Sarah Esteje: Illustrations



Pen illustrator, Sarah Esteje’s drawings are hugely based on animals and human figures, communicating their beauty and realism taking the creatures out of their natural habitat and enforcing them onto her audience in a more graphic, modernised style. Seen as being “ hyper-realistic erotic portraits ” these illustrations clearly communicates a sensual style to the animals however as a viewer I do not feel this emotion from her work. I find the illustrations feminine and soft as the marking used refrain from enforcing a harsh, masculine feel toward the audience. These oversized works from Esteje, created using ball point pens, can be argued to be an overpowering tone of blue due to the materials used. Many would find this approach severely cold. Blue tones are often linked to sadness and depression, cool, winter scenes however contrasted with the pure, white, crisp background the colours appreciate one another to almost makes the audience believe that the animal is not from this world, it almost produces a fantasy style of scene. I find this style of work highly appealing as the unique and original  approach has not been used by many artists or designers prior to Esteje, it captured my attention because of the originality. As the audience would see this work at an extremely large scale they would automatically be manipulated into wanting to view more as the size and contrast of colour alongside the process would be a new sight for the audience to see.

Communicating with he audience solely through illustrations, I believe that this artist refrains from using type within her work as the drawings communicate with the audience alone. Using only imagery the artist is able to allow the audience to have their own interpretation of the scene. If this style of work were being used in an advertising purpose then type would be an extremely helpful element to use. However, I like how Esteje allows the simplistic amount of elements used to communicate her work with her intended audience, clearly an older age range, rather than overpowering the scene with more than one communicative feature. 

The only criticism I have with this designer is the purpose for the work. Viewing this set, I find the purpose of their creations is simply to appeal to the audience and create a nice illustration that they may appreciate through the craft and skill that has been used however if this style were to be used for an advertising piece then simply photography and  editorial work would be less time consuming, less cost effective and overall more realistic and appealing to their intended audience. 


In reference to the craft used in this designers work, I find that other illustrations gain a more realistic image from their craft, despite this illustrator using a different material approach, I find some of her illustration slightly “warped”, this would most definitely prove unappealing to the audience and may be a miscommunication between the purpose, concept and message to the audience.

Sarah Esteje’s work leaves her audience in awe as they are often left trying to “peel our eyes away”. These illustrations are “astonishingly detailed, capturing the distinctive personality of her subjects” however what makes them more appealing and successful from other hyper-realist illustrators? Clearly the distinctive blue tones used through the unique style of material used! I love the blue tones that this designer creates, despite being a very masculine colours Sarah Esteje is able to keep a feminine, very soft scene.”Drawing from a photograph” Sarah Esteje uses blue ball point pens as the colour is “specific” to the item, colours are often used to stereotypically linked to an object such as orange and black marking to a tiger, however Esteje allows her animals to take on a new colour, a new personality, she is giving the animals in her work a new life and allowing her audience to give their interpretation without being forced into a specific design. 

Portraiture is what I like the most, whether in drawing or photography. For my animal portraits, I really chose pictures in which they looked human, and in some of my human portraits, I love how brutish they can look.”

Sarah Esteje aims to connect her animals with the humans she gains her inspiration from. Using her animals in a human like pose, I find it appealing how she refrains from making this clear to the audience, it’s more like she is playing a game on them, discretely blending the two together! Choosing to use animals within her work Sarah Esteje believes that “Animals represent our imaginary world, childhood, tales, every kid wants to have one”. It is clear to see her work as being a “fairytale” style of design and approach, I love how she refrains from using stereotypical styles of fairytale such as princesses and magical creatures, she is portraying her sense of imaginative design. I believe that these designs communicate an almost low key, un-stereotypical approach to her fairytale theme and it has proved a lot more appealing and effective than stereotypical fantasy lands and magical kingdoms. 


Esteje has been known to create “wondrous work, full of detail and exquisite technique can turn a simple ink pen into a magic wand”. I find this statement highly correct! Overall this designer’s style and unique approach highly communicates a space between reality and fantasy with the audience. When viewing this work I forget the reality that I am in now and almost produce an imaginative world where these animals could be found, I interpret her work from what the designer is allowing us as viewers to see into what I seem to understand. Having gained an impressive reaction from her audience, this clearly highlights how successful her style and talent has been perceived. 


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