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Design Hunter Q+A: Sarah Beetson

Design Hunter Q+A: Sarah Beetson

UK born artist Sarah Beetson always wanted to be an illustrator like Quentin Blake, and she achieved it.


Name: Sarah Beetson

Where you are from/live: From Cheshire, UK – Live in Wongawallen Queensland, Australia

What you do: I’m an illustrator and artist

When did you first know you wanted to be a… When I was 8, I had 3 ambitions – to win Wimbledon (but I turned out to be not great at tennis…), to be a rockstar (unfortunately I can’t sing…), or to be a children’s book illustrator like Quentin Blake. I got close to the third one!

Your latest project:

I recently illustrated Wonderwoman for Smithsonian Mag in the US. I also completed a top secret job which I can’t talk about until July 2015 when the campaign is due to launch (sorry!) I’m working on 2 other illustration jobs currently, plus I’m continually working on a large body of work based around Coney Island, New York, USA, where I completed a 3 month artist residency earlier this year.

Please tell a bit about this, what were the highs and what were the challenges? How did you overcome these?

My latest series from Coney Island involves painted polaroids containing fairground – themed song lyrics. With the commissioned projects, there are usually tweaks, edits and changes to the illustrations to be made. I really enjoy the challenge of working to brief alongside a clients direction.


Coney Island Illustrations


Three people that inspire/excite you:

1) Amanda Palmer
2) Stella McCartney
3) John Waters

What is your favourite…

Car/bike/plane/boat model: Vintage Volkswagen Beetle
Chair model: I REALLY need to get myself a) a great desk chair for working at the computer and b) an angled stool for drawing at my desk/easel. Recommendations are most welcome!!!

Residential space: The most fun places I have lived apart from my cute little house in Australia, are my friend’s houseboat on The Thames in London – formerly a Motor Torpedo boat which sunk a
battleship in WW2, (I really enjoyed being rocked to sleep on the water and negotiating the perils of drawing at high tide), and the artist loft I stayed at during my NY residency in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – where I did my spraypainting on the rooftop overlooking the East River, Crysler and Empire State buildings. I am ridiculously lucky to spend 3-6 months per year overseas.
Commercial space: my studio. Its huge and purpose built on the farm where I live, and a stones throw from my house, so I have the perfect balance of working as much as I care to.

Decorative product: Standard school art supply Australian Glow Paint
Functional product: My Windsor & Newton table top travel Easel. Soooo useful for trips overseas.

Handmade good: I recently developed dairy intolerance, so I’m baking my own dairy free raspberry chocolate cheesecakes using cashew nuts
Mass-produced good: Pilot G tec C pens. They have the best giant selection of rainbow colours of any fineline drawing pen, and come in 4 width sizes.
Item in your studio: My new mascot, a vintage 1960s Gund clown doll very like the one in my tattoo. His name is Pierrot and he’s super cute. Also, my 2 hens Anna Piaggi and Iris Apfel like to come
in and hang out, as does Mr Hoppity my wallaby neighbour.


Time of day to work/play: I used to be a total night owl, and whilst I still occasionally pull an all-nighter prior to an art show or for an illustration job deadline. These days I tend to enjoy the long sunny Queensland days, begun with my morning yoga routine, followed by a long day in the studio.

Meal: My boyfriends incredible prawn burritos, with mango salsa and fresh homegrown veggies.
Restaurant: Chin Chin or Tokushima in Melbourne.
Drink: Aperol spritz or Lindauer Fraise
Bar: KGB bar hidden away in The West Village, NYC

Piece of technology: I certainly would not have developed the career I’ve had without the internet.
Historical figure: Opal Whitely
Fictional character: Billie Jean from the movie ‘The Legend of Billie Jean’

Vice: red wine.
Virtue: yoga / pilates

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? It makes me think of a creative person or artist striving to achieve their finished work.

Who are two people you’d call Design Hunters?

Well, I guess I am one – I am also a talent scout for my Illustration Agent, Illustrationweb.com, and constantly on the lookout for great new illustration.


Sarah Beetson will be attending Supergraph art fair this February in Melbourne.