Written by Mary Andreski
Sarah Menzel is a Colorado-based illustrator, colorist, and storyboard artist whose credits include storyboarding Imaginext Adventures cartoons, creating art assets for a video game, and animating short films - and all of that on top of an offering of beautifully colored illustrative art pieces. When Nerd Team 30 caught up with her at the 2018 Denver Comic Con earlier this year, Sarah was kind enough to take some time and talk about her inspirations and how she got started on the convention circuit.
Mary Andreski: Today I will be speaking with Sarah Menzel. She is a local Colorado artist and I will let her introduce herself the rest of the way.
Sarah Menzel: I am a local illustrator and comic colorist. I do a lot of whimsical illustrations and dabble in a lot of things. For example I’ve created a 'zine recently, I really enjoy coloring comics, I helped out with Ben Worrell's Sheath series. I do mostly digital art so most of my paintings are done in photoshop and I like to draw digitally a lot but I do dabble in traditional mediums as well.
MA: So what got you started on the artists path?
SM: When I was maybe about 6 years old my grandmother lived with us for the longest time. She was an artist and she would always draw with me, that is an activity that we would do together. She was a really good artist and I was so inspired by he way she drew things. I have this memory of her - we were playing with an Etch-a-Sketch and she drew this beautiful princess dress with it and I really wanted to learn how to do that. So I wanted to draw pretty princess dresses I guess.
MA: It sounds like she was an inspiration for you as far as art. Is there anyone in the art field that has been particularly inspiring as far as style or who you look up to?
SM: Yes, there are a lot of artists that I look up to. Most recently I’ve been looking at a lot of Mobius. He was a French Comic book artist and illustrator. I really love his stuff. I also really enjoy Loish. She’s a digital painter that draws beautiful ladies with really colorful hair. She just has a really nice use of color in her work. I love to color, sometimes I like to color more than I like to draw. So I always am noticing really good use of color.
MA: Those being some of your personal favorites in the art world is there anyone in actual life who's inspired you (not necessarily in art) to be the person you are?
SM: I think my mom has inspired me the most. She’s a really hard worker. I always really looked up to her personality, she’s a very strong woman who always was the breadwinner in our household. So she never really let anyone take care of her. I really like that idea, even though I’m an artist - I can do things myself. I can take initiative and be someone who supports myself despite being an artist, I guess. It’s really important for me to be a self sustaining person. So I always looked up to her because she was able to do that on her own. I always want to be the type of person who can be independent and do anything I want to do in life. That’s where I get that part of myself and my stubborn streak.
MA: Your artistic style, which appears to be unique from what I’ve seen, how did you get into comic conventions and that realm? What inspired you to do that?
SM: I actually used to do fan art quite a bit. I eventually realized that I didn’t put as much time or energy into those pieces as I did into my personal pieces. I thought, what’s the point in doing that if I’m not putting my whole heart into the work that I’m doing? So I decided to cut out those works and keep doing what I was spending the most time on, which was my personal pieces. Those were things that I liked so I gravitated to them anyway.
I first started doing conventions, actually my first convention was when I was 15, it was NDK (Nan Desu Kan). Way back when it was in the DTC area. It was actually really easy to get into that artist alley at that point. That was my first convention. I think I only had about 5 prints and I was sharing it with a friend and it was really bad. That was how I started and I got the feel for it after that. I went to conventions with friends from college and I would try to do local conventions in Colorado when I could. I started liking to sell my work and it was one of the platforms you can actually make money selling your own work, rather than sometimes online where it can be hard to promote that type of thing. I’m not very good at social media either so doing a stand in a place where people actually go works better for me.
MA: Where can people find you? Social media, or conventions coming up?
SM: The next convention I am doing is NDK 2018. You can find my work at SarahMenzel.com or you can follow me on Instragram @cacoon_garden. That’s where I am most active and the best way to follow my work.
MA: Thank you so much for your time.