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Sparks - Sources of Inspiration

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Bird Brains
Andrea Sparacio
Illustration '99

For me, it's definitely animals. I draw people too, but I love putting animal heads on them. Iím a graphic designer by day, as well as a freelance illustrator, and Iím always finding ways to sneak animals into my work. I recently illustrated an article for Vogue Patterns Magazine about recycling old dresses, and I drew squirrels, raccoons, and mice rescuing a discarded outfit from the trash. More specifically, though, itís all about birds. I donít have too much interaction with real birds; I live in Brooklyn, so I mostly just see pigeons. But I love looking at woodcuts and photographs of birds in vintage books. The aesthetics of their silhouette, colors, and feathers really inspire me. Birds have gotten a little trendyóyou see them all over now. But to me they arenít just cute; they can have a slightly sinister look in their eye. When I was younger, I was into fairies and butterflies, so I guess Iíve always been drawn to some kind of winged creature, to the idea of escaping your caged reality, with the freedom to fly wherever youíd like. Birds are my own personal superheroes, just without the cape and tights.

Sparacio recently illustrated Steven C. Schlozmanís novel, Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse (Grand Central Publishing, 2011). ďAdmittedly, I wasnít a zombie enthusiast,Ē she says. To create the drawings, ďI ended up looking at disgusting things like animal guts and pictures of human dissections. I had to reach into a dark place for these drawings to work. It gave me a whole new respect for the horror genre.Ē (

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