Let’s Chat with Sarah Thursday
Creating designs on a variety of paper products, journals and apparel, Sarah Thursday is an independent illustrator and designer who enjoys traditional illustrations and rustic colours and believes in producing handmade and original products with quality. She started out her own personal business after freshly graduating with a Visual Communication Diploma from Temasek Polytechnic.With her first ever solo exhibition held last weekend from 29 to 31 October, she has definitely came a long way since 3 years ago. Here, Sarah Thursday shares with us her inspirations, motivations and plans for the future.
What made you start your own brand?
I started this brand wanting to inspire others to pursue what they love to do and to not give up on art in this modern society. Especially in Singapore where academics are always the main focus, making a living through art is often shunned at. I wanted to prove to others that doing what you love for a living is possible!
When I was in my last year in Temasek Design School, I began to feel motivated to do well. I’ve never been one to obsess over grades, as I only did fairly well in my foundation year. However when I went into my illustration major, I was getting As for every module and it felt really good to have that recognition. Then comes my Final Year Project, where I created “The Art Senses” as a way to increase art culture in Singapore and to educate the public on how “art isn’t useless” and how we can use all of our senses to indulge in art. I put all my efforts, hard work and beliefs into this and believed in it with all my soul. My illustration lecturer and peers thought I would do well and that gave me a lot of confidence.
However, my heart got repeatedly crushed when external lecturers came in to judge my project. They were looking with their technical eyes, spotting every detail that they thought was wrong with my artwork. They didn’t bother understanding what I was trying to convey, and only tried to nitpick my technicalities.
Though the past event had affected me a lot and I didn’t do well for my Final Year Project, I still decided to use it to promote art my way and started Sarah Thursday to showcase and share my illustrations with the public. “The Art Senses” was definitely the driving force behind Sarah Thursday.
What motivates/keeps you going?
This is an obvious one, all my supporters, friends and generally any and everyone who believe in me and the work that I put out. I’ve never felt so much love from so many people before and there are many lovely supporters out there who genuinely appreciate my work and encourage me. Ever since I first started in October 2013, I’ve been shown nothing but absolute support that has grown over the years. All my hard work has paid off in the best way possible because of everyone’s support and for that, I feel really blessed. My family has never rejected my path in doing art as well!
How and where do you get inspiration from for your artworks?
I generate ideas from my everyday thoughts and things I experience or see around me and get inspired by my current mood, feelings and even song lyrics. Inspiration for art differs from what I’m looking for in different projects and I often create an idea of how I want an illustration to look like and refer to the actual images.
“I’m a huge believer of how things should come to a person naturally, including love. There are no shortcuts to feeling inspired. Perhaps I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to this. I definitely do not sit down, think hard, draw mind maps or write down possible illustration trends I should do next. I do not believe in hitting trends and just drawing what people want to see next.”
After getting the beginning inspiration to start a new artwork, I start to think of how I should piece my thoughts together and how it should look in a form of illustration. I then source for references and when I see something that matches what I have in my head, I save it. Just like for my new project on Horoscopes, I sourced for inspiration for role-playing game (RPG) characters through purchasing character art books from Animate when I was in Japan and from animations or beautiful photos online.
So, a lot of people would ask, “Where do you find these references?” Well, there are no shortcuts. I don’t limit my search. If you just have a couple of sources or a few illustrators you like that you always look at, it’s very likely you’ll end up living in their shadows and subconsciously drawing like them or even ‘copying’ them.
Through many years of drawing, from drawing manga when I was young, to constantly experimenting during the three years in Temasek Polytechnic Design School, I’m glad to have found a style I’m comfortable with. Generally, I’m in love with Victorian vintage illustrations and influenced by Japanese culture since young, so you can definitely see those incorporated into my works.
The best part of being an illustrator?
I get to do what I love every single day. Other than illustrating, making merchandise that people love is also something I’m passionate about! Seeing people appreciate my work and receiving comments on how my works have inspired them is the best compliment any illustrator can receive as well. Absolutely stoked when I see people wear my merchandise on the streets and on Instagram too.
Was there any project that was significant in your career?
Every project has helped Sarah Thursday climb to a new level. But the most popular one would certainly be the Yokai project! My first solo show is definitely the biggest milestone for the label. It was just unbelievable and amazing to personally meet all the people who came down for their interest in my art!
Any advice for people who interested in illustration and creating their own brand?
I have plenty! Firstly, it is to always understand yourself, create a consistent branding true to yourself and keep working hard to push out your best works possible! I believe that as long as you, as an artist don’t get bored with your own work, it is more than satisfactory. I believe in making timeless pieces. And remember to always be practical and work smart!
“Keep believing in art and don’t give up.”
What do you hope to achieve with your Solo Exhibition, The Nocturnal Project?
My solo exhibition was a celebration for Sarah Thursday’s 3th Anniversary on Halloween and a chance to meet all the people who would like to understand my process and illustrations on a deeper level.
By inviting them to Cat Cafe Neko No Niwa, it felt like I was welcoming them to my home and sharing my art with them in a personal and cosy environment. Thanks to the hourly entry and a limit of 20 pax at a time, I had ample opportunity to go around and talk to almost everyone who came down and share with them my experiences and feelings. The many conversations I had over the weekend was unforgettable and special to me.
To express my gratitude, I created an exclusive lapel pin as door gifts to thank each one of my supporters who turned up for my solo exhibition and spent their time with the thirteen rescued cats and I. This show will forever remain close to my heart because of the amazing venue and the memories with everyone who came down.
What are you currently busy with?
I’m currently busy with.. stocking more merchandise at the new Actually’s pop up store at Suntec! *laughs* And of course, my new project on Horoscopes x RPG characters. I have yet to think of a good solid name, but I’ll be trying to churn out a new horoscope illustration every month, from Sagittarius onwards. Definitely the most hectic project yet, so wish me good luck!
Any plans for the future?
Plans… many! I will leave it all up to time though. As opportunities arise, I’ll take them by the horns. Would really love to go overseas for markets in the near future and perhaps a studio space if possible?
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