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Book signing with Stasia Burrington, local illustrator extraordinaire

Stasia Burrington is a prominent local artist in Seattle.  You may have seen her prints and products in local shops like Virago, or her murals throughout the city.  We are excited to have one of her newest published works "Mae Among the Stars" here at Click!  On April 28th, Stasia will join us for a book signing and mini pop-up starting at 2pm.  Here she gives us some insight into her work and process. 

Hi Stasia!  Can you give a bit of info on your background?  Did you study, and when did you start illustrating professionally? 

Hi! Yes - I’ve been drawing since I was little, and I attended Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle for a couple of years before finishing up a BFA at the University of Idaho in 2009. I started working full time as an illustrator right out of school.

I notice that you do a lot of personal work: publishing prints and designing products with your imagery.  What drives you, or what do you enjoy most in your work?

I enjoy playing, creating and building things. I like loose world-building, and collecting and assembling symbols and ideas. I enjoy trying to solidify fleeting feelings.

One of your most recent commissioned projects - that Click is excited to carry - is a children’s book called ‘Mae Among the Stars’.  How did you approach the illustrations for this project? Did you have a close collaboration with the author?

I did have a pretty close collaboration with Roda, but she also gave me a lot of creative freedom. I grew up loving children’s books, and wanting to illustrate them, so this was really a dream come true and I approached the artwork with the intent to create something kid-me would love.

There are cover to cover illustrations in this publication, are there any that stand out as your personal favorite? 

Oh geez. The spread of Mae crafting a cardboard spaceship, in her cardboard space-helmet, surrounded by drawings, books, and her little cat. This scene is very much an illustration of how I’d spend a lot of time when I was little, and it just makes me so happy!

Your illustrations are created with very tactile materials: intimate lines in ink, energetic paint splatters or aura like watercolors.  Why are you drawn to the materials you use? Do the materials influence the way you work?

I’m attracted to the imperfections in analog mediums, the texture and surprise. I’m drawn to ink and watercolor for many reasons: they’re affordable, relatively nontoxic (I’m mostly worried about my cats, who are very nosey), versatile, and fun. I’m also impatient. So when working with watercolors, it’s exciting because things move very fast.

What tools or techniques can you share about your process?  Is it all hand done or is there a computer involved?

Yes. So, all of the original paintings are actually done in walnut and sumi ink, so they’re just black, gray, and shades of brown. I then colored the work digitally. I’m really comfortable with linework and shading, and work this way so I have the freedom to play more leisurely with colors once the framework of the drawing exists.

A lot of your illustrations include people and in particular many illustrations feature women.  What is it that draws you to illustrating people?

People are beautiful and interesting and complex , and it’s easy to see yourself in artwork featuring them. I use drawing as a way to explore what it is like and what it means to be a person, and a woman. It’s an exercise in reflection, and actually, learning how to love others and myself.

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