Illustrator Sarah Ray Gives Us A Sneak Peek at Here Fabulous Company
If you’ve found your way onto the Card & Gift Network blog at any time in the past you will most likely have come across the unique designs of Sarah Ray Illustration.
Since I first featured Sarah’s work on the blog back in 2013, these amazing illustrated designs have appeared in numerous card and gift blog posts; from the launch of a new illustrated collection to a sneaky glimpse at her book The Colourblind Chameleon. It’s fair to say I’m very fond of Sarah’s work and always delighted to see the latest designs.
I’m therefore really excited today to be able to share an interview with Sarah herself. Taking a look behind the scenes of her company, the collection and what the future has in store for Sarah Ray Illustration.
What inspired you to start Sarah Ray Illustration?
When I went to University to do Graphic design I didn’t even know that illustration was an option until a tutor suggested it to me and I changed course. Ah, that was better! I instantly felt more at home. That’s when it all started; I’d caught the illustration bug!
What can you tell us about your indie business?
I’m just a wee business, it’s basically just me doing a hundred different job roles every day. From invoicing to writing press releases to illustrating for a client, there’s a lot to do! Because it’s just me, I guess this is what sets me apart from the more corporate businesses. People buy into me, I am the brand (which is a bit scary!) but it ultimately means that my products are honest and unique and can’t be found anywhere else.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part is the creative part because that’s the reason I’m doing this thing (although I have to remind myself of this at times!) I love it when I’ve come up with an idea that I think works, and draw it up. The more I make time for this, the more satisfied I am!
Are there other people in your business?
Nope, just me. Although I do have helpers. My husband is a massive support and is really good at helping me with how I need to move forward and with general tasks. Other family members have been brilliant helpers too when it gets busy with orders, especially my mum!
We believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree?
Yes, totally. I want to be proud of everything I make, so everything goes through quality control. My cards use FSC certified stock and come with recycled envelopes so I like to try to be a little better for the environment where possible as well as being high quality. I believe I’m unique in what I do, so it’s only right that the products match in quality, otherwise I’m doing myself an injustice.
You worked with the Birmingham Royal Ballet creating designs to promote their upcoming ballet for children. Do you enjoy mixing commission work with developing your own products?
Yes, absolutely! Variety is the spice of life, as they say! and doing commissioned work adds another dimension to my career and keeps things fresh and exciting; I love it!
I’ve just finished designs for Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty, adding to the 4 ballets I’ve already illustrated!
You currently specialise in a wide variety of cards and gifts. What inspires you about this type of design?
Cards are great, there is so much potential with what you can say through an illustration, it’s endless. This makes it a creative challenge to come up with something totally unique. It also makes me think of people, and what they might want to express to each other. People are giving each other my cards because it means something to them, how amazing is that?
What can you tell us about the process of creating your fabulous illustrations?
I write things down that I think are funny or interesting and then some of them make it into a sketch of some kind. Normally a pretty ugly pencil drawing just to get the idea down! Most of the time I draw it up in photoshop using my Wacom tablet and then it’s done! I’m quite quick at what I do, sometimes designs take me a couple of minutes to come up with.
Which of the Sarah Ray Illustration collection are the current bestsellers?
Some of my most popular card designs include, ‘let’s get mashed potatoes’ ‘Finally the cake’s here’ ‘magical unicorn’ and ‘pop! new baby’.
Amongst my prints, the new ‘Singing in the Rain’ is doing well as is ‘The 3 Pigs’ which has been a long standing popular print!
What are your personal favourite products in your current collection?
I’ve recently created some comic strip cards which I’m personally fond of. Each relate to moments or thoughts in my life that I’ve expressed through these drawings.
Your collection shows great attention to detail and quality. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship involved?
Ah you’re very kind! I think it’s just the fact I’ve been doing this for a good few years now. I don’t really think about it, it’s a natural process, but I’ve still a lot to learn! But that’s the thing about this job, there’s always something to improve on and learn about! Which I’m glad about otherwise I’d be a bit bored I think.
Sarah Ray Illustration & The Independent Shopping Scene
Why should people shop with you?
The main reason I started doing all of this was because I enjoyed making people smile. So I’m just happy that people still like doing that, and if they buy something after enjoying my work, then that’s a bonus!
Why do you think people should be supporting independent businesses like yours?
Independent businesses are what make the world a more interesting place. They are so unique and will offer a high level of personal service too! Imagine a world without them? It would be dull! So it’s extra important we support them.
Finally, What can card senders expect from Sarah Ray Illustration in the coming months?
I’m getting ready to show at Top Drawer in London in September so have some new Christmas cards to launch. I’m also working on expanding some of my ranges, and covering some more categories. I’ve also got some designs up on Thortful, which I’ll be developing and adding to over the year.
Thank you Sarah!
If this sneak peek has got you excited to see more from Sarah please visit the Sarah Ray Illustration website.