Sarah Blake, Just a Bug, 2012, Graphite, Water Color, and Digital Color

Sarah Blake, Just a Bug, 2012, Graphite, Water Color, and Digital Color

Hello Zso. Digital Watercolor.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Watercolor is perhaps the most unforgiving medium.  As an artist who makes mistakes constantly it has proven to be difficult.  For others, the unpredictability, the little mistakes, and the inconsistencies become expected, hoped for, manipulated, and embraced for lovely effects. 

Sarah Blake, a New York City illustrator, designer, and fine artist who goes by the name of Zso, creates her artwork with pen, pencil, ink, watercolor, and digital color. Scribbles, splotches, drips, and smudges are welcomed in her artwork.

Hers is a hybrid art form that blends manual methods and digital methods seamlessly for an affect that cannot sit well in either category.  She is both traditional and contemporary.  Her process is unique, as one drawing can take on multiple different results and interpretations through her editing process. 

What began as a black line becomes white, white paper gains texture, and any combination of color becomes possible.  When she brings them into the computer and makes multiple versions she can change colors, change positive/negative space, reorient objects, blow it up, and shrink it down.  What began as one artwork can be used in a multitude of different spaces.

In a painting of a peacock she said, “He started out red, then green, then blue. He ended up just sort of purple-y and monotone.”  Her vision and perceptions change through the process until something fits. 

She works in three phases beginning with concept sketches.  Zso then creates her handmade elements, sometimes on multiple pieces of paper.  In the final phase she scans the drawings/paintings and adds digital elements.  Even in their digital form the things she created by hand have a “tactile human quality” to them. 

When asked how she would like people to view her artwork she responded:

“I’m not sure. I guess I just want people to be intrigued and maybe even think it’s beautiful. I’m not really sure what art does in general, so it’s hard to answer this about my own. When I see another person’s work that I love, all I know is “WOW.” I don’t always know why or what it is that I’m even looking at. It’s something sublime. Art does not have to be functional, as I see it.”

Please take a look at her lovely artwork:

—Aleah Fierle


Aleah Fierle is a current Graduate student at SUNY College at Buffalo studying Art Education.  She has an invested interest in the both the traditional and digital world of art.