Supersonic Visits: Rachel Suggs.

Artist Rachel Suggs illustrates lovely fantasies with great intricacy and ability.  Recently Supersonic got the chance to visit her studio in Baltimore where she is attending the Maryland Institute College of Art working on her BFA in illustration.  Her work, however, is a testament to the fact that illustration can also be fine art.  See more of Rachel’s studio below:

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I am so, so flattered. Check out this lovely feature that Supersonic did of my work! Thanks Steve Kim for taking such lovely photos! :) Also look at this feature they did for my friend Michael!: -r

Anonymous asked: Rach! Your work is badass! What are your tools of the trade? Your hatching is so damn smooth!

Thanks! Here’s the ballpoint pen I’ve been using for my recent sketchbook drawings (but I don’t think it matters that much)

For my paintings I’ve been using Utrecht’s acrylic paints and the Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. 

I also really like using cold press Arches watercolor paper. :)


Anonymous asked: do you use reference photos in your work? if so to what extent and would it be possible to see your reference photo along side one of your images?

I rely on them sometimes, and that’s ok. I think they’re great. It’s been a requirement to gather and show them alongside final sketches in some classes. I’ve also got tons of categorized pics in files that I find inspirational or could potentially be used as reference. That being said, I never get to a point where I copy a photo, because it just feels a little too easy to me? Idk… That’s something else entirely, and I think it’s something I avoid doing because it was ingrained by my previous instructors not to.

Normally, anything in my sketchbook is either directly from my head or it’s probably from someone in a class or public transit.

If I need reference for something in a piece (like an animal that I can’t see unless I go to a zoo or something) then I’ll find about 3-4 photos of that thing from different angles and work from there. It’s not much different with a complex pose. I’ll probably take a few awkward photo booth pictures at different angles and study/sketch them a few times till I’m comfortable and move forward (uhhh, but I’m not showing you those! lol). It really just depends on the situation and what I’m trying to draw. A good chunk of my “reference” images are only there because of colors I like, or maybe they’re inspirational photos with a similar atmosphere I’m trying to achieve.

I deleted the original reference file, but I managed to find a few of the leftover images I looked at when I was working on the two botanist girl/observatory collage pieces:

^^ Nausicaa’s secret room was the coolest, right?

Someone asked about my process a while back, so I might put together a detailed post on that (which may cover references some).

Thanks for the question :)


hectoncollider asked: I see that you paint alot in your sketchbooks. I use a molskine and I find they just do not hold up well with paint the paper warps a ton, do you know where I could buy one like yours that hold paint well?

I remember Moleskins were the best for drawing, but for paint it was the worst! :(

For a while I liked using these:

They come in several shapes/sizes. Would warp some, but eventually flattened out and wasn’t near as bad as my old moleskin.

I gave this one a shot for my current sketchbook though:

It’s the same thing, but with watercolor paper… Which is pricier, but I think it was worth it. The paint sits pretty well. I don’t get as much warping compared to the previous journal I suggested, and it’s definitely not as bad as my old moleskin. Also, the paper’s just smooth enough (So if you want to switch and draw it should still feel ok). These come in 2-3 different shapes/sizes as well.

But hey, if I’m silly and anyone has a better suggestion, go for it :)



Anonymous asked: how do you manage to draw so lightly? I always press harder with my pencil than I need to, and it can get annoying when I'm about to paint over it.

I’ve just made a habit of taking my time and pressing lightly. Idk how you work usually, but maybe you’re taking it too fast? I don’t think there’s a problem touching them up with an eraser either.. Also my lines end up a lot lighter after I’ve painted over them some.