Today I’m excited to post an interview with the amazingly talented Sara Blake aka ZSO. Her illustrative style, the detail and colours, is so beautiful and organic it leaves me speechless. Here are the questions and brilliant answers from Sara.
1. Your work combines drawing and digital, can you explain the techniques you use to create your artwork?
Hmmmm… well I guess for starters, the most important ingredient is the drawing itself. I always start the process on paper. I used to skip the sketching process and just go for it, but as I’ve gotten a little more experienced and taken on a few projects where sketching is essential for presenting to the client, I’ve begun planning out my pieces a bit more. Once I get a drawing to a comfortable place, I’ll usually add some watercolor for texture. I kind of like to just mess the drawing up a touch. Then it’s off to the scanner and into Photoshop. The rest of the process is all digital. Usually 95% of my color is digital and I love to pile on scanned textures or images of textures around NYC I’ve shot with my camera. Things can take a day or they can take a week. It’s a lot of experimentation and learning.
2. What projects are you currently working on?
Right now I’m wrapping up some giant in store murals for Nike Basketball, and putting some finishing touches on the launch an artistic/musical collaboration with my sister Emily for a new line of bags, rainboots, and girly goodies for The Sakroots. I’ve been revving up for some much needed personal work time, and I’m also super happy to be included in a charity project for Heal The Bay which will be a custom artist series of skate decks showing in gallery space in LA at the end of the March. And it just wouldn’t be a to-do list without some top secret projects.
3. You’ve been commissioned by many high profile clients, how do you find the experience of working with them compared to working on solo projects?
Personal work is like dessert. Client work is dinner. You need them both to satisfy yourself in different ways. Of course if I had my way I would just eat cupcakes and ice cream all day. I’d be very happy and very plump—but the truth is you really need the practical stuff not only to pay the bills, but to nourish you and grow you in ways that only working on personal work can’t do. Client work often forces me out of my comfort zone, makes me learn new skills, new ways of working, new mediums, and just how much I am capable of when I am under the gun. I think every time I have a big client project I’d like to do a mini personal series just as a way to debrief. In my head I have a very clear separation between client work and personal work—and personal work tends to be the stuff that I am proud of, but there is definitely a symbiosis there that I have to respect.
4. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
All over the place really. Mostly nature, animals, pretty girls, music, fashion, dreams, love, and New York City as a whole. The very first drawings I can remember doing and being pretty serious about was a series of African animals when I was 4 or 5, around there—I think I’m still the same girl as I was then in terms of inspiration.
5. What are the top 3 blogs you love to read?
Well this one is on the list. Overall the blogs I read change all the time, but I’ll give you three that I’ve been in a relationship with for a while.
- Them Thangs — It’s really just a collection of weird rock and roll pictures, semi-morbid things, beautiful objects, naked girls, tattoos, guns, and motorcycles. It’s a museum of curiosities.
- Haute Macabre — I love this fashion site for the slightly less than cookie-cutter gals.
- FourFour — The Winston section of FourFour. I’m pretty obsessed with this cat and his owner’s attention span for filming him.
6. What are the top 3 items on your wishlist to buy?
I wish people asked me stuff like this more often! If you don’t mind, I’ll have to answer this question in 2 ways. 1) Things On My Wishlist and 2) Things I think Others Should Know About and Add to Their Wishlist
Things On My Wishlist:
- KMRII Black Cocoon Tafix Bag - Sadly, freelance artists can’t afford expensive bags.
- Jose Mertz Art Print - I can’t figure out if there are prints or where to find them, but I’d really love some Jose Martz art in my life.
- An enormous ram skull off Ebay for my studio – The goal is to have an art wall, a type wall, and a skull wall, but I still have some work to do with the skull wall.
Things I think Others Should Know About and Add to Their Wishlist:
- Threadbare Supply Co. - A former co-worker of mine started her own business and man is this lady talented. She makes these unbelievable cowls. I have an enormous black one and it’s one of my absolute favorite items. I love them so much I even helped out with their photoshoot for fall!
- SGCNY - This is another small business I’ve been a big supported of for a while now. The have some of the most comfortable clothing and softest textures you will ever encounter.
- Smith Street Tattoo Parlour - A tattoo from one of the boys at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour. They’re simply the best.
Thanks so much Sara, and I hope you all enjoyed the interview. You can find much more of her stunning work on her website. Have a fantastic weekend everyone!