This week our Featured Artist is the wonderfully whimsical Sarah Waterfield, who operates under the alias ‘PeaPod Illustrations‘. Enjoy our Q&A with Sarah.

How did you get started as an artist?

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. One of my favourite outings as a child was to the local art shop. The smell of all the art supplies was just wonderful.  I then went on to do A-Level Art & Crafts.

What inspires you to be creative?

Lot’s of things… Walks in our local park when I’m walking my dog, Pablo, are a great way to clear my mind.  My 14 year old son, Josh, is always full of ideas for me too. As an illustrator I am often given a brief to work to.  I spend lots of time researching each project, often with a little help from Google Images.

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How would you describe your creative process?

That’s a tough one as it can vary, but generally I work quite quickly. I lightly sketch images in place with pencil, then out come the watercolours. This is the fun bit as I work in quite a messy way. I tend not to worry if I get something wrong. I just work with it. Finally, when the paintwork is dry I work quickly with an ink pen to outline areas.

What is your favourite medium to work in and why?

It has to be watercolour and inks… I think it works beautifully for children’s book illustrations.

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How do you tackle a blank canvas?

Coffee and more coffee… And plenty of research. Then I just dive in!

What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?

I’m not good with distractions so prefer to work on my art when no one is around. Not always possible when you have a family, but generally this works well! I also find that your mind never switches off as an artist. I’m always trying to figure out what I can do or what I can learn next. Currently, I really want to progress with my digital skills and am hoping  that one day I can afford a lovely Graphics tablet to help me.

In which ways do you differentiate your work from that of other artists?

My work is quite sketchy and messy and usually quite colourful. I am often being told I have a unique style. I believe we are all influenced by different artists over time and my work is always evolving. My favourite illustrator is Sir Quentin Blake. I have his wallpaper in my front room. Cockatoo madness!

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What are your essential tools?

Good quality watercolour paper, usually Daler-Rowney. A black fine liner pen and a set of watercolours. I’m currently using Cotman Watercolours. I also love ProMarkers, they are amazing.

How would you describe your studio/workspace?

Homely! I work best with a big drawing board on my knee and my paints resting on the arm of the sofa. A few months back I invested in a desk to work on, but its taking some getting used to.

Any tips for preparing a portfolio?

Keep it up to date and relevant showcasing your best pieces of work.

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Do you have a favourite art tip that you can share with our readers?

Don’t always think your work has to be perfect. If you make a mistake try and work with it. Sometimes the results can be surprising.

Where can our readers find out more about you?

I run a Facebook page, which is where I have my biggest following. I tend to update my page every day to let people know what I’m up to. I also have an online portfolio and a website which also showcases my hand painted bags.

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