Portfolio of Sarah Jade Aubé

Plastic Arts

The constellation Aries The constellation of Aries represents the flying golden ram the cloud-nymph Nephele sent to rescue her children. After being sacrificed to the gods, the ram’s beautiful fleece became the object of Jason and the Argonauts’ famous voyage.

Some of the projects here are akin to the glimmering fleece: made to be lovely to look at. While others are more like the ram of myth, taking me from a place of unease to surer ground by developing my skills on my journey towards maturity in my profession. While painting, sewing and other analog art may not immediately seem relevant to digital design, you’d be surprised by how many little tricks you can pick up along the way.

A fairy done on scratch paper.

Using special paper, I scratched away a top layer of black to reveal colour underneath. The goal was to create an image that would make the page as colourful as possible.

I found this project helpful to learn how to create different effects without any use of graytones – a useful skill when creating icons. I played with different black lines to create patterns and make elements fade or stand out more.

A dancing couple done in watercolours.

Every year I took art classes, we would refresh the basics of how to draw human proportions. In my final year we were given the freedom of using whichever medium we wanted for the project, and I thought it would be a fun challenge to try using a monochrome watercolour palette. Painting in black and white was an interesting exercise – figuring out where lines worked better than gradients and vice versa – and one that has helped me better understand how to maintain good contrasts with limited colour in my design work today.

I referenced a photograph to make sure the perspective on their hands and arms was correct. I was also very happy with the details in the woman’s hair, and particularly her face – it was the first time I was able to draw someone with a real, lifelike spark.

White ink applied with a quill to black paper.

The snowflake designs were created by folding paper and making cutouts, just like children do.

It was very interesting to experiment with the two sizes of dots at the center to create a fade effect exclusively with black and white – no grays. In digital work, I’ve sometimes found this kind of monochrome pattern to be a smart alternative when gradients can’t be used.

A silver phoenix hand-stitched into the back of a costume jacket for Miho from Sin City.

Watching the film, I noticed a phoenix design on her back that was commonly seen on Chinese silk. I tracked down a fabric sample, scanned it and traced a simplified version of it that would work in a single colour and be quicker to reproduce. I printed it out, pinned it to the jacket and stitched through the paper and fabric at the same time. I carefully pulled the paper out of the stitches when I was done.

I was so happy with the result that I made a hair accessory to match. And this personal project turned out to be good practice for finding ways to adapt complex designs to smaller mediums in my regular design work.

A wild feline cub (based on a photo) drawn in dry pastels for an art class.

This is not a medium I enjoy working in, as it’s very messy (I even added a rushed background whose only purpose is to hide accidental fingerprints!) and feels unpleasantly dusty on your hands. However, I followed my teacher’s suggestion – much like how I would trust my colleagues’ different scope of experience today – and I can’t argue with the end result! I love how it almost looks like you can pet the fur on this little one’s back or tail.

A cardboard recreation of Disney’s Cinderella castle, painted in watercolours and gold ink.

This was a team effort with my friend Caroline Lehoux – we spent weeks cutting, rolling, folding and assembling all of the pieces for it. We used a 3D refrigerator magnet as a sort of template to get the correct scale and make sure we didn’t forget any of the numerous towers.

Being able to adapt and simplify is an important part of being an efficient designer. Recreating this complex of a structure with a similar amount of detail would be impossible in our timeline, so it was all about capturing its essence with as few pieces as possible.

Picture frames painted with patterns of my own design.

There have been a few occasions when I’ve wanted to give framed photographs as gifts, but my local shops only had rather dull frames. I decided to take matters into my own hands by sketching out a rough pattern on paper and recreating it with acrylic paint on the available frame. These suddenly made for much more special gifts!

While I don’t always have the time for it in my digital work, I enjoy being able to draw my own patterns and illustrations when I can. It allows me to create something that’s usually symbolically better suited to the project and unique, like I did for a charity event program and my wedding.

Click to expand details on a project:

Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project Click to find out more about this project