Sticks & Stones—Announcing September's sketchXchange with Amy Ruppel

Like a modern day Snow White, artist and illustrator Amy Ruppel brings the charm and magic of nature to life. Join us on Friday, September 6th at Fashionbuddha to mix, mingle, and sketch with Amy and the Portland creative community. 

From clients like Target, Converse, Logitech, Burton Snowboards to her latest project with the Seattle Children’s Hospital, Amy brings a unique style that bridges illustration and fine art. Don’t miss your chance to hear more about her process and see the work (and sketchbooks) up close. 

Date of the event: Friday, September 6th, 2013

Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45pm.

Place: Fashionbuddha, 240 N Broadway (in The Leftbank Project)

Cost: Free, however, a $5 donation is appreciated

Registration Begins: Friday, August 30th at 9am

As always, space is limited. Be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Originally from the Kettle Moraine woods of Wisconsin, Amy drew plants and animals, dug up fossils, and went for endless walks among all her forest friends. Her love for nature and science still influence her work today, making the Pacific Northwest the perfect place to call home. Let’s find out a little more about Amy and what makes her tick. 

How long have you been in Portland?

18 years

Did you go to school for art?

Yes, I finished college with degrees in Printmaking-Lithography and in Poetry, but I have been doodling all my life.

What type of clients do you usually work with? Are there a few projects you can share with us? 

These days, it’s children’s hospitals with a smattering of packaging projects for wine labels, Cilf Bars, and mineral makeup (to name a few). I have also been doing some regular work with Logitech and Whole Foods. I love the return client!

I just signed up with Blik (the awesome wall graphics folks) to do murals for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Also, I have been working with Seattle Children’s Hospital on their new building, called Building Hope, for the past 2-3 years and they just rehired me for another two. I’m making nature themed imagery, all vector for vinyl output, for the patient rooms, meeting rooms, etc. It’s a LEED certified building, and everything I make gets applied to glass walls and doors in different transparencies and layers of white. It’s rather beautiful and light, creating a calming, hope-glowing atmosphere for a sick child and their families.

What are some of your favorite materials for making?

You name it, I’ve used it. I prefer painting with acrylics on wood panel over canvas. I am returning to relief wood carving. I have a wood shop, but I don’t use it enough. The computer is a good vector tool for me. I like to apply digital work to non-digital mediums, such as in my wax paintings of the past, and printing onto cloth. You can run cloth right through an Epson printer. It’s awesome.

Your work mainly features nature and the creatures that live there. What is it that draws you to that theme?

I think it stems from growing up in the woods on 57 rural acres in Wisconsin. Sticks and leaves, rocks and plants were wondrous toys. I ran into many a forest creature while doing so (NOTE: deer are pretty, but very MEAN animals). We also had an absurd amount of pets. We had a huge garden, but I only remember growing carrots in my personal plot and picking tons of raspberries.

The woods were my escape, my playground. I relate to it, am most familiar with it. When I moved here, that longing for nature just increased exponentially because Oregon rates insanely and gorgeously high on the geographical features scale. I can’t get enough of hiking and camping. Even after eighteen years, I still marvel at the Columbia River Gorge. In thirty minutes I can be there hiking in crazy, vast, natural beauty.

Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you sketch and plan your pieces out before you start, or do you build as you go?

All my sketching is done in my head, or on a piece of scrap paper while talking on the phone with the client. I can already see what I am going to draw as the client is asking for/describing it. My wheels are spinning. I have learned that in the world of vector work it’s just best to do the ‘sketch’ in the final format, which for me is always vector. Most of the time, my draft sketch becomes the final art. Saves a lot of time. I prefer efficiency, and the client appreciates this too. I’ll save the hand drawing for my own personal work.

Who are some designers or artists that inspire you?

As far as illustrators go, I am adoring the work of Mar Hernandez, Lizzy Stewart, Ping Zhu…there are so many. I am a huge proponent of knowing your art history, and can’t stress studying classical art enough, especially for designers and illustrators. Light. composition, design…it’s all laid our for you there, and in nature, in perfect form. 

I am a huge fan of the German expressionists, and Milton Avery. I own a museum quality Wertheimer painting at home, that I stare at incessantly…that I need to get into a museum! It was a major score at an antique shop. I like having a classic painting I can touch and study closely without alarms going off!

You have an ongoing series of U.S. state prints. How did that get started and how many states have you done so far? 

It all started with wanting to do an image of Oregon, just to make a print to sell in my Etsy shop. Then California came, and Washington, and my home state of Wisconsin. Their popularity took me by surprise. Right now I’m figuring out licensing for getting the Washington state image on some wine labels. The Oregon state image has been used elsewhere as well. I need a good lesson in licensing, though. I feel clueless about it sometimes. 

You’ve also thrown a few countries in as well, do you plan on eventually painting the world?

I wait for people to request the states/countries, and then I draw them. Right now I have a roster going…New York is on Deck!

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist looking to make their mark? 

Just do the work, and be a good person while doing so. Dig into books, the internet, art shows. Absorb what it is that you like about the work that attracts you, and use that knowledge to create your own body of work. And you don’t have to stick to one style, or one medium. Go nuts! 

What do you think it is about Portland that creates such a creative atmosphere? 

The field is noncompetitive here. No one is trying to outdo one another. Everyone is accepting and encouraging. I love that if I can’t find time to do a job that has come my way, I can hand it off to someone else here and feel really good about it. The artists keep pouring into Portland. The more the merrier!

Mark your calendars and be sure to register early for this awesome evening of inspiration. See you there!

Date of the event: Friday, September 6nd, 2013

Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45pm.

Place: Fashionbuddha, 240 N Broadway (at The Leftbank Project)

Cost: Free, however, a $5 donation is appreciated

Registration Begins: Friday, August 30th at 9am

RSVP on Eventbrite