Featured Photographer – Sara Showalter

Tell us a little about your self and your work.
I’m a freelance illustrator and photographer from California. I’ve spent most of my life living in the San Francisco Bay Area although I did spend four years in Los Angeles going to school and working on a degree in screenwriting. Art has always been my true love though, and I ended up going back to school and getting a second degree in art with an emphasis in photography. I’ve been creating stock illustrations and custom illustrations for clients around the world since 2006. I also like to dabble in documentary and sports photography. After shooting a lot of film in photography classes, I moved back into digital photography, but I’ve recently gotten back into film photography. I love processing my own film.



You do two different types of art for a living do you prefer one over the other and if so why?
I love doing both, but I’d have to say I probably do more illustration work these days. With illustration I can draw anything anywhere at any time. Thanks to the internet, I’ve been able to create illustrations for people living halfway across the world. As a kid I used to constantly doodle my own characters all over the margins of my notebooks. It’s fun to think that now years later, I’m able to to create illustrations of similar characters for so many different people. It’s been fun to see my illustrations on everything from websites to book covers to even labels on jars of jam.



What lead you to drawing lifestyle illustrations and what is your process like, Do you drew by hand or use a computer or a combination of both?
I kind of got into doing illustration work accidentally. At the time I’d been looking for ways to make some extra money to save up for a new camera. I decided to try my hand at creating stock illustrations. It worked out better than I thought it would! I ended up really enjoying creating illustrations, too. I love holidays like Halloween and Christmas, so I kind of gravitated toward drawing holiday themed illustrations at first and then eventually moved into drawing families and kids, too.
I like to draw everything by hand first, usually in one of the many sketchbooks that I have laying around. Then I’ll scan my sketch and bring it into Illustrator where I clean everything up and add color. Lately I’ve been experimenting more with digital painting in Photoshop as well.



Where do you see your self as a photographer/illustrator in 10 years?
I’m always trying to learn and improve on my skills, so I hope I’m an even better photographer and illustrator in 10 years.



What other hobbies do you have other then photography and illustration?
I’m a big baseball fan, which you could probably tell from my photos or my Twitter account. (Sorry to anyone who might not be a baseball fan who follows me during baseball season.) I love the San Francisco Giants.



Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
I love mid-century illustration. I think that style influences a lot of my illustrations. I absolutely love Mary Blair’s work. I’m also a fan of illustrators like Jim Flora, Alice and Marvin Provensen, and Miroslav Sasek. I also like looking at ads and packaging from the 1950s and 1960s since I’m kind of obsessed with fonts and lettering. On the photography side, I really love the work of Berenice Abbott, Vivian Maier, and Garry Winogrand.



What advice can you give an aspiring illustrator today?
Draw as much as you can. Whenever you can.

If you were not a photographer/illustrator what would you be doing for work?
I’m kind of a history nerd. Maybe something related to history. Or a librarian. I worked in a library in college and kind of loved it.



What is the most difficult challenge in your business?
Probably reaching out to new potential clients. I’m definitely working on getting better at promoting myself and my work though. There are also days where I don’t feel particularly inspired. I’ve found that making myself draw something every day has helped a lot with this.

Why did you choose CMD for your websites?
At the time I’d spent at least a couple of years insisting to myself that I could build my own site. I would always start and never finish it. Then I came across CMD. They made it so easy to upload my work, customize my site and have everything ready to go. I’ve used a few different templates over the years, and I still love how easy it is to put my site together and keep it updated.

If you would like to find out more about Sara you can visit her website here. Also visit Sara Draws Daily to see Sara’s daily illustration.

August 15, 2014