Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing graphic designer and water color connoisseur Sasha Prood. Sasha grew up just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and trained at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design. She currently resides in a tiny studio apartment in Brooklyn, New York filled to the brim with plants. When it comes to her skill set, she creates typography, illustrations, patterns, and graphics using pencil, pen, and watercolor on the computer. This wonderful mix of both traditional and nontraditional methods not only makes for an outstanding portfolio, but shows the diversity and dedication of this talented graphic designer.
What is the most important aspect of typography?
For me, the most difficult (and often most important) aspect of creating typography tends to be balancing readability and pushing the level of creativity. This is obviously a particularly tricky area when working with clients because getting the message across is their number one priority.
While you are in the process of creating your artwork, what are 3 rules you always follow to maximize results?
Do your research, create clear sketches (especially when working with a client) and have a flexible plan for executing the final art.
A majority of your work is completed with watercolor – what influenced this?
Throughout high school and college, I tried every medium available to me. Several of the mediums felt natural to use and I have stuck with them—one of them is watercolor paint. I also use pencil, pen, and the Adobe Creative Suite on a regular basis.
Are there any disadvantages in working with watercolor? What happens if a mistake is made while painting?
The only advantage to using watercolor is the beautiful result you can achieve if you “do it right”. Watercolor is a tricky medium to work in because it is unforgiving. Oftentimes if you mess up, you will have to start over. However, sometimes you can dull the mistake a bit by carefully saturating the area with water and dabbing it with a paper towel. Since most of my work ends up as a digital file, Photoshop retouching is another useful trick. With time and practice, you make less and less mistakes.
You create some awesome patterns – where do you get the inspiration for these patterns? Do they come natural? Do you do a lot of sketches before hand?
The sources of my inspirations vary greatly. I love the organization and sense of simplicity found in geometry. I find science to be inspirational, particularly biology—cells, molecules, etc. I have included animals, vegetables and minerals—anything natural and organic – into much of my work. Things from childhood are also inspirational to me, particularly items with a sense of play and humor. I’m attracted to vintage items, especially ones that are typographic in nature. I’m inspired by everyday “mundane” things that are basic and utilitarian as well as anything that is hand-made. Examples include cultural items such as textiles, ceramics, and basket weaving. I am also interested in aspects of black magic and ritual. And on and on!
Each piece of my art evolves naturally because it is often an extension of my past work. I don’t try to push myself into creating totally new things. For me, little experiments keep things interesting and tends to grow into fresh ideas organically.
I do a lot of research/sketching/planning before creating any of my work.
Some people struggle to work with typography – what advice would you give them on layout, readability, emphasis and alignment?
I would suggest practicing, experimenting, taking classes, and anything else that you can do to discover new ways of approaching typographic challenges.
I’m not a fan of sticking to the rules—I say learn them only so that you can choose when to break them and know why you did so.
Beyond not having to pay to own all of the hottest new typefaces, I’m not sure about advantages—I personally find hand lettering to be more creatively fulfilling.
Over time you get better at balancing everything—it just takes practice.
As an artist, I feel that it is important to find your own unique visual voice and apply it to everything that you do.
Check out the rest of the graphic designer interview series at Smartpress.com.