Featured Artist: The Art of Sandra Strait
This week we are featuring the art of Sandra Strait, she takes the time to think about what her tools can do for her when she observing and studying drawing techniques. Learn more about some of these techniques by reading on.
1. What is one aspect of drawing/sketching/inking that you give the highest priority to?
I give the highest priority to learning what my tools can do.
Although Ray Bradbury was a writer rather than an illustrator, he often spoke about learning as much as you can about your craft, and then stepping aside to let your muse do the writing. That struck a chord with me, and I believe it applies to all the arts.
I read and observe and study techniques but when I create, my thought is on what my tools can do. What kind of marks they can make. How does the paper absorb ink or paint? How will my ink flow on a particular surface? What kind of texture can be achieved, both through illusion and by changing the surface on which I’m working? I like to see if I can discover unique ways to use my tools.
2. What is one drawing tool that you use regularly?
Pentel Energel and Energel -X gel ink pens in all their gorgeous colors are one of the drawing tools that I come back to on a regular basis. I always have a Pentel White Sunburst gel pen on hand for highlighting as well. I like the bright colors, and the sense of energy that I can get using these pens.
3. Do you have any drawing-related resources that you highly recommend reading?
I was given a copy of “Rendering in Pen and Ink” by Arthur L. Guptill, when I was child. It’s in pieces now, but I still refer back to it. Guptill’s style is a bit dated, but you can’t beat his book for general knowledge of hand-drawing pen techniques.
4. Is there a magazine you read on a daily/weekly basis (online or offline)?
I don’t have one particular magazine that I read on a regular basis. I post a daily list of links to Zentangle®, Art and Craft Tutorials and Art and Craft giveaways and product reviews on my blog. As a result, I go looking for posts of interest, including magazine and book publishing sites to find the newest publications. I keep a list of what looks interesting, and, all too often, I go looking for them in the stores. It’s a good thing you can purchase so many publications for your tablet and Kindle these days. Otherwise, I’d be hip-deep in print.
5. Please share 2 or 3 of your illustrations with us.
Floral Gardens: While most of my work is abstract, I often use landscapes or objects around me as a starting point, drawing just the large shapes and negative spaces and filling them with patterns. Sometimes, I incorporate a few things such as trees or clouds, and other times I work entirely with patterns. I was inspired by a garden at night, lit up so that the colors were artificial, harsh and brilliant. I didn’t find that beautiful, exactly, but I loved the sense of mystery and other-worldliness. I wanted to capture the feel of it more than the actual details.
Starling: I love squirkling. It’s so much like scribbling and I feel as though I have the freedom of a child while drawing. Yet it results in a lovely mingling of color and texture. I wanted to capture the feeling of light on cold day, and the iridescent colors of a Starling that only show when the light hits a certain way.
Sleeping Bird: The majority of my work is abstract, Zentangle-Inspired art. That means I rely heavily on patterns, and a very loose structure. I let my piece happen first, and then decide what it is. As often as not, I am inspired by the desire to use a technique rather than to create a specific theme or subject. I recently discovered that I can create a watercolor-like wash using gel pens, and that has opened up a whole new world for me. I can get brilliant, transparent colors that range from rich jewel tones to the barest of tints, and then do my line work using the same pens in the same color.