Sophy Tuttle knows her way around pen and paper. Her illustration, both color and black & white, are so skillful you’d think she traced them elsewhere with a pencil and then applied a permanent art medium. Art was once a hobby to Sophy and only when it came time to apply to college did she decide to become even more serious about art and devote her life to art.
“I draw much of my inspiration from nature and animals, particularly birds and mythical creatures. My most recent work focuses on using these creatures to explore different stories and emotions. The goal of this work is to evoke different feelings in the viewer based on the theme of the piece.”
ArtVenue was so excited to discover Sophy’s fantastic illustrations and couldn’t wait to ask her a few questions about her artistic journey.
Home is where the heart is-where is home for you?
That’s a surprisingly complicated question for me. I currently live in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and absolutely love it. I grew up in Central Mass, but all of my family lives in England, so I consider that home as well!
How and when did you discover yourself to be an artist?
I’ve loved to draw ever since I can remember. I think most people do when they’re young, and some people just stick with it and some don’t. My grandmother is a botanical painter and I remember drawing plants and flowers in my backyard and having my mum send them to her in England. I considered art a hobby, though, until it came time to apply for college and I realized I could actually possibly make it my whole life.
“It takes a long time to get started in this field, so don’t be disheartened if you’re not successful in the first 3 or 4 years you start doing it.”
You truly are a skilled illustrator. Where did you learn the skills and gain the knowledge you, as an artist, posses today?
I credit my high school art teacher with opening me up to a lot of different mediums (sculpture, photography, etc), that really helped me to grow as an artist and realize that there were many different facets to art. I was lucky enough to attend Rhode Island School of Design and graduate with a degree in Illustration. At RISD, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in oil painting, 3D illustration, figure sculpture, mural painting, and so many other things. Almost every skill or medium you learn can be applied to another medium to enhance your understanding or help you see something in a different way. For example, the figure sculpture classes I took gave me a much deeper understanding of the human form, and I became a better 2D illustrator because of them.
“I’ve loved to draw ever since I can remember.”
The very first piece or work ever created by you-what/when was it, is it anything like the work you do now, and do you have it in your possession?
The first “work” I remember creating were these big “Save the Rainforest” and “Save the Whales” posters that I drew in crayons with my best friend. They were probably 18″x 24″, but I didn’t understand space yet, so it was the typical 4 inches of drawing along the very bottom of the paper, and giant bubble letters across the top. I think they’re still in my parents attic. I have actually been illustrating the environmental magazine Whole Terrain for the past couple of years, so I guess there is a connection there! As incredibly nerdy as it is, I also remember copying pictures from my brother’s “Nintendo Power” magazines at a pretty early age. I think the connection there is my continued love of line and simple color.
What is your creative process, typically?
These days I have a pretty steady routine of getting home from work at 4:30 and, if I’m in the middle of a project, going straight to work on illustration. I’m usually thinking about what I’m going to accomplish that day while I’m still at my day job, that way I don’t waste any time once I get home (and I have something to occupy my brain during long meetings!). I try not to drink coffee before I work on pen and ink stuff, just because it makes my hands too shakey. This all makes me sounds very disciplined, but I somehow manage to spend just as much time on facebook.
“I also just love drawing fish as they usually make for a great composition and they’re slightly creepy like all my work.”
Do you prefer 2D or 3D art? What are the limitations/freedoms of each form of art?
It goes back and forth for me. In college, I was making a lot of 3D art because I had a studio and roommates who understood if my project spilled out into the living room. These days I tend to do almost exclusively pen and ink work because of my space and time limitations. The reason I enjoy 3D so much is that you are able to fully realize and flesh out a character in one instance, as opposed to having to do many sketches of the same figure to get the same result.
How do you come up with titles for your pieces? (Do they frame meaning, suggest thematic implications or is it the last piece for completion?)
The names of my pieces are purely for my own benefit. I have so many drawings of crows and other birds that I have to be able to keep track of them all! They’re usually pretty literal.
Pick your own favorite piece on ArtVenue. What is it of, why is it your favorite and what does it mean to you?
I’m actually having trouble finding art by other artists, other than what’s on the front page. However, I do love the work on there by Andrew Jerz. I love figurative and narrative work to begin with, and I love the way he caricatures and stylizes his subjects. His colors are awesome too.
After I reviewed her original answer for the question above, I realized I might have worded things confusingly. I told Sophy to choose one of her own pieces, to which she promptly answered:
My favorite piece of MINE is probably the “Catfish.” My most recent work is almost always my favorite and this one represents a good step in the direction of color usage, which I’m usually terrible at and generally scared of. I also just love drawing fish as they usually make for a great composition and they’re slightly creepy like all my work.
“I considered art a hobby, though, until it came time to apply for college and I realized I could actually possibly make it my whole life.”
Are there any projects you are working on right now that you can’t wait to finish and share? Any other mediums you would love to explore and experiment with?
I recently finished a poster for my friends in a local Boston band called Tallahassee. They’re playing a few shows coming up in NYC, Providence, and Cambridge so I make up a poster for those. They let me do whatever I wanted and I think the result was pretty good. The only art direction I got was “I think you should add a mustache,” and he was totally right.
What is some advice you could give to budding artists, hopeful to make a name for themselves or looking to build a portfolio?
It takes a long time to get started in this field, so don’t be disheartened if you’re not successful in the first 3 or 4 years you start doing it.
ArtVenue would like to thank Sophy for giving us some of her time and thoughts. We are simply delighted to have her on ArtVenue – welcome to the family!