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Meet Sarah Black

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Black.

Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Since I was little, I would like to say that I’ve always been creative. Growing up the youngest of four, there was always something going on in our house! I remember playing with my siblings and having fun with my parents who would always encourage us to try new things and be creative. A fond memory I have is when my sister and I would save old glass bottles to make vases out of them. We would paint them, and the give them to our Grandma… who would always take them with a smile. So after growing up in a creative household, my passions have always been on the artsy side.

People ask me when I knew that animation was the field for me; my response, “My junior year in High School, when I severely broke my left forearm”. How does that lead to a career in animation? Well, while I was recovering from surgery, I had a lot of time to myself and the only thing I could do was read or draw. I had a huge influence from Disney films growing up! So I would watch the films, look at old storybooks, even greeting cards; and try to re-draw my favorite characters. Every day I was drawing and growing and I just knew I couldn’t stop! I applied to Cal State Long Beach my senior year and got into their BFA illustration/animation program. Looking back, those five years at the Beach were so life-changing and I am grateful for every hardship and blessing that has come my way since then.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life itself is a bumpy road. I’ve heard so many people say so. Whether rocky or bumpy I am kind of wondering if life is ever a smooth road. I graduated from my art program at Cal State Long Beach in early 2018, and these past two years have definitely been an up and downhill road.

Everyone goes through struggles and hardships. Mine is overcoming grief. In 2017 my grandma passed away, and to this day I miss her. She was my biggest supporter and I miss her encouragement and love. Several months after her passing one of my Professors and dearest friends tragically passed away. When the loss of those two shining lights in my life disappeared, it took me a long time to move on and start finding a new path without their guidance.

Ever the positive, I try not to think of all the negatives! What I always tell myself when things are especially low is to ”never give up… never surrender!” Thank God for Galaxy Quest. That quote has helped lift my spirits on a bad day. I think the best advice ever given to me was that the minute you stop drawing, or the minute you tell yourself that you are done with art… you have failed. If you keep drawing and keep applying to studios and jobs, you will one day get a chance that will take you to where you need to be. Never give up on your dreams and keep working hard for what you want in life.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am all over the place! Digital, Traditional, Animation, Illustration; this list at this point seems endless. I love art and I love creating. However, if we take a step back and see what truly defines my work… painting. I love to paint. My go to medium is my iPad and the Procreate App. Colors are what I live for. There are so many things you can do with the color spectrum and it’s so enjoyable when everything comes together.

On a more serious note however, I do have my toes dipped in many ponds (fields of study). True to my roots I love re-drawing cartoon characters, background design, animal portraits, character design, visual development, color styling, and recently creating cute fruit characters and their friends. Also keeping up with my schooling, I still animate and love making my characters come to life in front of my eyes. Animation is just a little more difficult to keep up with due to not having funding for the equipment. I won’t let that stop me though, I stil have paper and pencil!

I am proud of myself that I have gotten this far in my art journey. I know that things will get better for me. I just have to keep trying and never give up!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Throughout the years, I would like to say I have had Cheerleaders! However me being a cheerleader for thirteen years, it seems that I end up cheering for others more than people cheer for me. That is okay though. Those special few who have been in my corner may they still be with us or moved on from this world, I thank them. My grandmother Jane and my Professor Jerry, may they Rest In Peace, were very influential to my art.

In recent years I have made some real-life connections with some amazing people and artists. The art community is such a special place. It’s great to know that there are so many great people in the world who have gone through similar experiences and will be your cheerleaders.

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