Exploring the World of Sara Crewe

Running your own creative business is hard--especially when you have two very different halves of your personality constantly vying with each other.

One part of me is very organized, very determined, very focused, driven, perfectionist. That part always has a heyday with the business-y side of things. All the planning and scheduling and organizing and structuring and improving are her wheelhouse.

She's been a little overbearing lately.

My creative side wants to draw all day. To tell stories and splash my way into all sorts of different worlds and bring back illustrations dripping with their sights, smells, tastes, and feels for you to see and experience.

That side has been rather neglected lately.

So this week I decided to just make a jump I've been meaning to take for awhile and start working on a collection of illustrations. I've done multiple illustrations from a single story before, but never a really cohesive collection, and the idea of really living in a single story for awhile, letting it seep in and inform how I create sounds like a breath of fresh air!

The first story I thought of when pondering doing a collection was A Little Princess, and in the spirit of not overthinking I'm running with it.

I love the concept of combining victorian era architecture and Indian jungle together in images of a story that really celebrates stories and the difference they can make in how we live our lives. 

I've also been curious to try combining more physical paper layering with my usual graphite and digital painting style, so for this collection, I'm doing some experiments to see what that kind of texture might look like.

Here's a pinterest board I created to start exploring the visual feel of the collection. Click here to see more of it!

For my experiment, I just set out to do a quick text of combining paper and digital. I started with a pencil sketch of Sara:

I knew I wanted to paint her digitally, so I scanned her, then cut her out to use as reference while I painted the jungle around her:

And cut the jungle out:

Only then, when I went to paint the background, I liked it way better than the jungle I had already created..

This is the part of the process that is simultaneously scary and exhilarating at the same time. When your plans change, and you just go for it. This time I literally just went for it, and hardly made a plan for where I wanted things to go. It reminded me of college days when I was doing stop motion animation, and at a certain point you just had to go with your gut and let things happen. That's when perfectionism slinks off into a corner and pouts because you just don't care anymore, and your creation takes on a life of its own, which is what any artist wants.

Honestly, I don't have much of an idea what I'm doing with this. And it is SO. MUCH. FUN. I could hardly force myself to stop painting to write this email! I'll be back with more updates later as it continues to come to life!


Sign up for "The Inside Sketch"

Want to see more like this? Sign up here to get "The Inside Sketch" studio newsletter each week with a new blog post, free wallpaper, book recommendations and new products!