Sara Austin is an illustrator and mixed-media artist based in Ogden whose work is inspired by nature and adventure. Sara’s passion for exploring takes her from the mountains to the ocean for outdoor activities such as backpacking, biking, climbing, paddle boarding, skiing and more – which all serves as inspiration for her artwork. In turn, Sara hopes that her art can inspire others to pursue outdoor adventures.
“I hope that through being exposed to my art, others will want to explore the world, adventure and seek to feel that peace. It’s there all around us and it just needs to be recognized. All things were created to radiate awe, wonder and confidence.”
Sara works in watercolor, colored pencil and pen, and often incorporates natural material such as wood as her canvas. Read our Q&A with Sara below to learn more about her creative process – and visit her in Studio #10 at our next First Friday Open Studio Night!
Tell us a little about your background. Are you from Utah? How long have you lived here? Did you study art or are you self-taught?
I am a Utah native born and raised. I have tried to leave but it’s hard to get better than good ol’ Ogden. I have loved art my whole life. I went to college to be an art teacher and studied art there and taught if for a few years before finally deciding to push my own art out into the great big world.
Your art is associated with nature and the outdoors. What are some of your favorite recreational activities that have become your biggest sources of inspiration?
I worked at a boy scout camp deep in Targhee National Forest, and the mountains and nature have been an integral part of my life since. I really enjoy backpacking as my number one source of outdoors joy but skiing comes in at a close second. There is not much better than the randomness and wildness of exploring this world by foot, ski or bike.
How did you come to use wood as your drawing surface? What do you like about it and what are the challenges?
I started using wood really by chance. I had been struggling with motivation of what to draw and that day I wrote down a bunch of ideas but nothing was jiving. I went to sleep and was deep into my slumber when the idea popped into my head, you should start drawing on wood. I got up and started drawing some sketches. The next day I went to the store and bought some wood and got to work and haven’t looked back since. I love the way the grain peaks through the colored pencil creating a fun dimension.
Where do you source the wood that you work with?
I have gotten my wood a few places. The best I have found so far is Lowes!
Tell us about the other mediums or styles that you work with.
Colored pencil is my go to but I do a lot in pen, especially my adventure action designs. Those seem to transform really well in a pen medium. I also make sketchbooks/journals/notebooks. I call them “my everything books.” All the paper is sourced from Hollander.com. They provide some of the best quality materials. I use what is called the coptic stitch on most of my books so when you are writing or drawing, no matter where the page is, your book lays flat. It’s great for those big into sketching or journaling.
What other products do you sell that feature your artwork?
I put some of my designs on t-shirts. I hated having crappy girl t-shirts and wanted to make shirts that anyone could wear without looking like a princess designed it. I wanted adventure designs based on the activities I love. I also put my designs on cards, mugs and stickers.
What do you like most about your Monarch studio and when are the best times for people to come visit you there?
I love the access to other creatives. It is an amazing energy there that gives me a great deal of motivation and has helped me push myself to live up to all the other amazing artists. I am in The Monarch usually in the afternoons. I still have a day time job at GEAR:30 that fuels my other passions.
Connect with Sara:
Instagram : @saraaustin_art