Reet Rea-Smyth

Animal, bird and nature drawings

About me

My name is Reet and I was born in Tallinn, Estonia 1958. I spent my childhood and early years going to school in Tallinn, spending the summer in South of Estonia or in Saaremaa (Estonia´s biggest Baltic island). My love of animals started from my first memories as a child. This is a passion, curiosity about nature and love of the outdoors that grows even stronger over time. Like many natural artists, I have spent most of my life from a very early age drawing for my own amusement.

My artwork is inspired by my love of the natural world, for all creatures great and small. I feature detailed subjects with simple backgrounds. I use a combination of watercolor and colour pencils for most of my paintings but pencil is my favorite medium. I usually draw my pictures on white or coloured paper using watercolours, colour pencils and tempera to accentuate certain aspects of a drawing. Also, lately I’ve been drawing on the computer with Photoshop using a Bamboo tablet.

From 1977 I studied graphic design at the State Art Institute of Estonia (now known as the Estonian Academy of Arts) and graduated as a graphic illustrator in 1984. My diploma work was a book about Estonian wild animals. I chose 14 animals and showed my ideas to a biologist. He liked it very much and said that artists don’t often draw animals. That was true because at the institute they never taught us how to. My diploma work was finished in a year. The result was a wide-ranging book about Estonian wild animals called ‘Tell Me about the Fox’. Some of the pictures from my book can also be seen here on my webpage.

Since graduating in 1984 I have worked as a freelance artist. I have done designs and illustrations for many Estonian publishing houses, altogether I have designed and illustrated more than 200 books, including 15 biology textbooks. I have done illustrations for children’s magazines, cover desings for DVD’s and designed even one computer game.
I am a member of Estonian Artists’ Association.

I now live in a beautiful hamlet called Tõstamaa in South-West of Estonia with my husband Andrew. Unfortunately in the end of 2016 we had to say goodbye to our lovely dog Scrappy but after that Misty came into our lives. She is a cross of Bordercollie and Estonian Hound. She is unique because her right eye is brown and left one blue.

I enjoy exploring the natural world around me every day. I spend hours watching and photographing wildlife here in our garden. Actually I wouldn’t call it a garden, we have a garden, a meadow and a little bit of forest. My husband often jokes that it’s an ‘estate’. Sometimes roe deer and foxes pop in, not to talk about hundreds of birds and insects who live here. Around Tõstamaa are lovely big forests where we go for our every day walks with the dog.

In the end of 2019, Birdlife Estonia (Estonian Ornithological Society) had a logo design contest and I won the 2nd price with this logo.

In the end of 2020, Birdlife Estonia had a bird of the year Great crested grebe digital drawing contest and I won the 2nd price with this drawing.