Ally to Watch: Sarah Lake Illustration

 Sarah LakeSarah Lake Illustration hails from Plymouth UK, in the south west of England. Drawn to her unique abstract style, we were intrigued to learn more about this creative and find out what art means to her.

What is your occupation?

My occupation is currently in hospitality whilst doing freelance work and commissions on the side. Doing shift work suits me as I can fit in my art work around it because it’s very flexible.

Why are you a designer?

Honestly, I don’t know how to be anything else. I’m such a visual person so it just comes naturally to me. I like to make things look nice and I am lucky enough that other people seem to like my work too.

How did you get started?

Drawing and creating was a hobby I kept very private for years. That is until I decided to pursue it as a career and enrolled in an illustration degree course with Plymouth University. I recently graduated this September! I learnt a huge amount there and it really pushed my work into a much higher level. It gave me the confidence to pursue my dream and share my work publicly.

Design StyleTell us about your design style. Where do you pull your inspiration?

My style consists of combining geometric shapes, texture and vector illustrations with a love for creating repeat surface pattern. My work is strongly based around geometric shapes. No matter the direction my work goes, shapes seem to always make an appearance. But for me, that’s how I see the world. Everything is made up of shapes and patterns so for me, it makes total sense. It’s a simplification of what you see in everyday life.

Be InspiredYou were a weekly winner  for Most Motivating in our Back to School design contest with AllPosters. How did you feel about your win?

I was so excited! I had been entering lots of competitions and not having any luck so to have been chosen made me SO happy. Knowing that my work has the chance to be seen by a wider audience feels really good too! I create art because I love to do it but to have recognition for it just feels amazing – no matter who you are and what you do, knowing you have done a good job is REALLY encouraging.

How do you start your process for working on a piece?

I start by making lists or writing down words and ideas that come to me. I’ll sketch out very rough thumbnails and will use Illustrator and Photoshop to start layering up images to create geometric patterns and seeing what works. By playing around, I find that the piece naturally develops. I never stick to a strict idea. By being loose with it, I find I end up with a more interesting piece than I had first envisioned.

What kind of design are you interested in creating?

I would really love the chance to do an album cover. That would be amazing!

Stag designWhat are some of your favorite design tools?

My favorite design tools are Illustrator and Photoshop. Mixing them with hand drawn work and paintings is my favourite way of working.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Barbara Hepworth is one of my first major inspirations and I absolutely love her work. It’s timeless to me. Shepard Fairey is another of my absolute faves at the moment. Andreas Preis’ work integrates animals and patterns and it’s simply beautiful.

What do you like best about being part of the Creative Allies community?

I really enjoy being part of the creative allies community as it gives me the chance to get my work seen by a wider audience. But its the competition element that I really enjoy. It pushes me to try to create the best possible work I can. Tom Chaplin Design

What does it mean to be creative?

It is everything. I literally don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t create. I’ve been using it as a cathartic process my entire life and it has gotten me through some really tough times. For me, verbally expressing myself can be difficult as I am very shy. Creating has always been my outlet for really expressing myself and my inner thoughts and feelings. Its my safe place.

Lastly, what advice do you have for other designers and/or creatives?

Always be true to you and your work. Listen to others opinions but do not bend to their will – it will make you unhappy and your work will suffer.

Have fun and be playful. Almost all of my best pieces have come from playing around and letting the idea develop naturally. It’s all about determination, practice and putting the hours in. And always having fun!

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