Q&A with an artist: Sandra Winther (Sandra Winther Art)
I happened to stumble across Sandra’s amazing digital art on Instagram when perusing some Procreate-related hashtags. When I realised she had recently delved into creating colouring pages, I knew I just HAD to interview her.
Her digital paintings truly speak for themselves, and as a digital artist myself, to see this level of detail and imagination is extremely inspiring for my own journey. I can only dream (ahem, work extremely hard) to reach this level of skill.
I hope you enjoy this fabulous interview with the next big name in the colouring community. You heard it here first, but this girl is going to BLOW UP the colouring world…I can just feel it!
Q1. Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Sandra Winther, an artist an illustrator from a small city called Haugesund in Norway. I do different stuff within digital art. I illustrate book covers and characters, make art tutorials, and sell artworks and colouring pages.
Q2. How did you start making art? Did you ever study a creative discipline(s) or are you self-taught?
I never studied art in school, it’s just something I’ve always had a passion for. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t spend every day drawing something, making something.
When I was really young and couldn’t find any paper to draw on in our house, I started drawing in all of my mom’s books. In classes at school and university I was always drawing a lot more than I was taking notes.
Q3. How long did it take for you to develop your signature style as an artist?
I don’t know, it’s just something that’s happened along the years. It’s not something I put a lot of thought into, I always just painted whatever I wanted to. My art is still developing too, so in a few years it will probably look different than it does now.
Q4. Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an artist? Have you ever done any other jobs before becoming an artist?
I’ve had a couple of different jobs while studying. I always wanted to study art, but was constantly told that art doesn’t pay your bills and that it would be a waste of an education. So I actually completed a master’s degree in history with the intent of becoming a teacher. So I did some teaching, which I loved, but when the time came to do it full time I decided to become a freelance artist instead.
Through my uni years I was sharing my art online, so I’d built up a small following and already started taking paid commissions. During the year I wrote my master’s thesis, I started thinking seriously about becoming a full time artist. It was hard to imagine a future where art wasn’t a huge part of my life.
Then I moved to Oslo and started spending time with other creatives; people who were working as freelancers within film, music, art and so on. Seeing them do it and having their encouragement gave me a lot of inspiration and I finally decided I could do it too!
Q5. Do you have a morning / evening routine in place to encourage self-care or productivity?
I don’t really have a routine, but music is my therapy so I make sure I always take the time to just listen to music while doing nothing else. Well, maybe dancing if I feel like it.
Q6. Have you learned any lessons along the road to becoming a full-time artist? Is there anything you regret, or things you wished you’d sooner?
With all the progress I’ve had since I went 100% for it two years ago, it’s hard not to wonder how far I’d have come if I did that seven or eight years ago. But those years were so amazing and I met so many people who are important to me and helped shape me, so I honestly can’t imagine it any other way.
Q7. Have you every suffered from creative block or burnout?
Nothing serious, and not for more than just a couple of days. I try to avoid art blocks by having a lot of projects going on at the same time, so if I’m stuck on something I just move on to working on something else. After some time I’ve got a fresh perspective and I’m ready to keep working on whatever I felt stuck on.
Q8. What does your work space look like?
Q9. Describe your typical day as an artist.
I’m a night owl, so I usually sleep in in the morning. Once I do get up I usually spend an hour freshening up, eating breakfast, checking out news and just relaxing. Total luxury, I know. Then I sit down to work. I check out all of my latest emails and messages, then I decide which art projects or commissions I’m going to be working on for the day. If I’m starting a new one I spend some time looking for references, setting up the canvas etc…
Once I’m ready to actually start making art, I make sure I either have on music or a documentary in the background to listen to. I need to keep my mind going while I’m painting. Once I get started I’ll sit for hours and hours, often late into the evening. I usually work on two or three different artworks every day, so I don’t get bored - and also to have a fresh eye the next time I come back to work on them.
At the end of my work day I check my messages again and send updates to people who are waiting for paintings from me. Then I need to update my social media pages - Instagram in particular - and try to answer the comments I get there. I also scroll a bit every day looking for inspiration and supporting other artists. My mind is never really “off” work. My life is art and art is my job.
Q10. Are there any any tools you simply can’t live without?
My iPad, obviously. I do most of my work on that.
Q11. What things do you do in your day-to-day life to encourage personal growth as either an artist or an individual?
I’m always watching documentaries to learn new things and I keep myself updated daily on the news and politics of the world. I want to stay educated on important topics at all times and to see the world from different perspectives.
Q12. Are there any themes you try to capture in your art?
Women’s empowerment and human emotions are themes I explore a lot, but not the only ones.
Q13. What is your dream project? Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline you can tell us about?
My dream for the far future is to open a small art gallery of my own in a city that I love. I do have a couple of projects in the making, but I can’t share anything about it right now.
Q14. What do you love / you dislike most about your job?
LOVE: Late mornings. Just kidding! (Although that’s a nice perk for me.) I love almost everything; from getting to spend my time doing what I love the most, sharing that with so many others and having them appreciate what I do to making people happy when I paint their loved ones or their characters.
DISLIKE: The aspect of marketing myself and my art. I find it extremely hard to put myself out there and to tell people about what they can buy from me.
Q15. What tips would you give to other artists that are looking to start making an income from their passion?
Start by getting your work out there, because you’ll need an audience in order to start getting customers. So choose some platforms to share your creativity (Instagram is my favourite for art) and grow your following.
I also find that a good rule is that you really get what you give. You should have a genuine interest in other artist’s work if you expect them to notice you and help you out, and you should treat your followers with all the love that they give to you. It will all come back to you!
Quick fire round 🔥
My most embarrassing EVER moment is...
I’m a huge klutz, so I have a lot of stories…
But maybe this one when I was working at a pizza shop at a mall: One day while alone at work, I forgot a pizza in the oven for so long it burnt to ashes, black smoke filled the kitchen, the fire alarm went off and the whole shopping mall had to be evacuated.
I had to ask dining guests to leave the restaurant because of protocol, even though they knew it was me and my burnt pizza that set off the alarm. The shop was right next to the main entrance, so hundreds of people had to walk past me on the way out. Everyone commenting loudly on the horrible burnt smell. To top it off: The outer walls to the pizza shop were made of glass, so once hundreds of people had been evacuated, they were all staring at me from the outside and laughing at the stupid pizza girl who set off the alarm. It’s really funny to look back on now, but it felt awful at the time!
One thing that scares me is...
If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be...
The artist that most inspires me is...
If I had to describe myself in 3 words, I would say I am...
Spontaneous, reflective and observant.
If I could travel to anywhere in the world it would be...
Right now either Tokyo or New Orleans.
My favorite book is...
A Song of Ice and Fire series.
My favorite band / solo artist / music genre is...
Rock is my favourite genre! Jeff Buckley, The Kooks, Fatherson, The Fratellis, The Revivalists, Nothing But Thieves, The Heavy, Kaizers Orchestra, Nirvana, Audioslave are some of my favourite bands/artists, but I could go on forever… One of the best things I know in life is going to live rock shows.
One thing people assume about me is…
That I know all things art. I don’t.
My guilty pleasure in life is…
Reality TV show “90 Day Fiancé” and chocolate.
Discover more of Sandra’s art 🎨
There are many ways to support Sandra as an artist if you enjoy her illustration style. Don’t forget that if you’re a digital colourist, you can also grab her bespoke Procreate brushes over on Gumroad!
* Disclosure: Please note that this is an affiliate link, therefore if you use it to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission – this does not affect how much you pay. Also, I will only ever use affiliate links for products I truly believe in :)