After having kids, White Rock artist Darrah Gooden began rediscovering her own childhood.
As the daughter of an elementary school art teacher, Gooden grew up in a house that was always brimming over with art and craft supplies.
“Art is something that has just always been a part of me,” she says.
As a teen she headed to Baylor University in Waco where she majored in painting. While in college, she told people she planned to be a children’s book illustrator when she graduated “because I didn’t know what else to say,” she says, “but I ended up somewhat randomly getting into making portraits of people and doing other custom work.”
That stuck for several years. Then inspiration struck when her son was born and she needed art for his room.
“The market for finding fun kid stuff, it was hard to find stuff that I liked,” she explains. “It was usually more for babies, which is fine, but it wasn’t what I wanted.”
So she decided to create exactly what she wanted and fashioned tissue paper into colorful animals with bold, boxy features. She wondered if other people had the same trouble finding interesting kid art as she did and went to work making more collages. A year later she opened her Etsy page, Tiny Fawn.
Breaking away from portraiture, most of her creations are animals or inanimate objects. The layering effect creates an ethereal quality, that makes the designs look more like watercolor paintings. Bold shapes and colors define her distinct style, which has become a kind-of game to Gooden.
“[Shape and color] is central to the art and a challenge that, to me, is the best part of working in this style,” she says. “The process is all about solving how to layer sheer cut tissue paper shapes on top of one another to create new shapes and colors, until they eventually morph into animals or other objects.”
Now a mother of two, Gooden says she is constantly inspired by the illustrations she sees in her children’s books and toys.
Although she hasn’t created any children’s book illustrations (yet, she says she’d still like to someday), her work has been featured in popular children’s stores such as West Elm and Land of Nod, among other places.
View her work at etsy.com/shop/TinyFawn
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