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Interview with artist Sara Turner

  • 4 min read

Stunning foilage and leafy designs to inspire your best work! Let's go behind-the-scenes with Sara Turner and hear about her creative life and the art behind her lush Leafometry Collection.

Welcome Sara! Thanks for popping by to chat. Please tell us about your creative practice. How, when, and why do you create?

I'm in my studio every day, and every day is different. Sometimes I will be painting, other times planning, packing orders or working on the computer or iPad designing or drawing.

How did you get started in the creative industries? Do you remember a moment, time or place when you realised this is what you’d love to do?

The school art room was where I chose to spend free periods, so I guess a career in art was something I always just assumed I'd pursue from an early age.

What do you love about it?

My favourite part of any drawing is the last hour or two—adding shadows and the final finishing touches. Before then I have a love/hate relationship with every piece! But that feeling of stepping back and finally being proud of something that I've created is the best feeling. It must be addictive as I never tire of it.

Sara Turner Sunshine Coast Artist Studio

In your years as a creative, has there been a turning point or catalyst for changing your path?

After graduating with a degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery Design I imagined that's where my career would be headed. I then landed a job as a 'Space Planner/Graphic Designer' for a company in Oxford. This meant learning AutoCad and DTP programs (having done my best to avoid the computer room all through my university days.....) That was a huge learning curve and turning point for me and ignited my love for Digital Design.

Tell us about how your work has evolved or changed over the past few years…

My first illustrations were very simple - I enjoyed taking an object down to minimal lines, forms, shapes and tones. Then I experimented with different overlays of textures in Photoshop and added more realistic shadows, and the drawings became more detailed. I have also created paper-cuts in the past - I loved the simplicity and delicate nature of a design on a single sheet of paper. Just recently I've picked up the paintbrush again. It's less forgiving (no control Z!) but it's a refreshing change.

Artist Sara Turner in her studio and Notely notebook designs

What kinds of illustration projects do you usually take on?

Anything and everything! I'm up for a challenge.

What are your favourite tools of the trade?

Until two years ago I used a computer mouse to draw everything, including some of my most detailed work. Having switched over to an Apple Pencil, I cannot believe that I ever used a mouse! I like sketching in Procreate on the iPad and developing a drawing in Photoshop on my computer. I find it an easy translation from scribbled notes and drawings to something more visual on the screen. It's a quick and easy way to add and play around with different colour combinations and delete, undo, crop and transform. Every drawing for me really does start with 2B pencil on paper though.

I have a very organised workspace. It calms me. It's my favourite room in the house. 

Tell us about your workspace…

I have a very organised workspace. It calms me. It's my favourite room in the house. There is usually music playing, and with the bush outlook, I can see and hear all kinds of birds, the odd bush turkey will run past and sometimes a kangaroo will sit, have a scratch and enjoy the sun.

Where do you look for inspiration or what helps keep you motivated?

I love exploring the structure of plants and flowers. Motivation comes with every new idea, but if I'm having a slow day a good bit of 80s music will help me out.

]Sara Turner A6 Notely notebooks and Sara with her painting

Tell us about your creative process. How has it changed over the years as your family has grown?

The 2000s were a bit of a blur, having children, emigrating from the UK and trying to establish a life in somewhere I had never even visited! With the children then at school, I was able to really concentrate on my creative business. It took me a few years of trying anything and everything to really knuckle down and understand what I wanted to do creatively. In saying that, I'm still a work in progress, I just listen to myself a bit more. Now, as the children are off to uni, I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

If we peeked over your shoulder, what would we find you sketching in your Notely?

There is always a Notely in the car and my handbag and they are for catching the ideas in the moments whilst I'm waiting at the school pick up or out and about. They are full of scribbles, notes and to-do lists and probably look very chaotic but they are my brain on paper!

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