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Sara Diesel – Illumination of the Fantastic – Artist Profile

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Sara Diesel is an award winning digital artist working in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work reflects her passion in all things science-fiction, fantasy, and surreal. Using combinations of vivid color, her artwork contains an illuminated quality otherwise lost in traditional mediums.

“I start my process by writing out ideas and making myself lists and lists of objects and known myths or stories that correlate to my ideas for the piece. I do a lot of research for each painting, because it’s important to me to get things right and to be knowledgeable about what it is I’m painting.

I work through thumbnails in my small Moleskine typically using a ballpoint pen. I was a noodler in college and would waste a lot of time trying to fix thumbnails, so pen helps me be a bit more precise and less concerned about the quality of the thumbnail and more concerned about the quality of the composition and idea.

From there, I do a loose drawing on an enlarged thumbnail to work out a few details. Before I go any further, I take reference photos, taking into account lighting and subject matter. Once I have all of the reference I need collected, including images for objects, materials, etc., I do a tighter drawing. I tweak and refine as I go, and take more reference if need be until I’m happy, and then I go straight into painting. As I mull over the piece in the early stages, I tend to get a color palette in my head that I know I’m going to use. I love to make vibrant pieces that suck the viewer in with their radiant color.

I was taught to paint traditionally in college, and it influences my work quite a bit, but I made the decision to go entirely digital a few years ago because I have a passion for the medium. Most people are stigmatized by the word digital, but to me and many other artists, it’s just another medium and another tool.

I have been working on finding a hybrid between traditional and digital because I miss the tactility of a traditional painting. I’ve combined mediums in the past, but I want to incorporate it into my process so that it’s a vital step in the outcome of a piece.” – Sara Diesel (Light Grey Art Lab)

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