Meet Talia Horsburgh

Talia Horsburgh is an Australian illustrator known commonly online by her internet alias Orbitalswan. Talia has a passion for creating and teaching art. She has taught drawing workshops to teams from notable companies such as Google, YouTube, and Pinterest. When not in her studio, Talia can be found playing with her two children at their Hervey Bay home in Queensland, Australia. She is also the author of The Art of Drawing Manga. We asked Talia a few question about her artistic process.

Quarto Creates: How did you first become interested in manga?
Talia Horsburgh: I became interested in the manga style long before I ever knew what ‘manga’ was.

All I knew at the time (4 years old) was that I loved TV shows such as Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokémon. They all spoke to me in a way that I could never quite put my finger on. When I was 5 my father gifted me a Sailor Moon DVD that I vividly remember tracing over and over again to get my art to look even a little bit like what I saw on TV. It wasn’t until I reached 12 years old that one of my friends let me read a manga they had in their bag. It was then that I realized this art style was it, the style that always motivated me to want to draw and create! Once I learned that, the rest is history. I read as much manga as I could, watched different anime and learned all the different facets and nuances that exist in the world of manga.


QC: Who was your most influential teacher?
TH: This is a surprisingly hard question to answer.

Even though I pursued art in university and had many different teachers throughout my schooling years, I can’t specifically pin down one person who I can say for certain was my biggest influence. Each teacher I had taught me valuable artistic principles which I still use to this day. I also took inspiration from many YouTube tutorials and artists who slowly shaped me into the artist I am now. What I can say for certain though is my family has always been my most motivating and influential force in my life. They all in their own ways uplifted and supported this passion of mine. Never once believing I couldn’t accomplish anything I put my mind to, which was extremely inspiring to me. It really goes to show the people you surround yourself with can make a huge impact on your self confidence and consequently your art.


QC: Where do you find inspiration for your art?
TH: Inspiration is a funny thing, sometimes you can have so much you don’t know what to do with it, and sometimes it feels like you will never be inspired again.

I’ve found surrounding myself in my studio with art from artists I admire helps keep me focused on where I want to be in the future and my artistic goals. I also find toys and figurines very inspiring! I’m a visual and tactile learner, so to be able to physically hold characters I love and to see them at all different angles is a huge inspiration and teaching tool for me.  Safe to say my creative spaces are always filled with pictures and things around me.


QC: Have your finished products ever turned out different than your expectation, and how do you deal with that?
TH: I can confidently say that 9 times out of 10 the finished product is different from when I initially envisioned it.

Which I think is the great thing about art! Nothing is set in stone, and things can be drawn in ways we never even imagined to begin with. But sometimes this discrepancy can be heartbreaking if a drawing doesn’t turn out as ‘good’ as we wanted. The way I deal with this is to remind myself that we are all still learning, and that even though a drawing didn’t quite turn out how I expected, I still learned SOMETHING doing it. I always think it’s better to draw 100 things and have them all look ‘bad’ than to not draw at all out of fear it will be bad. Enjoy and learn from the process. Art isn’t just the finished drawing, it’s the journey you took to get to that finished drawing!


TH: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from creating?
TH: I’ve learned so many things from being a creator, but the one that sticks out to me most is that, even though things may not turn out how I planned, that doesn’t make me a failure.

As famous artist Bob Ross once said, “As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing”, and I think that applies to all aspects of art and life. If we are trying to improve ourselves or our art in any way, we cannot fail. Sometimes the outcome falls short of our expectations, and thats ok too. Perfection isn’t something we should strive for in art. We should strive for growth, for connecting with others through our work and learning a little bit more about ourselves than we did before. It can be hard to remember all the time, but one definitely worth reminding.


Learn more about Talia’s work on Instagram @orbitalswan and online at Find her book, The Art of Manga Drawing, online and wherever fine books are sold.