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Sarah Hiers

Artist Focus by Katie Bonadies

Pictured: Sarah Hiers, Sarah Hiers Design

Sarah is a digital artist and graphic designer. In her own time she plays around with acrylics and other paints. She returned to RWS in November 2022 after a short period away; previously, she was here for about eight months and returned for the community. She has a larger space now that’s more functional and less for storage purposes. She loves having a closed door space because she can dance and ‘be her weird self’ in there without anyone knowing–she says it’s great for the creative process!

Sarah draws on her iPad using an app called Procreate and illustrates a variety of different things from plants, to animals, to abstract work. The app has changed the way that she draws because it has the ability to easily turn her illustrations into products like stickers and wearable merchandise using Photoshop and various websites. Her illustrations are highly stylized with the use of abstract and geometric patterns within the shape of the subject. Sarah also does a lot of custom work drawing pet portraits. She got started by drawing a pet portrait for a friend and posting about.

Nautical Abstract. Print. Multiple sizes available.

As a result she started getting other requests from friends and strangers, and at this point she has drawn about 250 different types of pets from parrots to hamsters to rabbits, and many dogs and cats. Right now she is working on her first horse. She enjoys drawing pets because she loves to see people's reactions to the work, “I love spreading joy through art. Anyone who hires me to draw something for them hires me to create a gift and spread that joy.” She spends a lot of time on those projects because it means so much to the people receiving the gift, which leaves her with less time to work on what she wants to create for herself.

Prints are supplemental to Sarah’s custom pet portraits, but it’s the art that has the biggest impact on viewers because it is an expression of her own interests. One of her bestsellers is a scene she saw when she moved to Maine. It’s a wall covered in buoys at Luke’s Lobster. She was drawn to the wall’s colors and shapes and spent a lot of time on the illustration and now it’s her favorite piece. She draws a lot of Maine landscapes, especially sunsets and water scenes, and uses a lot of bright, happy colors and geometric shapes. Her designs are a happy interpretation of what she feels looks good in the scene. Sarah is a firm believer that art does not need to be perfect, “...and nature isn’t perfect.” She doesn’t use a lot of symmetrical lines in her designs for this reason.

Sarah enjoys finding geometric shapes in nature like in flowers because it clicks in her mind and she’s able to translate it into her designs. Her process starts with the basic shape of whatever she’s drawing and outlines major details and then fills it with color and detail based on her intuition to give the drawing layers and texture. In a lot of her work, and especially in the pet portraits, she will leave the background

Buoys. Print. Multiple sizes available.

white to keep the focus on the subject. Drawing is a way for Sarah to get out of her own head and get lost in whatever she’s working on. It’s a fun way for her to destress and it brings her joy, “If I can make a living and be a full-time artists that’s great, but I’m happy with creating for the sake of putting my art out there and having other people see it and share it and find joy in it every day.” A friend’s father recommended she publish a limited amount of each print to drive up the price, but that’s not what Sarah wants to do. It’s important to her that her work is accessible for everyone so she intentionally keeps her price points low. Every summer when Sarah was a child her family would take long road trips to Virginia to visit her grandmother. She recalls how she would love to draw before she could even form her own shapes, and how she loved coloring books and velvet coloring posters. As she got older she enjoyed drawing bubble text and doodled in school because it was a fun distraction. She drew a lot of flowers because she could create them from imagination and they would still be flowers. She drew a lot of animals too, mostly frogs and other amphibians. She drew with Sharpies and her designs were a lot less colorful than they are now. She progressed to using the Zentangle method of design that builds structured patterns by connecting lines and beginning to form shapes that feed off of each other, a process which she finds relaxing. She loved that she could riff off of these designs and started adding color; she felt free to create her own designs. She did take art in college and loved taking art classes but didn’t pursue a degree because she wasn’t interested in drawing the same thing as everyone else.

Fresh air and the ocean and getting back into nature were leading drivers for Sarah’s relocation to Maine. Sarah had been a long time visitor, vacationing with her family off the grid at a camp in Rangeley where they would hang out and go fishing. She made close friends in college who were from Maine and came to visit, “I was living in Boston and would visit when I needed a break from the city or needed to

Koda and Goose. Prints. Multiple sizes available.

relax and I would stay as long as possible, driving back on Monday morning.” At the start of the pandemic a few years ago, one of her friends was looking for a roommate and Sarah had been planning and working to establish a presence here and was ready to make her move. She knew it was the right choice then and still feels that way. Sarah is focused on connecting with other artists and establishing herself as a part of the artist community. She felt very solitary living in Boston and rejoined RWS for the community and to meet and interact with other artists and hear about shows, “It’s so different in Maine. Everybody wants to work together and be a part of a team and support each other.” She would love to collaborate on a mural or do something with a brewery or work with other people and companies to help them spread joy through art.

Lighthouse. Print. Multiple sizes available.

Lobster. Print and stickers. Multiple sizes available.

Lotus. Sticker.

Contact Sarah through Instagram @sarahhiersdesign or via email


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