We all remember storytellers from when we were learning to read pronouncing who had written the book they were going to read from. But adding to the lecture to build our love of reading was usually a name of somebody who had illustrated the book. As we grew up, we may have forgotten that books are still being illustrated. Sarah Clement who recently illustrated the book Half For You and Half For Me, (Written by Katherine Govier) answered a few questions about her illustrations and gave some insight to the craft.
Q: How have the reactions been to your illustrations in “Half for You and Half for me?” Is there one favourite illustration that fans prefer in the book? Do you have a favourite there? (and if yes, why?)
I’ve had really positive feedback for the book so far. People appreciate the detail and comment on the unique style. I’d say the most popular image is for ‘Red Sky at Night’. (The rhyme: ‘Red Sky in the morning,/Sailor take warning./Red sky at night,/Sailor’s delight.’) It’s a picture of a rather handsome man with a sailboat tangled in his crazy long beard, with a sun glowing at the end of his smoking pipe. People often joke that they feel like they’ve seen this hipster somewhere before!
I’d have to say that ‘Red Sky’ is one of my favourites, along with ‘Winken, Blinken & Nod’. These little guys (pictured as a bird, fox and turtle) “sailed off in a wooden shoe/Sailed off on a river of crystal light/Into a sea of dew.” Before working on this book, I would often leave my backgrounds white, so it was quite the challenge to really fill and activate the space around the characters. I was really happy with how the golden waves and starry night sky brought this rhyme to life.
Q: How did you get involved in “Half for you?” How long did it take you to complete all the illustrations?
I was very lucky to have Whitecap books email me. Basically, the message was this: ‘Hi Sarah, would you like to illustrate a children’s book?’ I only had to think about it for half a millisecond,…yes! But it wasn’t just that, a couple years earlier, I was in a directory of illustrators called ‘Work/Life’ published by Uppercase Magazine. The art director from Whitecap found me through the directory, so it was definitely worthwhile being in it.
This project was the biggest and most demanding project I’ve done. It probably took 8 months all together, with some very intense last months working on it every day. I feel I grew a lot as an illustrator through the project.
Q: Have you given any lectures or any tours because of “Half for You?” If yes, what were those experiences like?
No, I haven’t.
Q: How long have you been illustrating? How did you get involved in it? Have you done any other interesting illustrative works?
Well, I’ve been drawing for my whole life! I graduated with from Emily Carr University of Art & Design in 2010, but feel that I really started to develop and hone in on my ‘style’ just after that. So, I’d say for about the last 4 years. ‘Make, make, make’, has kinda been my mantra since graduation. Always fine-tuning my drawing skills, growing a portfolio and feeding my creative soul.
I’ve worked on several album covers for bands, my artwork has been turned into temporary tattoos for a Berlin-based company ‘Tattster’ and I’m currently developing a line of greeting cards. I’ve also done a bit of editorial illustration and look forward to delving into that some more.
I just launched my online shop www.lightandlinesstudio.com, where I’m selling art prints and greeting cards. It was a dream of mine for a couple years, so I’m really excited to have it out there in the world!
Q: Are you based out of British Columbia? If yes, how do you like living there?
I’m based in Vancouver, B.C. where I was born. I lived in Berlin for a year and about a year on the Sunshine Coast, but really feel that Vancouver is home. The Westcoast is so much a part of me. The thing I missed the most when I lived in Germany was the ocean…I would dream about that beautiful, open expanse, the salty air and the towering trees. I also feel like I’m part of a creative community here in Vancouver, one that is definitely growing.
Q: Who are some of your favourite artists/illustrators? Is there one illustration that someone has done that you absolutely love? If yes, why?
Some of my favourites include: Penelope Dullaghan, Lisa Congdon, Jon Klassen and Nigel Peake. I love the elegant, old-world style of Charles Van Sandwyk and the playful whimsy of Dallas Clayton. The list could go on and on.
Q: What are your plans for the future? Are you involved with any other illustration work?
My plans for 2015 are to focus on www.lightandlinesstudio.com, further developing a line of greeting cards & prints. I also want to do more editorial work, teach drawing classes and explore textile design. I’m currently working on a whole new series of drawings for a solo show in Vancouver. (at Kafka’s Coffee Feb 28th-Mar 30th). There’s so many things I want to do, and hey, maybe I’ll illustrate another book sometime in the near future!