Odessa Sawyer is an illustrator from Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Her style is rich and dreamy, full of vibrant color and haunting atmospheres. She is internationally published and has done work for young adult fiction, ad campaigns, and film and television. Odessa caught our eye with her vibrant illustrations and we are happy to get to know her art journey better.
What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your illustration career so far?
One of my earlier jobs was an international ad campaign for Katy Perry's Killer Queen perfume line. I was chosen by her personally after going up against a few other artists. That was a proud moment in my career. Another highlight was working on three national stop-motion ads. I have always adored stop motion, and it was really dreamy to work so close to it. Those ads went on to win an Annie Award.
"One of my earlier jobs was an international ad campaign for Katy Perry's Killer Queen perfume line. I was chosen by her personally after going up against a few other artists."
What are your favorite tools or techniques for creating illustrations?
I'm currently addicted to Rebelle. My favorite is oil painting because it feels so life-like and fluid and layers paint so well. I also use Photoshop quite a lot and I love going back and forth with the two programs. Photoshop is where I start a piece, sketching and working out my composition. I also do more technical things there like sizing, filters, blending modes and cleaning up my layers. When I'm ready to paint I move over to Rebelle. I paint with a Wacom tablet.
Can you walk us through your creative process, from idea conception to the final artwork?
I sketch something and change it around a bunch of times, I add way too many new layers while I'm painting because if I'm happy with a section and I don't want to mess anything up to that point, I'll add a new layer. At the end of the project I'll combine my tons of layers into just a few bulk layers, like “background, foreground, woman,” so I only end up with 3 or 4.
"I'm currently addicted to Rebelle. My favorite is oil painting because it feels so life-like and fluid and layers paint so well."
What types of projects do you enjoy working on the most?
I love editorial, branding, and conceptual art. Of course, I love a project where I'm able to do whatever I want within the brief when I'm hired for my personal style. I really enjoy a challenge though and I'm always happy to get a new type of project I've never done before.
How do you overcome creative blocks or challenges during a project?
I don't tend to get creative blocks when doing commercial work for clients. I stay really inspired when I'm doing commercial projects. I'm sometimes less inspired doing my own work. If I'm at a standstill with a project, I'll get outside and go roller skating. When I'm breathing fresh air away from my computer I usually think of something.
Can you share any lessons you've learned from your experiences as an illustrator?
This kind of work can be so inconsistent even when you get huge breaks, and I think it's important to know what to expect going into it as a career. It can be such a dream at times though, and I can't imagine doing anything else and I don't think I'd be any good at anything else!
Can you give us a glimpse of any upcoming projects or goals you have for your illustration career?
I'm currently working with a dispensary called Fireflower, doing branding and advertising for their products. It's a dream kind of job where I get to be myself and show two sides of my style; (dreamy and girlish and dark and eerie), and I'm pivoting into advertising so hopefully more projects like this to come!
Thank you, Odessa, for letting us peek into your art studio. It was great to get to know you and your art more, learn from you, and get inspired by your art journey. We wish you the best of luck with your current branding projects and with anything you set your focus on in the future.
Escape Motions Team
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