artist perspective by Sophia Watts, drawing inspiration from travels

The Artist's Perspective, written by Sophia Watts - a designer and illustrator from Nottingham whose passions include animals, food, and... travel! A theme that features prominently in her work...

Travel has become a prominent theme within my work, and I have been lucky enough to visit some really amazing places in the last few years. In January, my girlfriend and I flew to Mexico City to travel Central America for three months. It’s safe to say that this was a life changing experience for us both, and gave me a lot of inspiration. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua to volunteering in a wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica - we’ve had some incredible experiences that I’ll be forever grateful for. We have more plans to travel in the next couple of months to Asia. I carry an iPad as my sketchbook as it saves a lot of room in my very full bag! It’s also really versatile in terms of the media brushes and colours I can choose from in procreate.

I always start with a preliminary sketch of the general composition and anything within the details that I want to remember to include in the final piece. After this I build the layers with colour, all of which I record on procreate. I find watching other illustrators’ processes so interesting so I like to share my own too!

I really enjoy capturing details which make each place individual and unique. There are so many factors which come into play when I’m capturing the essence of a place. I enjoy drawing inspiration from the landscape of a place. You can get such a feel of an area from its natural environment, and I like to take note of the local plants, animals, trees, etc. This trip was the first time I’d ever seen an active volcano. Fuego in Antigua, Guatemala captured my attention the most. You could actually see the lava smoke from the city, which was incredible! This piece was created after talking to people who climbed the volcano, and seeing all their amazing photos. I’d love to go back to do the hike one day!

Traditional dress or clothing can really show the intricate beauty and craftsmanship prevalent in that specific country. This piece is inspired by some girls I saw in Nicaragua, Leon, who were waiting to get on stage to perform. When travelling, I’m always really interested in artisan made crafts and local art. *insert image of girls in Leon I especially loved drawing the animals I saw in Costa Rica.

I’m a big animal lover, and there was such a big range of biodiversity here. We also volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary whose aim is to rehabilitate and release as many animals that come in as possible. This was my favourite part of the trip, and so amazing to feel like you’re making a difference in helping the animals! I'm sharing some illustrations I made while at the sanctuary. 

I’m very excited to create more work during my trip to Asia! Follow my Instagram @sophia_watts to keep up to date :)

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

At illo agency, we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.