UNVEILING THE 2024 GUTSY GIRLS MERCH DESIGN WITH SARAH PENDERGRASS

Sarah Pendergrass

The brand new Gutsy Girls 2024 is here to fuel your fire for adventure!

You may remember Sarah from Gutsy Girls 2023 when she ran 675km through Scotland and was the grant recipient that year? In addition to being a runner, bikepacker and podcaster she’s also a talented artist (woman of many talents). When we discovered this, we knew that Sarah would be the perfect person to create the 2024 Gutsy Girls Tshirt and Neck Gaiter design – and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

In this artist spotlight Sarah shares her creative process, takes us through her inspiration, which blends a love for outdoor adventure with a touch of Aussie wildlife charm. From sketching out adventure gear to sneaking in a cheeky platypus, her design process was as adventurous as the sports it represents.

The artwork:

The Interview:

  1. Can you tell us about your inspiration behind the design for the 2024 Gutsy Girls Adventure film tour merchandise? How did you capture the spirit of outdoor adventure sports in your artwork?

Of course – as a long time fan of the film festival, and the lucky recipient of the grant last year,  I was stoked to be invited to design the 2024 Gutsy Girls merchandise. The idea was based on a brief from Jemima (festival founder), to pull together a flat lay style of different bits and pieces of adventure gear. 

I thought about the adventures reflected in previous films shown at Gutsy Girls, and pulled together a list of items I thought could be fun to draw. I also wanted to pull through an element of wildlife and nature, since this is such a gift of spending time outdoors too. So, I included the cheeky little platypus, to pull through some incredible Aussie wildlife, along with the native flowers – banksia and billy buttons – woven throughout the design. 

  1. Have you always been passionate about adventure sports and outdoor activities?

I’ve always loved spending time outdoors, and this has varied over the course of my life from hiking and camping in Scottish National Parks, surfing in the snow in the north of Scotland, to ocean swimming around Sydney, and trail running, mountain biking and bikepacking all over! 

Sarah's adventures inspire her artwork
Sarah’s adventures inspire her artwork
  1. Could you walk us through your creative process when working on this design? How did you translate the essence of adventure into visual elements?

I had a long list of possible adventure items I could include so it really was a process of sketching them up, and then seeing how all of the elements best interacted with each other within the space available. There are lots of little icons that didn’t make the cut, and I’m happy with those that did! I wanted to represent a variety of adventure, all while weaving in nature throughout. 

  1. What message or feeling do you hope viewers will take away from your design for the Gutsy Girls Adventure film tour?

I hope everyone can relate to at least one element of the design, since it covers such a wide range of adventures – and also a reminder of the way nature weaves its way so beautifully into our time outdoors.

The Brand New Gutsy Girls 2024 T-Shirt

  1. Are there any personal experiences or adventures that influenced your artistic style or approach to this project?

I took an illustration course last year with a well known US illustrator, Mike Lowery. One of the assignments on the course was to develop a suite of hand drawn icons. They could be anything, so long as they followed a theme. I picked adventure – and my interest in this icon style of illustrating, and working with only one or two colours, has grown from there. It was fun to apply it to this project – with Jemima of course choosing the iconic Gutsy Girls red as the main accent colour. 

Amidst the process
  1. Can you share any interesting anecdotes or stories from the creation of the design? Were there any memorable moments or breakthroughs?

Although I’ve participated in so many different types of adventure, I’m always aware that there’s more out there and I don’t do it all. Jemima suggested a “quickdraw” in a list of possible inclusions and I had to Google it. I had no idea what a quickdraw was! I’m also frustratingly scared of heights and am not a climber but I did end up drawing a carabiner, ice axe and a climbing helmet however – so climbers definitely weren’t missed out. 

I’d also recently read Sophie Matterson’s book “The Crossing” about her incredible journey walking across Australia with camels, so I did at one point include a camel in the design. But, later decided to switch it out for the little platypus instead! 

  1. How do you see your artwork contributing to the overall mission and goals of the Gutsy Girls Adventure film tour?

I hope people love the design and wear the merch with pride and great memories of the inspiring films they’ve watched!

The Brand New Gutsy Girls 2024 Neck Gaiter

  1. Beyond this project, do you have any other favourite themes or subjects you enjoy exploring in your artwork?

I do love drawing annotated gear reviews of kit I’ve owned and used – which largely covers bikes, trail running and the associated gear! Completely away from the iPad or sketchbook, I’ve also recently been dabbling in some sand art – using a leaf rake in the early hours of the morning on low tide, to draw large designs into the beach. I love the totally temporary nature of this and the way it’s so mindful and requires nothing but you, a rake and all natural elements beyond that. I live just minutes from the beach on the Sunny Coast, and the ocean is a pretty wonderful soundtrack for creation. 

A selection of artworks by Sarah Pendergrass
A selection of annotated gear reviews by Sarah Pendergrass

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are interested in creating designs for adventure-related themes or merchandise?

I’d say, if possible, to get a good brief if you’re delivering this for someone else, and to work on projects that feel true to you – your interests and your style. This was really fun to work on as I had a strong vision in mind off the back of the brief, and I love illustrating in this way. Fun always brings flow, and flow is fun!

'Sand Art' by Sarah Pendergrass
‘Sand Art’ by Sarah Pendergrass

Buy your tickets and merch for Gutsy Girls 2024 NOW and don’t miss out!

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