Rebecca Sorge is a storyteller and illustrator with a new book out called Full of Empty. She studied illustration at BYU and currently works as a free-lance illustrator. Sorge lives in Utah.
Tell us about your evolution as an artist. My work has always been about telling stories; even way back when me and my siblings were drawing little monsters and making up the worlds they lived in. Studying in the BFA program at BYU taught me a whole bunch of new skills to help tell those stories more effectively and interestingly. Since graduating and working as a freelance artist, I’ve seen that the learning process really doesn’t end. I’m grateful for opportunities to keep learning from other artists and applying new ideas and technical skills to new projects. Trying to get the work I’m making now to match what I see in my mind has really spurred a lot of improvement over the last few years. I still feel like I have a lot to learn as an artist and am excited to keep pushing forward.
You once wrote, “Making the jump from being a student to a professional was both terrifying and exciting.” What do you wish you would have known when you graduated? Great question! I feel like I wish I’d known more about the business side of things – how to promote myself, how to negotiate, and how to establish expectations when working with clients. So much of making it as a freelancer is being able to communicate well. As a freelance artist you want to balance being easy to work with, exceeding clients expectations, and being compensated fairly for your work. Since graduating I’ve learned the importance of managing the business side of things so that the fun part stays fun and sustainable. I love creating work and illustrating for a living and am so excited to be able to do this full time.
At one point you were an English major and your work has such a narrative quality. How do you approach new projects? It really depends on the project, but one thing I like to do for all of them is think about how the artwork can not only help tell the story but add something to it. Ideally an illustration will work on multiple levels and give the source material greater depth. Good literature has purpose behind every word and good narrative illustration should have purpose in each aspect as well. It’s also fun to try and leave ‘Easter eggs’ for people who take the time to really look at the piece – little mini stories happening within the larger ones.
What’s next for you? More illustrating! Right now I’m working on some children’s books that will be coming out this fall – The Everything Princess Book and a Christmas story called Spider’s Gift. I’m also looking forward to a little extra time for personal projects. I’ve got some ideas I’d like to play with!