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Meet Sara Luna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Luna.

Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in San Francisco and lived for the most part in the Bay Area until about six years ago when I moved to Los Angeles. Raised in a creative family, I grew up immersed in art and stories. As a child, I could always be found either perched in a tree reading a book or drawing mythical creatures from my own imaginary worlds.

My combined passion for art and storytelling led me to move to LA to study at ArtCenter College of Design, where I earned my BFA with honors in Illustration with a focus on design for animation in 2018. During my time at school, I discovered an immense passion for painting which, after graduating, swayed me away from an office job in the animation industry and towards freelance illustration instead.

I have been doing freelance background painting for animated shorts, but recently I have become represented by Astound Agency for illustration and publishing work. As a kid who grew up with my nose always stuck in a book, it feels very full-circle to be creating paintings for books that will inspire kids today… It is probably the most rewarding thing that I could be using my skills for, and I could not be happier.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I wouldn’t say it’s been smooth, but I think that I was forced to learn a lot through my struggles. Despite growing up in a creative family that supported my passion for drawing, when I was young I didn’t really see myself as someone who would become a professional artist… drawing was just something that I did for myself, and I often wasn’t the “artsy-est” kid in school. I didn’t think I could seriously pursue illustration as a career until I was about to graduate from high school, and it took another two years for me to commit to it and pull together a portfolio to apply to ArtCenter. I sometimes wish that I’d believed in my abilities sooner so that I’d have been more prepared for art school, but I learned valuable things about myself and pursued other passions in that confusing time, so I’m thankful for it now.

Another major roadblock in my personal(and creative) life was the unexpected death of my father at the end of 2018, mere weeks before my graduation from art school. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, but I knew that he wouldn’t have wanted his death to throw me off my path. With sheer force of will I earned my degree… then proceeded into 2019 feeling totally crushed and directionless. It took me months to want to do art again, and without painting, I felt like I’d lost my main outlet for my emotions.

Through all this though, I have found amazing support in some friends, my family, and my boyfriend— I don’t know what I would’ve done without them. I slowly rediscovered my passion and drive for painting in the past year, and it shows in my work how much I’ve grown.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I have recently begun doing freelance illustration for publishing work—specifically young adult/children’s literature, though I also still do some freelance background painting for animation. My personal work is inspired by fantasy, nature, and historical references. I paint mainly digitally on Photoshop, but I prefer to do initial sketches on paper. I am most excited to create pieces where I can use atmosphere and lighting to create a feeling and tell a story to the viewer.

I also co-created the Gelato Zine Club, in which myself and a group of friends create illustrated fanzines together. We just put our first 80’s movies-themed issue up for sale online, and are already working on the next one!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I have a few story ideas in the works, and am aiming to write and illustrate my own children’s book! I would love to get my own stories published eventually, that would probably be the most rewarding thing that could happen for me! I would also love to open an online shop with illustrated products—I have a print shop online right now, but I really want to branch out to a wider variety of products.

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