My name is Sue Clancy and I paint and write to cheer people up, myself included. I live in cool, rainy Washington state, in the Pacific Northwestern United States, where I often cook a comforting Irish Stew. I also like to read books and drink hot coffee.
As long as I can remember I’ve loved to draw. I began a small illustration business as a high school student for extra pocket money. I put myself through art school at the University of Oklahoma by working as a graphic designer. After college I worked as a graphic designer and as a biological illustrator. I also had a short career as a costume designer. Then in the late 1990’s I began working for myself as a full-time artist. Drawing daily has been my life.
Even now most days start with my sketchbook, breakfast and of course, coffee. I sketch in a 5 x 3 inch sketchbook made by Royal Talens using waterproof ink pens made by Micron, Zebra and Tombow. Over the ink drawing I use a Pentel water brush and M. Graham and Holbein gouache colors. My sketchbook is usually held on my knee with my box of pens and palette of colors beside my breakfast and coffee cup. My box of pens and palette stay in my breakfast nook so they’re always near to hand.
Whenever I read novels or other kinds of material, I’ll hand letter a short phrase that I thought of, or a quote I read, into my sketchbook. Then in the mornings I’ll “free associate” – in that just-woke-up-half-asleep state and come up with a character and actions that may or may not relate to the quote on the page. The words serve as a starting point for my loose breakfast sketch.
My daily sketching informs the rest of my creative life; my published artist books, my illustrations, my writing and my fine art. After breakfast, I go to my studio, another room in my house, where I have an easel made by David Sorg, and drawers full of papers, boards and other art supplies. In my studio I’ll flesh out some idea I’d had during my morning sketch sessions. I’ll work on several different ideas at a time, moving from one to another as I need to wait for paint to dry, or for a thought to “ripen”.
To give you an example: in my sketchbooks I’d doodled a poem and some animal characters. Later, I began to redraw the animal characters on 8 ply board that I get from my local art gallery frame shop. Over about 9 weeks each weekday I’d illustrate a line in my poem with one animal character that I painted in ink and gouache on board. The work I did on board is much more carefully done than the work in my sketchbooks. As I finished each painting I posted the pet portrait to my Instagram page.
Bit by bit, I created an artist book I titled “Alphapets” by Clancy. This book is now available via Blurb and it is available for free via a children’s book publisher I work with called Storyberries.com. You can see Alphapets by Clancy on Storyberries here, and find other artist books I’ve made for children by doing a search for my name.
I use the term “artist book” to mean a book conceived as an art object. It reveals a story over time and space using a combination of content and art technique in ways that directly involve the viewers participation. Artist books, in my mind, are the ultimate mixed media; combining various artistic methods such as drawing, painting, creative writing and then moving on to digital media, layout, design or even gluing and binding. Artist books are well suited to telling a story, sharing an idea, visually and intimately. I find waterproof ink and gouache excellent media for this process.
In my morning sketchbooks, I’d been working out how to adapt to living in a pandemic; adapting for example the process of finding novels and other books to read while staying at home. Thinking of how to select the next book to read, and so on. Reading books was a running theme in my sketchbook and it carried over into my studio work as a topic of my fine art.
Living in a pandemic has also meant cooking, eating and drinking at home – so that became a topic in my sketchbook and also in my fine art.
All of the fine artwork I’ve produced lately has been about books and food and drink. These are ways we practice coping and good mental health during a pandemic. Reviewing these techniques in my fine art helps me to remember them and it enables me to share with other people.
My main motivation for making art is to stimulate a laugh or at least a smile. So, it suits my sense of fun to, alongside my fine art in a gallery exhibit, include reproductions of my sketchbooks that inspired the fine art.
This year I’m doing three fine art exhibits occurring at the same time period spanning 2 states: at the Aurora Gallery at Burnt Bridge Cellars and at Caplan Art Designs. I’ve titled all of the artwork for all three exhibits “Readings From The Heart” and produced these artist books to go alongside the exhibits in a way that they can be mailed directly to someone in a safe manner.
I hope this has amused you. For more information about my artwork, to watch a project unfold on my blog or for access to all of my artist books please visit the links below!Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in