Sarah Grace is an artist.  In every sense of the word. Specialising in fine detailed motorcycle drawings, the level of detail she attains within her illustrations means you'll find something new each time you stare at one of her drawings.

<div>The process of creating her art is painstaking.  This is evident to see when you look through her portfolio, what you can't see within the ink thats placed on the paper is the journey that has brought the 26 year old to this point in her career.  I wanted to discover that journey, to find out who is Sarah Grace, so the next time you stare at one of her drawings you'll see even more.

<div>Born on the 13th December 1991 growing up in Heald Green, Stockport , an only child, her father an Aviation Engineer and her Mother a Cook.  Sarah had strong loving relationship with her parents, with them nurturing her artistic side always knowing she would follow a creative path.  This stability wasn't extended to her time at school, going to a small primary school, being 1 of 5 girls in her class Sarah was frequently bullied by the other 4. This experience had an underlying impact on her formative years and continued when Sarah moved through to a Manchester based secondary school.</div>
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<div>As is often the case, the exact reason for being bullied is unknown to her, however Sarah singles out the way she looked as the focus of the bullies attention.</div>
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<div><strong>"From that experience I got really bad anxiety, constant anxiety, I still suffer from that today.  I get told I come across as quite confident, bordering on arrogance, but thats not me at all, its more of a front I guess, more of a safety mechanism, but when you get to know me, past a certain, point I am a very different person"</strong></div>
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<div>Thankfully the bullying stopped when the family made the 250 mile move from Manchester to Chichester at the age of 13.  Being closer to extended family, Sarah settled down to her new life in West Sussex, with new relationships forming Sarah felt she still carried a guarded persona, something that has continued into her adult years.</div>
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<div>Sarah left school with 5 GCSEs, going straight to college to study Fine Art and Design. In the last year of her course Sarah got Glandular Fever, causing her to have to leave college early. After a period working in various retail jobs Sarah returned to Art studies doing a Foundation Diploma with The University of Arts London. The plan was to move to University, however together with the sky high fees and the lack of drive to study a specific piece for a specific reason the decision was made not to go through that process, wanting to focus her attention on creating what she wanted when she wanted.  This may be indicative of Sarah wanting to obtain control over what she wants to do.</div>
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<div><span>I ask if she feels the events of her early childhood have had any bearing on why her artwork today has developed itself into a very intricate, insular activity, that requires long periods of time spent focusing on the minutest of detail.</span></div>
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<div><strong>"Yeah that has had a bearing on my work, I think the darker element to my work comes from a number of relationship experiences, that were destructive relationships, but have allowed me to move on from them, learn from them and become a far better person, realising my self worth and surrounding myself with people who are far calmer, and have a positive influence on my life"</strong><br /><span></span></div>
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<div><strong>"It always feels good to move away from negative aspects of your life that have no bearing on your future"</strong><br /><strong></strong></div>
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<div><span>I sense that it is this part of Sarah's life that has given her the drive and determination to succeed in what she does, and the natural talent she has for drawing motorcycles is a cathartic process that affords her the freedom from the darker, negative aspects she has recently experienced, and not focusing on those when putting pen to paper. Motorcycles have always been a platform for escape, to give you a sense of freedom, whether you are drawing them or riding them. </span></div>
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<div><span>We move on to discuss The Darkest Line, which is a company Sarah set up in June 2017 and focuses on her love of drawing motorcycles, the origin of which was found by chance whilst working at the Coln Gallery in </span>Chichester.  After drawing a number of different cards for the gallery Sarah drew her first motorcycle, a Harley Davidson.</div>
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<div><strong>"I thought it was pretty shit, but it sold the best out of all my cards, so I thought, lets see where this goes, I like this, I'm good at this"</strong></div>
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An Early Sarah Grace Motorcycle Drawing
Sarah explains the process she used in this early drawing of a Harley.
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"I used a cream drawing paper for this, on a much smaller scale than I would use now,  I wasn’t thinking it would be made into a future card design, it was mostly just for myself to put into a drawer and forget about!"
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Using a dip pen and Indian ink instead of the fine liner pens she uses today, Sarah found she was able to get a great deal of detail using this method, the downside being the ink is more likely to smudge and create blobs if you use too much ink. 
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"It takes a long time to perfect the ink to pen ratio, and it also takes a lot longer to dry"
"Looking at it today, I didn’t use the templates to perfect the wheels or create as much detail and depth to the engine parts that I would now. It’s not as mechanically perfected but it definitely has some character to it. The paper does create a really nice vintage feel, it’s slightly damaged, not cut to perfection and textured."
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Going back to this method of drawing is something that interests Sarah. Having  now developed new techniques such as the use of templates for the wheels and using fine liner pens she feels this creates far more depth overall, but looks back and really sees the character that is within that first drawing.
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"My work today is definitely more clean cut and more taken care of, I don’t know if that’s because I’m now drawing for clients other than just for myself, or wether my style has changed through time and knowing what works for me"
"But more to the point as I look back on this drawing, who would’ve thought I would be drawing motorcycles full time just from a random experimental idea I had one day! Kind of crazy". 
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Before Motorcycles: Early drawings from Sarah Grace 
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" I think with drawing motorcycles, I've found my niche, its the first time I've not grown bored of the medium, which is not something I've experienced before, Ive always been a bit lost with my art I guess, like, what am I doing with it?" 
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The reaction to what Sarah creates has been positive from day one, commissions from all around the world started to come in.
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"I love seeing where my works goes, its a continuation of the bikes personality and the owners relationship with that bike, thats what I try and capture in my work" 
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Its the process Sarah uses when approaching a commissioned piece I find fascinating.  Photographs are sent through, with a description of what the client would like to see from the commission, that isn't the surprising part, its the taking those photos and creating a scaled image of the bike, picking up the right angle and creating the vision in her mind to replicate the various surface structures, finishes, and the way the light hits the bike picking out the reflections down to the fine detail of the engine.
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"I'm very mechanical with my approach.  I measure the shit out of the bike, so its precise, in the right proportions to a certain extent.  I use a scale rule, and it takes me ages.  I don't think people understand the work that goes into it."
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From pencil.
To pen.
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Its this level of detail that Sarah is becoming known for, as well as the commissions, several companies have approached and used her work. This has made Sarah cautious of who she chooses to work with on future projects.  And its that future that remains undefined. The Darkest Line has so much potential in various areas of the industry but as yet a clear, defined plan for the business has yet to be formed.
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"Looking at 2018 I haven't formed a plan of what I want to achieve.  Thats not how I function.  I'm not very good at that, it may be the lack of confidence, what if it goes wrong, doesn't go to plan, what if people don't like it"
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It was this potential I was attracted to when I first approached Sarah and asked if she would be interested in working with Clique Customs.  I didnt want to put a piece of motorcycle art onto a T shirt, instead I wanted to use her detailed, distinctive style to create a piece that had motorcycles at its core.  Cue deconstructed motorcycle parts contained within the wings of a Death Moth. What turned out to be the eye catching design that is The Grace T Shirt is a commentary on how the motorcycle and the culture that surrounds it, is so en vogue right now, being used by big companies to sell unrelated products, and how people flock to the next big thing when the band wagon drives by.  Sarah captured the concept perfectly, taking the brief and the numerous references I sent to her and created exactly what I had envisaged.
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What I thought was going to take her out of her comfort zone in fact proved how diverse Sarah is and looking back at her portfolio before The Darkest Line was created its clear that its her distinctive style, the use of the pen she chooses, and the way she approaches each piece of artwork that sets her apart, and its simply her choice to focus on the motorcycle as her medium. 
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The Grace 
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Having met Sarah and gained a greater understanding of her character, and the trials and tribulations she has been through, it doesn't surprise me she harbours a lack of confidence, but from what I can see that confidence is building, each piece she completes, each new challenge she takes on is another step toward the person she knows she can be and a further step away from the negative influences of previous experiences that she had let control her.  The Darkest Line is more than a company to Sarah. It's the exceptance of new challenges, and the ideas that Sarah has to progress her artwork by moving into new and different directions that show an underlying confidence is there.
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Sarah will be displaying her artwork at Motorcycle Social in July in which she will create artwork for a given theme, being custom bikes built by her chosen builders.  Adding the element of the written word to tell the story of the bike, its clear that Sarah is moving into new ground, pushing the boundaries of her artwork and skill set and it won't be long until she realises that a plan has most definitely began to take The Darkest Line to a new level.
 To find out more about The Darkest Line or to commission a piece from Sarah click here.
Instagram Profile: @sgraceee
To view The Grace T Shirt click here.