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Sandra Dieckmann

Sandra Dieckmann is an artist, illustrator and potter from the UK. She is best known for her colourful, patterned and intricate drawings of nature and wildlife. In 2011 Sandra was chosen by Oscar-winning animator and illustrator Shaun Tan as the Emerging Talent in Illustration for her image ‘Fox Tree’. She runs a hugely succesful Etsy store and also sells her work through her studio, Mama Wolf, in East London.

To find out a little more about her work, we asked Sandra the following questions:

What inspires your work?

Inspiration comes from anywhere really. Often when I’m about to fall asleep, sometimes in dreams and weirdly when my brain is overloaded with information and should not have any space for a new thought. It could be the shadow on the wall, how a piece of music makes me feel or a snippet of a conversation I caught.
I also like to get out into nature and go for a nice long walk or just sit and stare at the sea if I get the chance. It puts everything into perspective and there is nothing better than emptying the mind to let new ideas flood in and shape new thoughts and images.

Tell us a bit about your process….

Storytelling is something I love and catching a particular emotion or moment. When I start I usually try and imagine the image beforehand but often that doesn’t work completely. I think and talk about my idea, procrastinate or procrasti-work and when I feel I’m there I start. I don’t often sketch things out.

Most of the time an animal or person is the central part of my illustrations. Depending on the situation and story of the image a particular animal or animals will come to mind. I then go through my books and the Internet and my archives and fish out poses and expressions I like and puzzle my idea together. Other times I just draw from my imagination. Mixing the two I think makes the images a lot richer.

My tools are pens and pencils, watercolour, gouache, ink, and really anything I fancy using and that is at hand. I don’t often compose and draw everything on one page but draw bits separately which are then scanned, edited and finished in Photoshop. I also to do some of my colour work with a tablet that I was shy to use for a long time and am really liking it.
Working with digital collage allows me to change my mind about anything at anytime which is great but can also be a big trap as I’m a perfectionist and sometimes terribly busy in my imagery.