Sarah Coleman's Life in Literature
Illustrator Sarah Coleman is known for her unique style of hand-lettering typography and hand-drawn illustrations. With clients spanning from top of the line authors and publishers, to a variety of advertising clients, Sarah’s inky work has been described as “unmistakable, while never staying still.” Sarah works in both traditional ink and digitally. “I use pencils to sketch out ideas, and pen and ink to draw, whether that’s nibs and dip pens, felt tips, gel pens, biros or any of the 750+ pens in my collection! I use a LOT of ink - creating washes, textures, backgrounds, often multi-layered. Sometimes I work with iPad and Apple Pencil only; the look is different, but still me!”
In her most recent endeavor, Sarah illustrated a book that is now fresh on the shelves. Collaborating with Oscar-winning writer-director, Guillermo del Toro, and New York Times bestselling author, Cornelia Funke, the team of creatives transformed del Toro’s classic film "Pan’s Labyrinth" into a dark fantasy novel. Written for all ages, "Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun," is a novelization of the film that comes to life with Coleman’s eerie illustrations. “I created the wraparound cover artwork, page illustrations, chapter headers, and spot art, with full-page plates by Allen Williams, with ink on paper and many layers of texture, wash, and detail.”
Sarah’s illustrations for the project include different characters: child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess. “The characters are so well known, it’s quite the responsibility - and the challenge - to recreate them in your own creative voice without taking them too far from their original form,” explains Sarah. “This story, adapted to novel form by one of the world’s best-loved fantasy writers together with the director himself, has an enormous atmosphere, and the job of work was really to capture that, while not giving away too much if you’ve never, somehow, watched the film before! It was a real honor - and responsibility - to be asked to work on this iconic, bold book, alongside legendary fantasy artist Allen Williams. And yes, all my work was closely monitored by Guillermo himself...I have an archive of emails to remind me!”
A seasoned illustrator, Sarah is no stranger to creating award-winning work. "Out to Get You" by Josh Allen is a collection of thirteen thrilling stories, with cover art and inside illustrations by Sarah. The collaboration between author and illustrator was seamless. “It’s been a fabulous learning curve. He’s so into my illustrations, and I am VERY into these stories - they’re exactly what I would have read as an 11-year-old.” Out to Get You was selected for the Junior Library Guild book award and will be in libraries across the country in early September, while also receiving an excellent Kirkus review - two honors that are no easy feat.
Alongside her publishing projects, Sarah has been busy working on an exciting advertising campaign. Special K has launched a new campaign with a fresh recipe that emphasizes health and nutrition. The brand called on Sarah and her inky pens to create a bicep for the US-wide print, TV, and social media campaign. Sarah’s iconic typography is comprised of empowering messages aimed at leading a healthy life, designed in the shape of a bicep. Sarah’s life long love of lettering and type have driven her career. “Words have ALWAYS permeated my work, whether it’s my words or someone else’s. I respond to them like a rich source of material to mine; there are the shape and form of them, and there’s the meaning, but there’s also the interpretation.”