and shape, preferring traditional methods and a pared-back visual approach, to “suggest as much as possible with limited visual information”.
Her characters are mostly “unimpressed women”, each individual but with a common trait that “they don’t give a shit about you” she says, and drawn from personal experience. “Throughout my life, people have drawn attention to my demeanour, my lack of smiles or reactions to things. One time, when I was a kid, an adult said to me: ‘Miranda, you’re going to make some poor man really miserable someday.’ I assume he was referring to my inability to be effusive. That stayed with me, and though the situations I draw aren’t necessarily literal, the characters I create are an extension of me. I found a catharsis in drawing them not caring about how they’re being perceived, whether they’re talking to someone, being sexual, or just existing.”
Inspired by Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Nicolas de Crécy and Carlos Nine, as well as Picasso and Francis Bacon, Miranda draws most of her material from day-to-day life. “I like to take experiences that I think most people can relate to and make them visual. I enjoy making people laugh, but I also like to address things that I think are hard to talk about. If I can take someone out of their head for a minute to remind them they’re not alone, that means something.”