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Gothic Cartoon Sensibility: Art by Zara Spence

A pin-up style drawing of a woman wearing poison ivyPoison Ivy,  coloured pencil

Today let’s look at the artwork of Zara Spence, a painter and illustrator who specializes in highly stylized figurative works in acrylic and coloured pencil. The artist does caricature-style commissioned portraits as well as original works of her own design.


A triptych of paintings, each featuring a woman dressed as a sweet treatThree Sweet  Ladies

Zara’s works depict human, often female figures drawn with large anime-style eyes and a dark, gothic cartoon sensibility. Some of the people that her paintings and drawings bring to life are reminiscent of modern children’s dolls, though they’d work just as well as tattoo designs or comic-book prints.


A screen capture of the painting gallery on Zara Spence's websiteThe painting gallery on Zara's website

I like the amount of detail that Zara manages to incorporates into her works. Though her gradient shading and rounded forms may appear deceptively child-friendly on the surface, the subject matter references classic pin-up images and campy horror. Prints of Zara’s works are available through Fine Art America – just follow the link on her website!


A coloured pencil drawing of a Frankenstein-esque girl hugging a teddy bearLoved 2 Death, coloured pencil

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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