Today we’re chatting with Featured Designer Vicki Sawyer, about the inspiration behind her whimsical animal paintings, and the difference between making art for art school and making art for the public.
Tell us about you!
I am originally from the Pittsburgh area. I grew up in a home that was built in 1850. My great-grandfather bought the home in 1886. My mom still lives there, where she and her father were both born in the same room of the house. The woods around our home provided a great place to explore. In my childhood, I developed a love of nature due to my surroundings. Presently I live with my husband, Dave, in Franklin, TN. Our children are grown and live elsewhere, so I put a lot of the same love and passion into my painting that I did creating drawings and making costumes for them when they were small.
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
As a child, I love to draw, paint and make crafts. This delight continued and developed into a BA in art from Penn State. It’s one thing to have to satisfy a professor, but when I started painting murals, when we lived on Long Island, I discovered it is much more demanding to please customers. Painting murals helped me to practice, practice painting anything requested, from birds and animals to Shea Stadium.
We love your adorable animal paintings – where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Thank you for enjoying my animal paintings. On a walk one day, I believe God put the thought in my head, “If birds can build nests, then they can make hats.” I took that inspiration and flew with it. I research birds and their environment, because they would use those natural elements to make their hats. Then I started thinking that birds could help make hats for animals. And then, there had to be masks, too. Lately, most of my paintings involve birds in party scenes. This requires attention to minute details in the birds’ expressions.
What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?
I love Zazzle cards. I love that customers can customize the cards, too. I primarily design cards, because I license with other companies and do not want to conflict with them.
If you could wish for one new product that you could design on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
Since I primarily design cards, I wish that Zazzle offered an uncoated stock for their greeting cards and note cards. To get close to achieving that I have created flat cards on the uncoated invitation stock.
Do you have any advice for other Zazzle Designers?
The Zazzle Forum is a great resource. Also, if you use Zazzle you have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.