I am part of groups of inspirational women on Facebook, and I have learnt so much from each of them. I have learnt business hints and tips, social media hacks, and most of all I have seen a community of women who don’t really know one another band together and show their support throughout lockdown.
Recently there was a positive post on one of these groups from a lady called Sarah, who said that lockdown has reminded her of her true passion – creating and making art. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s it great to hear that something so positive could come out of a time that was filled with uncertainty and so much negativity?
I popped over to Sarah’s website and couldn’t believe her talent, as well as everything that she has achieved and been involved in. Jeepers – if there is ever a #BossBabe that I want to learn from, it’s Sarah. She has so many accolades under her belt, and is very well-known, yet she was gracious enough to spend time answering questions for my little blog. SO without further ado, meet Sarah…
Your name: Sarah Gibson
Business name: The Doodle Poodle
Tell me a bit more about yourself: I’m a graphic designer and art director based in Cape Town. I spent about 6 years working in various agencies in the advertising industry, after realising that I no longer got up in the mornings excited for work I realised that I needed to make a change. So I resigned from my 9-5, went back to study for a year and in 2019 I decided to take a stab at freelancing full-time. The beginning was tough, filled with some tears, stress and anxiety about how I was going to pay the bills. But I persevered and always tried to be positive. Then everything changed for me when one person picked up the phone and gave me an opportunity that I’d been dreaming of since I started in this industry. 2019 was one of the best years of my life career wise and I have been so fortunate to work on some amazing campaigns that have taken me to Madrid, Nice and more recently Tokyo.
My art and illustration has always been a passion and love of mine and mostly something that I’ve done on the side. My Instagram handle started off as being a collection of little doodles that I doodled here and there documenting my insights into real-life in an honest and light-hearted way. Now seeing as how my business has been affected by the current times I’m looking and hoping to grow this passion of illustration and art into something more tangible.
The name of my business pays homage to my dog Meeka, who I rescued as a puppy from Woodstock in 2008 and shortly after became my creative muse. We aren’t quite sure what she is, but she’s white, fluffy and kinda looks like a poodle although my father is convinced that she’s a Coton de Tulear, which is basically a fancy name for a poodle.
Why does art and creativity make you so happy: It is the one place that I feel that I can totally be free. It brings me so much joy to create and share with others. Looking back it has always been a form of therapy for me. As a child I was always drawing and creating, I kept detailed visual diaries and in them I would document my world, thoughts and experiences. This has always been my way of dealing and processing things that I sometimes find difficult to verbalise.
How would you describe your style of art:
I struggle to describe the style of my work in words as for me it’s much more about emoting a feeling.
I don’t feel attached to a certain style but I would say that it’s more expressive and emotive. I’m still exploring different mediums and don’t want to be put into a specific category. Sometimes my work is playful, loose and light other times it’s more considered and crafted with layers and textures.
I work mainly digitally but for my hand initiated work I use a mixture of pencil, gouache and watercolour.
Has lockdown affected you personally and as a business: Oh gosh yes! I feel like B.C (before COVID) I was on a roll and feeling good about how my career was progressing. I had some amazing work lined up and I was so excited about it. Then BOOM… A lot of it ‘disappeared’ or was ‘put on hold’ in a flash. Some smaller jobs have trickled in here and there which have been keeping me going and distracted. But overall things have been a lot quieter than usual for me. In the beginning I was really down about it but I looked for the positive in the situation and tried to be pro-active with all the ‘down-time’ I now have. I turned back to my first love of creation which has always been drawing and painting. I started doing Illustration tutorials on Domestika and really stretching my imagination and reflecting on things that were happening around me. My work during this time has been helping me reflect, understand and be at peace with what is happening inside and out.
The positive of this crappy situation is that it’s made me realise how much I have missed and have neglected this part of creative heart. I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator (but have always been held back by self-doubt) maybe now is the time to really give it a go.
Do you do custom pieces: Yes! I’m always open to commissions and would love to create more work, specifically for others – whether that be a piece for your own walls, a gift for someone else or an editorial piece for a magazine.
What emotion do you want to evoke through your art: I guess in my personal work I like to explore themes of femininity, vulnerability, self-acceptance, caring and the inner-peace and tranquillity that comes when we stop and observe things around us. I’ve always been drawn to capturing portraits and the physical body as these are things that we associate with our own identity and something that I’ve personally struggled with.
My aim with my more playful work is to always bring some sort of joy to others, to make someone’s heart do a little jiggle. I hope that my more reflective work resonates with people on a more deeper, emotive level and helps others to process and accept similar experiences. I always want to have a sense of honesty about my work that is relatable to all.
What is one of your favourite pieces you have created:
Oh, that’s a tough one.. it would have to be The Girl & The Whale. I feel this piece really special to me because it was created in a time in my life where I felt so at peace and at ease with myself and the world around me.
What is your favourite part of the day: Jumping into bed at the end of a long day.
Quote you live by:
“One day at a time.”
Anything else you want to add:
If you’d like to see more of my art work, illustration and personal doodles please go check out my website and follow my Instagram. I do have some pieces available as well as prints, so if there’s something that you’d like please don’t hesitate to enquire about it.
Isn’t Sarah wonderful?
Please, if you are looking to work with her give her a shout – or let others know about her stunning work by sharing her page or pieces of art that truly speak to you.
Her doodles make me giggle so much, and the “Love Yourself” art is something that I think we could all learn from. Do you have a favourite? Let me know below.
And Sarah, thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for your love, passion, excitement and kindness – you are one in a million and I am so glad to have “met” you during one of the most difficult times the world is experiencing.