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Grace Invader Bright and beautiful creations

Sheffield artist who took the Bears of Sheffield by storm shares her thoughts on creativity, the joy of bouncing from one medium to the next, and bringing her ideas to life.

Grace Goodwin, aka Grace Invader, made a big splash this year when her beautiful Astro (aka Nebula) bear raised £20,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital at the Bears of Sheffield auction. Keen to know more about this upcoming artist, I sat down with Grace to talk about her craft.

First things first, can you tell us a bit about yourself, what you love most about art and what you enjoy creating?

Currently I work as a graphic designer for Twinkl, designing educational resources for children to use in schools. I’ve always loved art and illustration, and it’s been a constant for me throughout my life from as early as me being able to use a pencil.

I love being able to create visions and ideas from my head. There is nothing more rewarding than capturing that perfect image from your imagination and bringing it to life from a thought to a fully finished piece.

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The beautiful bear you painted for the Bears of Sheffield recently sold at auction for £20,000, money which will go to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. How did you approach the design process for Astro?

Being completely honest, I submitted two designs for the Bears of Sheffield. My first one, which was based on a landscape of ice, land and under the sea, I spent hours on, making sure all the wildlife looked perfect and the coral and undersea details were finished. But the night before the application closing date, I decided to do one more submission. I’ve always loved galaxies and stars, with layers and layers of twinkling lights against misty, vibrant pops of colour. I spent some time whipping up an array of colours and stars, layering them over and over. The more dense the scene, the better.

I couldn’t believe one of my designs had been picked, especially the one I’d created just in the nick of time, and I cannot be thankful or grateful enough to the whole Bears of Sheffield team, Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity and my sponsor Sheffield Property Association for making it happen.

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Your Instagram feed shows you diving into a variety of artistic mediums, from illustration and painting to jewellery making and resin work. What projects have you got on the go at the moment and how do you decide what to work on next?

I’m a little bit impulsive when it comes to ideas. I tend to very much go with inspiration of the moment or phase, as that’s when I’ve got the most drive and passion - and creative ideas - to make that particular project happen. When it’s fresh in my mind I find it’s always best to strike while the iron’s hot.

There’s no medium I won’t, or wouldn’t, want to try. I love the idea of being able to make things from all kinds of materials, from 3D projects with clay and resin to drawing, painting and the world of digital art.

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There are undoubtedly threads that run between your pieces. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating new work?

It’s all about creating a moment or a scene in my own style, really. Like putting the world through my own little filter. Anything from a pattern, an outfit, texture or even a conversation that happened in the day. I can just see something sometimes and say, ‘I want to make that into a drawing.’

I love creating things that are saturated in colour or pattern and exaggerated from the real world so they almost look fresh out of a cartoon. The more colour, shape and texture I can pack in, the better. But it’s all about creating a scene that is as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and plenty for the eye to absorb.

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What’s on the horizon for you in the coming months?

Funnily enough I’ve got some more bear-related content in the works for a small company. It’s been really nice to create a whole new character and sketch him out. I’ve also been focusing on strengthening my illustration portfolio and even trying to master more life drawing and pet portraiture.

Through working on a lot of clay and resin projects, I’m really enjoying getting pencil back to paper and letting my imagination run wild on the page. Hopefully I can make my mark somewhere else within Sheffield in the near future.

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