Sarah Wilkins

Sarah Wilkins is an illustrator from New Zealand. Her website is here and I discovered her when looking for illustrations that had metaphors and symbolism as part of one of my exercises.

She uses a mix of gouache, acrylics, ink and digital softwares for her work. What I appreciate most is not only the emotive technique and style, its the way in which she choses to illustrate more emotional works she has done on loss or people giving support to each other, mindfulness and other emotions:

The above is about supporting others, I really like the idea and many suggestions that seeing a woman carrying a man evokes. The movement and fluid lines and people centred-ness of the illustrations make it very personal.

I also really love the iconic colourful teardrops she uses often and which give a really bittersweet taste to the illustrations given the slender and bright colours contrasting with the fact that there is sadness in tears. The above relates to loss of a friend.

The above illustration is about the loss of miscarriage and is done really well and is one of the illustrations I have seen that has given me most knee-jerk emotional reaction to – and I have never had a miscarriage or any children. The soft background colours and the positioning of the person with the flower framing on the left I think is really balanced and the missing section of the stomach is really powerful.

The above illustration is about coping with the loss of a partner and parent. This also evokes a strong powerful reaction and the over the shoulder missing person is an excellent image to convey this, together with the idea of the tears on the inside of the living parent (on the shirt) and an outward smile of love and hope and support for the child is also really striking.

She also does children’s books and is currently doing an underwater themed book which I really love (many, many a little mermaid under water scene have I drawn when I was a little girl!).

The below is a preview of what she is working on and I think her style and painting technique and materials works so well with an aquatic setting that I just find the entire thing adorable and very suitable for a children’s book. It makes me want to paint an entire wall of a child’s bedroom like this!

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