7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #489: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Sara Kendall

h1 June 26th, 2016 by jules

“‘Why prince,’ she said, ‘you don’t look well!'”
(Click to enlarge)


It’s not the first Sunday of the month, which is when I normally feature the work of student or newly-graduated illustrators, but Sara Kendall’s work, which I’m featuring today, is too good to follow any rules. So I’m posting it now.

Sara is getting her BFA in illustration from the College for Creative Studies in Michigan and will graduate next Spring. I’m not only featuring her paintings today, but she is also here to talk a bit about her work and future plans. She recently had work in the Society of Illustrators’ Student Scholarship Show 2016 and discusses that a bit below. I thank her for taking the time to visit and share art.

P.S. Sara is putting the finishing touches on a brand-new painting right now, and when it’s done I’ll add it to this post. [Edited to add, 7/1/16: That painting, Gangs of Wonderland (casein and acrylic ink on illustration board), has been added below. About this painting, Sara says: “It’s me as Alice and Daniel Day Lewis as the Mad Hatter.”]


On Illustrating:


Pursuing illustration was always an idea at the back of my mind. As a kid, I was always drawing, and I made my own little books and comic strips when I was supposed to be doing homework. I loved to read as well, and I was always drawing the characters that I came across while reading. But when I finally decided to pursue illustration, I had been going to a non-art college for three years — with a major in Studio Art and a vague ambition to be a classical portrait painter. The first and only illustration class available was taught by the lovely Alla Dubrovich, who had just come back from attending the Illustration Academy the summer before. I hadn’t realized how dissatisfied I was with strictures of fine art until that class. She assigned us some projects that she had done at the academy, and the class gave presentations on the history of illustration that opened my eyes to a new way of creating art. I transferred to the College for Creative Studies that summer to major in illustration, and to this point in my life I’m pretty sure it’s the best decision I’ve made. I’m currently attending the Illustration Academy, too, so it’s come full-circle.


Puss in Boots
(Click to enlarge)


On Influences:


Discovering Mark English in that first illustration class was a major game-changer. Wow, his design! How he uses flat shapes and patterns next to rendered form! To this day, I’m influenced heavily by his work, and I just got the chance to visit his studio at the Illustraton Academy this summer, which absolutely blew my mind. Other contemporary illustrators who influence my work are Edward Kinsella III, Sterling Hundley, and Gary Kelley.

It’s hard to narrow down the list when it comes to artists of the past, but Klimt [Adele Bloch-Bauer’s Portrait is pictured left] is definitely loitering around the top. I am also influenced by the beautiful composition of Ferenc Pinter, and I recently discovered the lovely shape design of Sven Brasch.


On Medium:


Right now, I work in casein on top of an acrylic ink underpainting. Casein is a weird, obscure paint that somehow has become very popular at my school. It’s a milk-based paint (it smells like cinnamon, in my opinion), and it has some of the working properties of oil in its mixing ability — with bits that remind me of gouache and watercolor as well. When I first discovered it, I thought it was the perfect paint, and it hasn’t let me down yet!


Light Princess
(Click to enlarge)


On the Society of Illustrators’
Student Scholarship Show 2016:


The Society was amazing! I got in a piece called Conspiracy Theories, which I did for an Editorial Painting class taught by Cathy Gendron. The gallery was packed with all sorts of interesting people and beautiful art, and it amazed me to be in the same room with so many people related to my chosen profession. My friend Shoko Ishida got into the show as well, and together we made the rounds, introducing ourselves and making conversation. We met a lot of inspiring artists, students included, and even if I don’t get in next year, I’m definitely going back. Camaraderie is a lovely thing!


Conspiracy Theories (editorial design)
(Click to enlarge)


On What’s Next (After Graduation):


I don’t have anything set in stone yet, but I would love to go into Editorial Illustration, and I’ll be sending out mailers to various creative directors this year. Children’s book illustration is also a major dream, and I’ll be putting out my feelers for that as well, as I work to build connections and advance my art.

Illustration is the ultimate dream job for someone who grew up reading constantly and drawing pictures on her math homework, and I count myself lucky to be able to pursue something that I’ve always found joy in doing. I love making the invisible visible and finding something new and exciting in a story or idea that somehow was always there. It’s like magic. But not Vegas magic. Real magic. The kind that comes from knowing where the wild things are and how to get to Neverland. I look forward to finding my way to a lasting career in this amazing field — and especially to everything that I discover along the way.


Snowman Describes Chaos


Gangs of Wonderland


All artwork is used by permission of Sara Kendall. Adele Bloch-Bauer’s Portrait is in the public domain.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I’m going to let all seven of my kicks this week be that we Danielsons finally found a new house and are in the process of doing All That Stuff necessary to get into said house, including packing (which I should be doing right now). We really need more space, so it’s exciting. I think that’s worthy of seven kicks, don’t you?

Also, it is an absolute pleasure to feature Sara’s artwork today. I hope we see her artwork in children’s and/or YA literature really soon.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #489: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Sara Kendall”

  1. Wow, what gorgeous illustrations. So rich. I wondered when I first read the word casein was connected to milk and I was correct. Love Snowman Describes Chaos.
    Jules, can’t wait to hear more about your moving adventure.
    My kicks:
    1. Found out I have a poem being published in the next issue of VoiceCatcher, a local online publication. I need to read emails better, the first email was June 1. With end of school craziness, totally missed it.
    2. Dinner at a friend’s house yesterday.
    3. The collaboration with colleagues this week in a variety of meetings.
    4. Reorganizing my writing room.
    5. Into a Maisie Dobbs novel.
    6. Writing group last Tuesday.
    7. Grandgirl.serenades.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps! Happy Sunday!

    Welcome, Sara Kendall. Love that laughing Puss in Boots. Love this: “Real magic. The kind that comes from knowing where the wild things are and how to get to Neverland.” Yes! Go get it!

    Jules: Yay! I hope your family loves your new house.

    Jone: Congrats! 🙂

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Full
    2) Finish
    3) Finesse
    4) Fun
    5) Fan (the weather is sweltering; it helps to circulate the air)
    6) Frisson
    7) Fruit

  3. Greetings, Kickers!

    What fabulous art today. Thanks so much, Sara Kendall (and of course thanks Jules for featuring her)! I spent some time poking around on SK’s Web site and was blown away by the contrasting simplicity and complexity of every image. (Check out her cover for Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake!)

    Many congratulations on the upcoming move, Jules. Exciting times ahead!

    Kicks here, well… The Missus is off in S. Florida, gallivanting with The Stepdaughter and The Stepsister. So it’s just The Pooch and I holding the fort.

    1. We’re semi-locked in the house because it’s currently being painted — swarmed by painters, or so it seems. Luckily we’re well stocked with provisions and so on, and of course with each other’s company.
    2. I got a new monitor on Monday — my first in maybe 10 years. WOW. Talk about trading up…
    3. A recent birthday moved me into the Medicare-eligible column, and my “welcome to Medicare” letter arrived yesterday. Ummm… mixed emotions on this one, actually.
    4. Secario a great, complex action film — and surpassingly beautifully photographed as well.
    5. Discovered a few days ago that MST3K episodes are FINALLY being closed-captioned. This is major news for me, as all my uber-geek friends have been enjoying (and in-joking about) the series for decades while I stood by, wringing my hands.
    6. Mary Roach’s books on, well, anything.
    7. The Missus’s being away has allowed me to indulge a skulking secret occasional craving: liverwurst. (Stop screaming, y’all.)

    Have a great week, everyone!

  4. Sara Kendall’s artwork is so rich & textured. Some of her pieces remind me of Michael Parkes’ work.

    Jules – congrats on the new home! That is so exciting! Hope its a fun and smooth transition to the new place.

    Jone – congrats on the poem being published! Yay for dinner with friends, collaborating, reorganizing & writing.

    LW – Fabulous kicks this week! <3

    My kicks this week are mainly tied up with my birthday:
    1) An explosion of flowers in my house at the moment.
    2) Cheerful balloons.
    3) Sharing the Tower of Seafood for dinner with friends. So much fun & so much yum.
    4) Getting an impromptu birthday card from Carlos, the Goodwill attendant helping me when I was dropping of a donation of clothes. Put a big smile on my face.
    5) Chocolate raspberry cake.
    6) Ping-pong!
    7) Friends who've never met one another having interesting conversations.
    7.5) Perfect low-key night. And even a sort-of kidnap to another bar at the end of the night. My friends are pretty awesome & I know I am unbelievably lucky.
    9) Quiet Saturday night cuddling with Daisy while binge watching old episodes of Private Practice.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  5. Congrats on the publication, Jone! I understand being behind on email, too, but that must have a been a lovely surprise.

    Little Willow: It [the house] already has a name: The Nickel House. Your “f” kicks are FANTASTIC. (You knew that was coming, right?)

    John: That is great news about MST3K. Did I tell you I showed the girls an episode, and they cracked up? Then we watched a second one, and they didn’t like it so much. Guess it depends on the movie. Anyway, congrats! … Glad you had a good week. Thanks for reminding me to watch Secario. You know I like your movie recommendations.

    Rachel, The Light Princess piece reminds me of Brad Sneed’s work. … Your birthday week sounds PERFECT! Lucky, indeed. You have good friends all around, and I’m not surprised. You are just as good to everyone else, not to mention a delightful human being. Woo hoo! Happy birthday again!

    Have a good week, all!

  6. Congratulations on the new home! And thank you for sharing this beautiful artwork. Amazing, Sara!

    I just returned from travel this week, and it’s an easy seven:
    1. Visiting my old childhood home (Illinois)
    2. Catching up with friends and relatives I haven’t seen in too long
    3. Walking to lunch
    4. A twinkling backyard full of fireflies
    5. Catching one to show my girls, who’ve never seen them before
    6. Art museums and tall buildings
    7. Summer finally here

    Have a nice week! Good luck settling into your new place, Jules!

  7. Thanks, Dow!

    I think fireflies and art museums make for a very good week.

  8. Good luck with your move, Jules!!

  9. Thanks, Maria!

  10. […] Sunday of the month, when I typically feature student or newly-graduated illustrators. I actually featured a student last week (just because), and today I’m doing something slightly […]

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