Getting to know: New Zealand based Artist Sarah McAlpine

Sarah McAlpine has been creating art since the age of 4, her first portrait was that of the family's dog Winston, an ECE Teacher for 20 years and facilitator for Space NZ (supporting first-time Mums) for the past three years. Sarah has been running her small art business since 2017.

Like many young artists, Sarah loved to doodle every day, entered lots of art competitions and dreamt of selling her art in the future.

Today, she creates bright and colourful pictures aimed at the young and young at heart. As well as being a mum of three, Sarah enjoys a nice latte, long walks, op shopping and, if time allows, home organisation/decorating.

doodlewear collaboration artist Sarah was kind enough to answer a few questions about her life and art when we got up with her recently.


New Zealand based doodlewear collaboration Artist Sarah McAlpine

What is your background?

I am originally from the UK and qualified as an Early Childhood Teacher at 18. I worked as a Nanny/Mother’s Help before emigrating to New Zealand and working in ECE centres. My creative side was placed on hold while I worked and had my own children, but was reignited by a chance friendship with an artist who ran an art therapy group in an indigenous community in Australia where I was running a childcare centre.

Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes! I actually wanted to be a fashion designer, but I have no talent for sewing. My mum was concerned that I would not find a job if I pursued my art career, so suggested child care instead (I actually really love children and working with them too).

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I never had a passionate career plan, apart from a designer, I wanted to be a farmer, nurse and vet nurse. Being an architect also appealed to me!

New Zealand based Artist Sarah McAlpine unicorn art print

What are you known for?

When I first started back drawing and running a Facebook page, I was known for my “unicorns.”

How do you get ideas for each piece of art?

Colours! I love colours. I always want to create fun, bright pieces and get bored quite easily with mundane shades!  I try to relate my colours to what may look good painted with them. I love outlining too, I can’t help it!, so would never make a good portrait painter.

How has everyday life impacted your art?

I have always been into creating pieces quickly. I am amazed by the patience and stamina of artists that spend weeks, months or even longer on their work and the amazing detail they can create. If I produce a piece that is not finished in a short timeframe, I will start something else instead of re-visiting the same piece. Being a busy mum and working outside the home creative time is limited so this “quick drawing style” has helped. I am also intentional in creating pieces that I want to draw and being able to enjoy the process at the same time. Drawing is a wonderful outlet for our busy lives and active minds!

Some Bunny Loves You SARAH MCALPINE ART print

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without?

It used to be a good sharp pencil! Now it’s my iPad and iPad pencil!

What is your favourite subject matter to draw, and why?

Unicorns and dinosaurs! Magical, appealing, endless possibilities and colours.  


floral raptor art print kids t shirt by New Zealand based Artist Sarah McAlpineFloral Raptor kids t shirt by Sarah McAlpine Art 

What’s your favourite colour, and why?

Blue. Because I love the bright blue sky and beautiful blue sea, it reminds me of Summer.

If you were a colour, what colour would you be and why?

Blue, because it’s my favourite colour, but also because I love all shades of blue.


New Zealand based Artist Sarah McAlpine Mrs Bunny art print baby onesieMrs Bunny Onesies by Sarah McAlpine Art


Any advice for someone wanting to make art their full-time job?

Do-it. Don’t let anyone hold you back or put you off, don’t make it about money.


Do you have any questions for Sarah? Please ask us in the comments below.

 Sarah McAlpine Art's so cute right now!




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