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Up & coming – artist Sarah Ray

Sarah Ray's life in the country has led her to create a range of greetings cards and gifts

Sarah Ray had been working as a freelance illustrator for a few years before deciding in 2007 to start making her own prints and products to sell at art markets and shops. "I really enjoyed it so decided to launch my own range of greetings cards in 2012, which has so far proved successful. I always loved drawing family and friends silly cards, and decided that actually it was the perfect blank canvas for my illustrations." Sarah gained a BA Honours in Illustration from the School of Art in Cambridge. Since then she's been illustrating for a range of clients, including the NHS and Orange, and has exhibited all over the UK including London, Bristol and Birmingham. Sarah has also run screen-printing workshops over the last few years. Her collection is a mix of quirky, cute and sentimental designs. Sad slugs, rubbish skateboarders, musical worms and squeaky underpants are just some of the more unusual themes.

"I think my illustrations have a good mix of off-beat humour, with appealing characters and a decent dose of something different. I also like to add a bit extra on the back of each card, such as a little drawing that extends the story or theme. I like to think it's a treat for the receiver of the card to discover there is more to see on the back!"

Sarah gets her inspiration from people; more specifically people's mannerisms, conversations, social behaviour and interactions. "I jot down anything I find funny. I also draw inspiration from animals, especially ones that are normally disliked or not aesthetically pleasing, I somehow find these more amusing."

One of Sarah's best-selling designs is the 'You are my sunshine' card, but close behind are 'Slug hug', 'I am great' and 'Mash it up'.

So far, she has exhibited at Top Drawer and Pulse. Last year Sarah was lucky enough to be contacted by Charlotte Abrahams who curates the Spotted section of the Top Drawer show, where new and upcoming designer makers showcase their products. "It was a great success and I was asked to return for Spotted Plus in January this year, where I managed to pick up an award for Best New Product in the Stationery & Greetings category. I'm now looking forward to exhibiting next January."

As well as greetings cards, Sarah has a broad range of other products including limited edition screen prints and gift items, and is currently working on extending her stationery range.

"I'm mostly stocked in cool little independent shops around the UK, including Treacle in London, Chirpy in Leeds and Oklahoma in Manchester. I'm also stocked in the brilliant Paperchase, I sell on quite a few online shops like www.notonthehighstreet.com and I sell my screen prints in galleries across the country.

"I'm currently working on a range of illustrative commissions, including a children's book about a chameleon. I'm also designing some new card designs and stationery products to launch in January - it's very exciting!"

For more information, visit www.sarahray.co.uk

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