When I first saw the insect art created by Rose Sanderson, I happened to be teaching my students an insect project. I couldn’t wait to share her work with my students. Her detailed paintings on the covers of old hardback books had instant appeal. Art teachers often encourage students to experiment with the surfaces they work on, and this was an inspiring starting point.
Inspired by the natural world, Rose Sanderson originally trained as an illustrator but is also recognised as a fine artist. She has exhibited around the globe and been featured in numerous publications.
I was pleased to be able to get in contact with Sanderson and find out more.
Were you interested in art at school?
“I have been interested in art for as long as I can remember; always doodling away or making stuff out of one thing or another. Art was always my favourite subject at school, alongside science and geography which I guess comes out in my work.”
Was your art teacher an influence on you?
“I did have an amazing teacher once I started my A-levels who was so enthusiastic it would have been very hard not to be inspired by him. My mum also taught art so my creativity was always encouraged from an early age [and I was] given the time and space to just get on with my own thing.”
What inspired you to make insect art?
“I have been interested in insects ever since I was a child, my first pet was a woodlouse! If I hadn’t gone down the art path I think I would have carried on further studies in Biology or Earth Sciences. I believe having a subject matter that inspires you is important as it keeps you interested, however mundane, or geeky it may seem. I’m intrigued by the natural world and painting or drawing a bug, a bird, a rock, or a leaf gives me the opportunity to study it in great detail.”
Do you keep a sketchbook?
“At the moment, not as such. However, I do have lots of random pieces of paper with sketches and ideas scribbled over them. I keep meaning to keep it all together but I tend to use various papers and surfaces so one single book doesn’t always work for me. I think it’s important to keep a sketchbook, whatever form it may take, and for yourself, not for anyone else. It was always encouraged at Art school. I did an Illustration degree and we had to fill at least 3 sketchbooks per project; it was a worthwhile discipline and one I should really try and pick up again now. I had more time then though to focus on my art, now I have a child and a house and all those other grown-up things that take up big chunks of my life!”
What practical advice would you give students who were trying to make work inspired by yours?
“Work out what it is about the work that actually inspires you, then take that inspiration and turn it towards your own creations. Don’t simply try and copy, but try and understand. There are many factors that help develop your technical skills and abilities; study, practice, experimentation, time and perseverance. Most of all though; it’s important to play and enjoy what you are doing. Passion is what will keep you going, and what brings out the best in you, and your work.”
Rose Sanderson has kindly agreed to be added into the following insect art presentation that you can use with your students.