Meet the Designer - Sarah Summers
One of the nice things about buying fabric from Print me Pretty is that you know who designed it – either you or one of our designers selling through our Market Place. But who are these designers? I thought you might like to meet some of them, so I’m starting an occasional series of interviews with designers. Our first designer is Sarah Summers.
Sarah has been with Print me Pretty almost from the beginning, but she was creating her beautiful designs long before that. I asked her how she started designing.
Initially, I trained as a graphic designer and after graduating from art college I spent many years working as a Junior Designer in advertising agencies in and around Bristol. At the end of 1999, I decided to become a full time freelance Illustrator. My very first commission was for a greeting card - even today, I can still remember how excited I was at receiving it. Greeting card commissions still remain my main source of work, however in recent years, my business has expanded and my designs are now appearing on many other products ranging from glass baubles, chinaware and flags through to ornaments and wall art. Also, my US licensing agent has taken my work to a wider audience and exhibits at all the major gift and stationery shows in America.
What inspires your painting?
Mainly the things I love: colours, garden birds, dogs, flowers and the English landscape. I live a short distance from the Cotswold Hills and I'm constantly inspired by the lovely mellow tones and the warm coloured buildings found nestled in the pretty villages. Many local landmarks have been featured in my illustrations over the years, especially in my Christmas cards. (See above.) Also, my 'Home Sweet Home ' design was based on my neighbour's lovely 200 year old house and English cottage-style garden, which, in the summer, is overflowing with beautiful flowers and plants.
Do you paint from life, from photos etc or from your imagination?
It depends on what I'm painting; with Christmas designs I usually paint from my imagination, however if I'm depicting flowers or animals I need to refer to my own photos
What materials do you use?
My preferred choice of materials are acrylic paints and acrylic board, occasionally stretched canvas. I have used soft pastels in the past but I found that everything in my studio was covered in a thick layer of pastel dust - it took me as long to clean up as it did to create the picture!
How long does it take to create a design?
Approximately half a day to work out the composition, then at least a day and half to paint the final artwork, followed by a few more hours to create a repeat pattern.
What else are your paintings used for?
I try to create images which will have multiple product uses, for instance. the image of the terrier waiting at the window was created to help raise money for Hope Rescue (a dog charity).
Shortly after, I licensed it to The Almanac Gallery for a greeting card and recently it's appeared on a phonecase, produced by Swag My Case. Also, if anyone is interested, it has been produced as a Giclee print, currently available in my Etsy shop. (Not to mention as a fabric at Print me Pretty!)
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing these insights with us. We'll let you get back to your painting, accompanied by Radio 6 music. We look forward to seeing your next design on Print me Pretty!