Issue Three Feature: Katie Sanvick | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Issue Three - March 2013

Katie Sanvick
Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Who are you and what type of creative are you? 

My name is Katie Sanvick, I'm a 23-year-old classy lady working in Minnesota as a Graphic Designer, and freelance illustrator. I graduated in the spring of 2011 from Winona State with a BA in Graphic Design and a drive to create. When I'm not drawing, or creating sweet graphics, I dabble in other random things like sculpting, animation, sewing, photography, writing, book-making, and weird DIY projects. I sort of just do what I feel like at the time.

What was it about graphic design that made you want to go into that field?

I was completely amiss of the directions and possibilities as an artist that I could take when I entered college. I think I had the idea of "starving artist" engrained in my head for so long I just figured that it was impossible to make a sustaining career out of it.  When I sat down with the graphic design professor at my university for the first time and talked about design, and how versatile it can be, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head.  I most identify with illustration and traditional art, but graphic design can incorporate so much if that, and on so many levels, that it seemed like the perfect direction for me. I love that graphic design just sneaks up on you. No one realizes how much thought goes into the designs we're surrounded with daily. I like making functional, informational pieces that are amazing to look at. I think illustration and design often (and should) intertwine with each other, bringing the best of both worlds to the table. 

What made you interested in Illustration?

I can think of the exact moment I decided I liked to draw. I was very young and impressionable, and my brother drew a lot. I copied him on pretty much everything, so I started drawing too. Eventually he stopped, but I just kept going, making laminated books about turkeys getting their heads chopped off when I was 8 and eventually creating a body of work for a solo show, my last year in college. I'm drawn to illustration because of the satisfaction you get once you complete a piece and you stand back and look at it and just say, "man, I really killed that…" or just knowing that this vision you had in your head is now out, and part of reality for others to see. It's definitely a powerful and provocative communication tool.


Where do you find your inspiration?

Oh man, what a question! Where don't I find inspiration is more like it… 

I think the internet is unarguably the greatest creation of all time, ever. Not only do I find inspiration here, but it's a place to easily and successfully promote my art. I think Tumblr is my go-to when I need to get inspired because you can literally find ANYTHING there, and whatever you find will lead you to more things like a trail of breadcrumbs. I've got archives of random things I find on the internet that inspire me, like photography, different textures, and color pallet ideas, and illustrations by artists I admire. At work, my boss and I do a "show-and-tell" Monday where we share something we've found that's design related and that inspires us. Some pretty cool ideas have sprouted from show-and-tell Monday… 

Dreams are also a big part of where I get ideas, as well as magazines like Hunger, Hi-Fructose, Spectrum, Computer Arts, and ImagineFX to name a few…

There is a downside to all this inspiration, though. Sometimes I'm too overwhelmed with ideas and don't know where to start, or start a project and then abandon it because I have another great idea that I don't want to forget about. It can be a vicious cycle if you let it.

Do you start an illustration project differently from a design project? 

I think my process is fairly similar for both. For illustrations, I'll gather all of my inspiration. It may be just a single photo or a bunch of things that I just sort of stitch together in photoshop to help me visualize what I'm trying to do. Then I'll get out the good ol' paper and pencil and start drawing, and scan that into photoshop to color. It doesn't always happen like this but lately, this seems to be my preferred process for my illustrations. Finishing touches aren't too planned, usually I'll throw some sort of texture on there. I like digitally painting because I like experimenting and un-doing or deleting anything that doesn't turn out. I feel I have more freedom this way verses all the pressure of purely traditional art, although I do enjoy that, I just feel like I can relax more when I'm creating digital work.

For designing, I usually start with a mood board of different ideas, color pallets, fonts, or anything that conveys the sort of direction I want to take, then just start pluggin' away.  There are usually multiple versions before I'm happy with the end result.



What designs and or illustrations are you most proud of and why?

I am extremely critical of my work and for that reason I think the older my work is, the more I start to dislike it, or really notice how much I've grown.  Whatever I create "in the now" is what I'm most proud of because I feel like it best portrays where I'm at with the direction/skill level of my work.  One day, I'll be happy with everything, but I'm not there yet.

Some of my favorite recent works are "M31" and "Andromeda". I have an ongoing obsession with greek mythology and outer space that is reflected a lot in my recent work.  I don't know what it is about it, but it's extremely inspiring.  

"M31" is just the right balance of traditional and digital.  A lot of that is my original drawing which sometimes gets completely covered up or erased as I continue on the piece in photoshop. 



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