The Tiny, Incredible Dioramas of Mar Cerdà

Illustrator Mar Cerdà is known for her miniature dioramas, made of cut paper and watercolors. Displayed in galleries around the world, her creations are adored for their whimsicality, as well as their unbelievable attention to details (from floor tiles to tiny stamps on handwritten letters).

With a background in cinema and audiovisuals and a fascination with scenography and the treatment of space, Cerdà is a firm believer that characters can be defined by a space, even if they are not present at all. “I studied cinema in ESCAC, specializing in art direction, and when I had the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book suddenly 2D wasn’t enough for me,” she relayed in an interview with We Heart.

“I started cutting paper and creating little houses in 3D for the main characters in my first book, and I got hooked,” she says, adding that studying cinema had a great influence on the way she illustrates, not only taking influence from movies but also by the craft of making movies: the light, the mise-en-scène and, above all, the space.

Each piece begins with a sketch of what Cerdà has in mind, after which she hunts for reference images. “I like to find just the right tile designs or the best plants to go with the piece,” she explains. The whole process varies and can take between one or two days to more than three weeks.

Based in Barcelona, Cerdà is particularly inspired by the ceramic tiles that are a common feature in the city. “One thing that is repeated in my illustrations (and I think is totally influenced by my city) are the ceramic tiles,” she says. “Here in Barcelona tiles were very popular at the end of the 19th century; nowadays a lot of houses still have them. I’m also influenced by all the cities I’ve visited. Traveling is so inspiring.”

Take a look at some of her intricate designs in the gallery below: