Contributing illustrator Sara Netherway is based in the beautiful Isle of Wight. Here she reveals her methods and inspiration.
You initially trained in fine art, how did you then make the move across into product and surface design?
After college I came back to the Isle of Wight and looked for a creative job. I worked in design studios on the Island as a graphic designer including one with a local printing company. Designing logos, brochures, magazines, signage and other print mainly for customers around the South of England I learnt on the job and worked on a wide variety of briefs. There was a company on the Island looking for a product/surface pattern designer to create for Woolworths, BHS and Laura Ashley. I applied with a mixed Fine Art/Graphic Design portfolio and after a test brief, they took me on. The company designed and manufactured products from Childrens to Homeware and Lighting. Their studio was based on the Island and I joined a small team as a product/surface pattern designer. It was a great experience working on a wide range of products but unfortunately when the recession happened the company had to close the studio I worked in. I found I was able to tailor myself to different briefs and styles, which was useful, but my portfolio was a mixture of work and I felt all over the place. It’s a work in progress, but I feel a lot more comfortable about my portfolio now.
Your technique is almost pointillist – how did you come across this method and why do you like it so much?
My work’s influenced by art through history and printing methods (along with other things in my environment). I grew up in a house stuffed with many different kinds of books, including a beautiful collection of Folio Society. My grandfather was a compositor for the Eastern Daily Press and I think that’s where my dad’s love of print came from. Among other books I cherished, were ones about Aubrey Beardsley for his use of contrasts in his illustrations and decorative detailing. I use pen dotting for creating portraits because I find it the easiest was to create form, I feel confident when I create a face that way. I get drawn into the hypnotic repetition of the mark making though and it feels like therapy sometimes!
Popshot Magazine Editorial by Sara Netherway.
Where are you based and what does your work environment look like/sound like?
I grew up on the Island in one of the Victorian seaside towns, it’s a beautiful place to live and bring up the kids. Currently I’ve taken over the dining room of our Victorian house, except for Christmas when I have to temporarily move into the kitchen, it works pretty well.
Kusama by Sara Netherway.
You have an illustrious client list: how have you found your employers or have they found you, and if so how?
I’ve tried to get on as many portfolio hosting sites as I can find! I’ve been incredibly lucky so far that I’ve mostly been found through these and my website.
What is your favourite kind of image to work on and why?
I’m just very thankful that I get to make images! My favourite kind are when a brief goes well and the client is happy.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label LFW by Sara Netherway.
As a member of the AOI what have you found most helpful about this organisation?
I have found the AOI invaluable for advice, particularly about contracts and portfolio surgeries. They’re friendly and professional, and working freelance it’s great to have them there when you need help.
Fable by Sara Netherway.
Where can we find more of your work for sale, and do you have any particularly interesting projects in the pipeline?
Currently I’m working towards a solo show of prints and drawings in May at Shed in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight which I’m excited about. I’m also selling prints on my site www.saranetherway.co.uk that I keep updated with new work.
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