We got the chance to interview Sofia Innamorato, a New York-based artist and illustrator. We asked her about her career so far and what she sees for the future.
Iuliana: Hey Sofia! How are you? Thanks for granting us this interview! Can you introduce yourself briefly? How would you describe your personality in three words?
Sofia: Hi! My name is Sofia Innamorato. I’m 16 years old, and I’m an aspiring artist!! I’m from New York, & I like listening to music & rainy days :) I’m not very interesting, haha!! I would describe myself to be artistic, caring, & idiosyncratic!!
Iuliana: How did you start on this artistic path, and what are some of your major inspirations?
Sofia: I’ve been drawing all my life!! Ever since I could remember, I’ve been into art – however, I wasn’t always sure if it was going to be my main path in life. I’m still not sure about that (the art career field is scary :c)!! I’ve always really been inspired by artists I see online – the artists I see on my explore page always motivate me!! I want to be like them one day, haha!
Iuliana: What mediums do you prefer to use, and what is the best and most challenging part about working with these particular mediums?
Sofia: I LOVE working with just a simple pencil!! It’s just easy to express emotion – scratchy lines, dramatic shading, etc. help to illustrate a really rough & raw look to my drawings! However, because pencil is erasable, I have lost confidence in my lines & I often erase & erase until my paper rips :c. Artists are self-conscious; we often struggle with loving what we create, and that’s the downside to using a non-permanent media like graphite.
Iuliana: Your figure drawings possess a tremendous sense of gesture. What is the importance of the gesture, and how do you capture it in a drawing?
Sofia: Gesture is so important!! Having a fluid drawing helps to portray movement & humanity in an art piece! If your figures are stiff, it looks unnatural, & it is hard to connect with the artwork. Fluidity expresses emotion!! I’ll be honest – it is so hard to capture natural movement of the body, & it definitely takes me a few tries to draw a specific pose before I am happy with it. It takes a lot of practice to master gesture – personally, I just draw from observation! Instead of thinking about the body as a ‘body,’ think about it in terms of abstract shapes! It really helps, because your brain becomes more relaxed (you’re not stressed about trying to draw the perfect body), & you’re able to interpret the pose into shapes that make sense to you! It’s hard to explain, haha!
Iuliana: What would you say are your greatest challenges in art, and are there any things that you personally struggle with? What ways have you found in overcoming artistic challenges?
Sofia: YES!! ARTBLOCK!! Every artist’s worst nightmare. For me, not only do I have no motivation, but every time I try to draw, it just doesn’t look right. So, how do I get over this? It’s a little weird: I basically draw in my cartoony style! It allows the pressure I put on myself to draw a perfect portrait or figure to dissipate, & I can just doodle & let my imagination wander! It’s good to take a break from the constant studying & practicing, sometimes we just need to draw nonsense!
Iuliana: Tell us about your creative process.
Sofia: Well, I often begin by listening to music! It sets my mood for what I’m about to draw. For example, my current favorite song is Doormat by Guardin, & it’s a pretty sad song. Therefore, most of my art has been kind of sad. I let my emotions take control, & basically let my mind do the work as I try to describe what I’m feeling with imagery. After I get my basic sketch down, I refine it, adding the depth & toughness that all of my illustrations have. Sometimes I line it with ink when I want a more solid feel, although I don’t do this often. I feel like it dulls my art (makes it more boring to look at). After I complete my sketch, I actually put packing tape over it to protect it so that it doesn’t smudge! It makes my sketchbooks last longer :)). My creative process isn’t all that interesting – It’s very short & simple.
Iuliana: What are your artistic ambitions?
Sofia: I would love to be able to live comfortably off my art; whether that be as a freelance artist, as a graphic designer of some sort, as an illustrator, etc. I don’t love the idea of being a graphic designer or illustrator (i’d prefer selling my own art, drawing what I’d like) but I am WELL aware that this is a difficult career path to take. However, that is my dream, so I’m going to chase it :)
Iuliana: If you had no limit on time or resources, what project would you most like to work on?
Sofia: A HUGEEE OIL PAINTING!! Or a mural on the side of a building!! Just something very large scale, since most of the things I draw are so tiny! I think it would be so cool to see what I can do hehe.
Iuliana: If any, what are the five biggest tips you would give to an aspiring artist or illustrator who wants to create expressive character art?
Sofia: 1. KEEP DRAWING!! Even if you feel discouraged, just keep drawing!! You’ll get there!! Never give up!
2. Keep all your old art work!! You’ll like to look back on it! It’s cool to see how you improve over time :))
3. Don’t only draw with one style or one media! Explore all corners of the artistic world! You may find joy in sculpture, or jewelry making, or crochet!! Personally, I love embroidery & making things out of polymer clay!! Let yourself create in all shapes & forms :))
4. Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. If art only induces feelings of anxiety & stress, maybe take a break. If you keep draining yourself, you’ll make yourself see art as a nuisance, and eventually you’ll hate every aspect of it. It’s okay to let yourself recuperate.
5. There is no right or wrong way to create expressive art. Your emotions are yours – nobody can tell you how to put them on paper. Just let your mind wander, let yourself release your feelings. You’ll end up with something you like, because it came from your heart :)
Iuliana: Any works in progress at the moment? What can we expect to see from you next?
Sofia: I AMMM WORKING ON PAINTINGS I PROMISE!! I keep saying i’ll post more paintings but they are taking a very long time!! They’ll be finished soon!!
Follow Sofia on Instagram here.