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Women in Graphic Arts: Sue Sarah Gilbert

Equality for women illustration by Sue Gilbert
Sue Gilbert headshot

Sue Sarah Gilbert

Graphic Artist and Owner
Susan Bird Artwork, LLC
Bellevue, WA

What is one thing you learned in school or via an alternative learning source that has made you a better professional? What was the name of the school / instructor / resource?

The most important thing I learned in art school was to ALWAYS present high-quality, polished work. This dictum has sent me back to my computer numerous times to tweak my just-finished work until it’s “just right.” Despite the crunch of deadlines, I appreciate that discipline! I majored in Advertising Design at ArtCenter College of Design, back in the 1970s.

As a woman in graphic arts, how do think the female perspective has impacted the evolution of the industry?

I prefer to think that the female perspective has impacted the evolution of the world rather than just one industry. It has contributed a much-needed balance to the predominantly male perspective in most forms of commercial art. Hey – women have enormous purchasing power! As industries have awakened to this, they’ve appealed more to women customers. As a result, more women are employed now in graphic arts than ever before. I like to think it’s as much for their female perspective as it is for their prodigious skills.

Name a female graphic artist, living or deceased, that made an impact on your aesthetic or work style (Include their social media handles if available). How does that impact present itself in your work?

My current inspiration is commercial artist Julie Paschkis. Her work is quintessentially feminine, rich with the woven entanglement of life forms. I’m particularly inspired by the elegance in her drawing. There’s so much to learn from her work. I notice how masterfully she fills shapes (flowers, an animal’s tail, land, and the negative shape of sky) with bold designs. I do the same in my work. I appreciate her rich color combinations and the ubiquitous play between soft and hard edges, line and curve, light and dark. She inspires me to stay aware of all of those elements in my designs. I keep several of her greeting cards and a large pillow in my studio for inspiration. Though our styles are different, she’s like an art sister to me.

Julie Paschkis website
Julie Paschkis Instagram
Julie Paschkis Facbook profile
Patchwork Blog

“I’m Sue Sarah Gilbert, Graphic Artist, hard-working and somewhat retiring. My Muse is Susan Bird: bossy, bold, and funny. Together, we create ‘Playful Art with Heart.’ Through our large prints and ancillary merchandise, we inspire people to get in touch with the softer parts of themselves, to spread good feelings to others, and to create a positive ripple in the world.”

Images © Sarah Gilbert. Used with permission.