Sarah Wilson


Sarah Wilson is a freelance illustrator, animator and workshop organiser. Her work is characterised by a love of colour and rich texture and is inspired by nature, historical curiosities and personal observations. She works closely with commercial businesses and art directors to create illustrated and animated work for their articles, adverts, brands and stories.

Emily Williamson by Sarah Wilson

Artist Spotlight

How would you describe what you do?

I’m an illustrator and animator. I love the traditional aspects of illustration and always begin a new piece by painting in gouache. I then edit everything digitally, and usually animate all of my drawings in some way — sometimes it’s a big job, other times it’s very small, subtle movements.

In an increasingly digital world, what is the appeal of print?

I think part of the appeal of print is the physical feel of printed matter. Special finishes like embossing and foiling are things that really draw me in, and I love physically owning beautiful printed work with these special features. Physical touch is something that can never be replicated digitally.

What aspects of your work / creativity bring you joy?

My favourite part of my process is the painting, that’s the peaceful part where I don’t feel any pressure to edit any mistakes out. I find I work with an animators mindset, I can see everything I decide to draw moving in some way and I love the sense of accomplishment when making things move on screen!

How do you create your ideal work space and conditions needed for you to be your most creative?

I like being able to see all of my materials, so I tend to empty all of my paint brushes, paints and pens out onto the table so everything is easy to grab. I make sure I have two paint pallets and two water pots — one for lighter colours and the other for darker colours to keep everything clean for as long as possible.

The most important thing for me is having everything on hand so I don’t end up getting distracted when getting up to get things! I do all my painting first so the messy part is out the way and will do a complete clear up once I need to start editing everything on my computer so I can concentrate fully.

What’s your best technique or ritual for getting over creative block?

I always take a step back when I’m struggling creatively, or when things I’m working on start going wrong. I’ll walk away from work for an hour if it’s something with a deadline, or if it’s a personal project I might have a few days away from it before I finish it. I find just going out for a coffee and sitting in a public space where people are relaxing helps clear my head. 

For a total creative block I try and explore new things by going to the library and finding books that I wouldn’t usually look at to see if anything in them inspires me, or I’ll take a day trip to somewhere I haven’t been before.

We’d like to ask you to recommend a ‘woman in print’ to us…

One of my favourite Illustrators at the moment is Liz Rowland — I think her illustrations are so delicate and beautiful. She does loads of editorial work and her style suits a huge range of themes.