• Sara Julia Campbell

Meet Edinburgh based Sara Julia and her digital creations!

Here is a recent interview with me that the SDX (Scottish Design Exchange) posted - thought I would share it here too.

Meet Edinburgh based Sara Julia and her digital creations!

Introduce us to you and your brand!

Hi there! My name is Sara Julia Campbell and I am a Swiss-born artist who came to Scotland to study Illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art many years ago. I make colourful, detailed digital paintings with my Cintiq WACOM tablet. My style is inspired by a variety of things, notably Art Nouveau and Japanese animation.


How has your brand developed since you began?

I began my professional Freelance career in 2015. I have worked with clients and companies on projects both big and small and dipped my feet into various industries – packaging, narrative work, children’s books, portrait painting, editorial art and costume design. Over the years I built up a more consistent style and portfolio. My background was in oil and acrylic painting but for the last few years I have worked digitally. That said, my work still has a painterly look.


How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?

I frequently visited the SDX shop when it was still in Ocean Terminal – I have always admired the variety of products and talent on display. At the time, my own work was more fantasy-based and I was focusing on children’s books and graphic novels. Now I have more pieces that have Scottish themes, so I thought it would be worth applying.

What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist?

It can be difficult to explain what you actually do – there are a lot of misconceptions about art. One of them is that digital art is easier or quicker than traditional art, when it takes just as much time and patience. There are also frequent misconceptions about what the artist lifestyle is like (it doesn’t have to be disorganised and chaotic, for example!)


What do you consider to be your most popular product?

My newest art book has been quite popular. It’s titled ‘Wanderlust: Scottish Scenes’ and collects all 16 of my recent Scottish landscape paintings. It is A4 size, but the images open to A3 poster size on double-page spreads. It has been a popular gift item.


What piece are you the proudest of?

I am quite proud of my ‘Forth Bridge’ piece; it took a long time to draw the structure and find the right angle to draw from. I wanted the piece to have a lot of depth and for the scale of the bridge to come across.

Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?

I used to be rather shy when sharing my work but decided to put myself out there more during lockdown. I expanded my online portfolio, designed new products to sell and promoted my work on social platforms like Reddit. Reddit was very kind to me; I got thousands of upvotes (sometimes 2k per post) and many positive comments. It was really encouraging.


"I frequently visited the SDX shop when it was still in Ocean Terminal – I have always admired the variety of products and talent on display."


What have you found to be the most challenging aspect to your business since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?

I was beginning to feel quite isolated. I work from my home art studio, so a lot of my socialising comes from art fairs, comic conventions, life drawing classes and frequent trips to art museums and galleries – all of which had to be put on hold during the pandemic. It also meant that I had to work on my online presence more so that my work would be ‘seen’.


How have you spent your time during lockdowns?

Some baking, frequent outdoor walks, yoga, video gaming and painting. Artistically, I started painting landscapes instead of portraits – It made me feel like I could travel through my art despite being stuck in my four walls.


Have you discovered any new hobbies or passions in the last year?

In the last year I have been on more nature walks and explored new parks in Edinburgh. I started doing yoga and various online fitness classes. I also discovered a passion for crime and psychology podcasts.

How do you think shopping and retail may change after the pandemic ends?

There will be an increase in online shopping. I’ve seen a lot of brands expand their online catalogues and websites during this time. Nevertheless, I think people will return to shops more and more as restrictions ease up. Online shopping is convenient, but it is hard to replace the window shopping and tactile browsing in real life. It is also more fun to stumble upon / discover new things in person!


How did SDX being closed affect your business?

I am a newcomer, so I joined the SDX after the re-opening. That said, I missed visiting the SDX (and other art shops) in general during the pandemic.


What do you hope to gain from working with SDX going forward?

I hope that my work reaches a new audience. It is also an honour to be among so many other local creatives in such a beautiful space. I look forward to expanding my network and meeting fellow artists via the SDX.


"Online shopping is convenient, but it is hard to replace window shopping and tactile browsing in real life"


If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists/designers who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?


Make work you enjoy making! Sometimes the most fun personal pieces can lead to paid opportunities down the line. Enjoy and practice your craft. In addition: don’t neglect the business side. Try to keep on top of admin, shop stock, taxes and keep promoting your work online and at in-person events where possible.


Tell us your favourite inspirational quote!


‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination’

– Henry David Thoreau


Thank you to Sara for participating in our blog! You can now find a selection of her incredible work now in our online shop!

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