3 & 1/2 Questions: Shari Mallinson


Once in awhile, I see someone’s work and am blown away. Like when I saw Bill Sullivan’s work, or recently, when I saw Shari Mallinson’s drawings. Her attention to detail is sublime! So of course, I had to share her work with you and am so pleased that Shari agreed to have a chat with us too!

3 & 1/2 Questions: Shari Mallinson

Shari joins us from Vancouver, British Columbia, where she is a multi-tasking artist — well-versed with a pencil, camera, brush, and a word-smith to boot! Talent runs in Shari’s family; she is the daughter of late artist Sharon LaRae Gordon and also the niece of late artist and photographer, Carol Mallinson-Johnson.


Hi Shari. Were you encouraged to draw when you were little? Who were your early influences? 

My mom was an artist, my aunt was an art photographer and a family friend was artistic so they definitely influenced me initially but the people who REALLY encouraged me to actually pursue drawing (and art) as a kid were my elementary and junior high school art teachers. Particularly Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. Palmer and Mr. Wakeling at Ranch Park Elementary School in Coquitlam.

They saw how art made me come alive and constantly put me in art shows/special art classes, gave me special projects, submitted my work to contests, and said kind and encouraging things about my artwork. (In a few cases acted they acted as my manager when institutions and individuals wanted to buy my work.) I don’t think they ever knew how important they were to me or the impact they had on me or my work. I can never thank them enough for the faith they put in the quiet kid who barely spoke but loved all things art related.

I’ve been creating for so long I don’t remember wanting to ever be anything other than an artist. I went through a phase where I wanted to be Indiana Jones but once that wore off it really came down to whether I was going to pursue art or acting. Even at the age of 12, after having parts in school plays and showing up in the background of popular TV shows and hanging with celebrities, I realized I was too sensitive an individual to withstand the scrutiny actors undergo. Particularly women. I’ve always been more comfortable in my skin as an artist.


Can you tell us a bit about how you like to work?

I initially start with a spark of an idea or inspiration so it all begins in my mind. I then use photos, real people and animals for reference work for my art (whatever I can get my hands on). I watch music videos and listen to music while I work. I then sketch out what I’m going to draw and work in layers. Starting drawing and shading lightly and building to darker shadows and lines.


Do you have any advice for kids who want to draw like you?

The advice I give most of my drawing students is to have faith in yourself and your abilities and have fun. You are ALWAYS good enough no matter what point you’re starting at. I hear a lot of students say they aren’t good enough and I believe if you’ve already decided not to be good enough, you won’t be. Decide you’re an artist and be one. Practice whenever you get the chance. Whenever you have a spare moment. (On the bus, waiting in your dentist’s office, in the back seat on the way to school etc. Just don’t do it in Math class. Your teachers and parents like it when you pay attention and Math is what will help you budget money for your art supplies and figure out how much you’ve made from all your drawings and paintings.) Remember: The only person you’re competing with to get better than is yourself. If someone wants to pursue art as a career I’d tell them to do it. Believe you can and make it happen. If art is your passion, fills your soul and makes you happy do whatever it takes to have it in your life daily.


Please complete this sentence:  I like to draw ____.

absolutely whatever fills my imagination at any given moment in time

Thanks for stopping by, Shari! If you want to draw like Shari, she has some tutorials on her website, where she shares more of her process. (Shari also contributed to our #thebigdraw #exquisitestory too!)


She’s also currently working on the release of her first adult coloring book, which will be available in 2016, but you can get a sneak-peek sample by signing up here. (Please note: coloring pages are intended for kids over 18, and contain images of glasses of wine.) 

All images courtesy of Shari Mallinson.



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The Big Draw Exquisite Story


The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival (Oct 1-31, 2015). Since this year’s theme is “Every drawing tells a story,” I thought it would be fun to do an exquisite corpse story, so I coaxed many of my talented friends into playing!

This is a variation on the Exquisite Corpse game, created by Surrealists, where “each participant would draw an image on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal their contribution, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.” In this version, you can see the participants’ entries as they evolve.

I’ll post our story pages here throughout the month so you can see the story unfold. Thanks to all of the participating artists: Carin Channing, Shari Mallinson, Yoon Chang, Isabel Kay, Bernadette Noll, Diane Bromberg, Susanne Groeneveld, Sarah Greenwood, Paul Fenton, Colleen Kong-Savage, Sonja Neumeyer, Amy Gray-Randle, Scott Stevens, Elizabeth Ellis, Doug Erb, Kate Jefferay, Kitty Levee, Sirin Thada, Joy Brehaut, Kirstin Sillitoe, Meredith Wing, and Samantha Whetton


What are you guys drawing for The Big Draw?


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