After graduating from Ringling College of Art and Design in 2017, freelance illustrator Sarah Goetz started Sarah Goetz Illustration & Design to sell her designs inspired by South Dakota themes and landscapes. Over the last year and a half in Spearfish, Goetz has been able to go through enough inventory to make her business her main job.

PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… my calendars. This is what really started getting my name out there as an artist in South Dakota. I created my first calendar for my senior thesis in college. The next year I created another, but it was all Black Hills themed. It had a great response. What’s great about the calendars is you get 12 full-on illustrations all in one.

WHEN I’M NOT WORKING WITH MY BUSINESS, I’M… working on other business ventures. Recently, my boyfriend, Kenny, and I have started a custom window blinds business called Kodiak Coverings. However, when I’m just relaxing, I love exploring new areas around the Hills for future illustrations or just hanging with my family.

MY LOVE FOR ILLUSTRATING STARTED… very young. I always knew I wanted to be an artist. One of my favorite childhood toys was one of those magnetic drawing pads. The only thing that changed is I used to want to be a Disney animator. When I attended a portfolio review day at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, the reviewer from Ringling College of Art and Design swayed me into the direction of illustration. I think about that interaction often, because he really did change my life. And now I definitely know being an independent artist is more my speed. 

THE ART MEDIUM I USE IS… mostly digital, which I think a lot of people don’t understand, but it takes the same amount of effort and talent as if I were to draw on a regular piece of paper. However, I use every medium in my sketchbook—watercolor, gouache, different paint markers, pens, whatever I can find.


Sarah has created work for…
+Banyan Coffee Co.
+Black Rifle Coffee Co.
+Chinook Days
+Freckled Fox
+Leones’ Creamery
+Spearfish Downtown Business Association
+Spearfish KOA

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTS ABOUT RUNNING THIS BUSINESS IS… seeing the reactions. When anyone is thrilled about something they see that I created, it’s the best feeling. Especially when they don’t know who you are, and you’re standing right next to them listening to them talk about your piece. Priceless.

MY FAVORITE PART OF MY JOB IS… I get to make money from things I created out of nothing.

THE FIRST PIECE I SOLD WAS…  also the first piece I got into a show. It’s called Biker in the Hills. It’s a simple linework illustration of a mountain biker. The show was the Illest of Ill, a Ringling College-run show for illustration majors. I was a freshman, and shortly after the show, a friend of a friend wanted to buy a print of the biker. The original showpiece now hangs in my dad’s office.

MY FAVORITE PIECE ON MY WEBSITE IS… called Meadow. It’s from my first calendar. It was for the month February, and I have loved it for three years now. There’s just something about that color palette.

Inventory Check

Here are some items available:
+Hand-Painted Journals
+Market List Notepads

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND EACH PIECE… varies. Some are just as simple as places that I think are cool. Others have more meaning. For example, the Poet’s Table illustration was created when some hooligans decided to chop up the original table and take it from its home where it had been since 1969. My drawing shows the original table the way it should’ve stayed, and a portion of the profits went to building a new table and to the ranger station that caught the bandits.

CUSTOMERS CAN FIND MY WORK… on my website or on my art-specific Instagram (@woodsia_ilvensis). I also keep a good print inventory at the Freckled Fox in Spearfish.

THE HARDEST PART OF MY WORK IS… the actual business side of things. When you’re an artist, you have to learn to be resilient when it comes to your pricing and asking for what you deserve.

SOMETHING THAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW IS… my website! A few months ago I finally set up my site to have it’s own shop and take orders. It’s fun to be able to create the site exactly how I imagine. Then when the notification appears on my phone that an order was placed, I do a little happy dance. 

WHEN I WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO STOP BY IS the Freckled Fox. This locally owned clothing store is a little bit off the main drag but is a must see. They have the cutest clothes, the best smelling candles, and a beautiful space.

THE BEST PART OF SPEARFISH IS… Spearfish Canyon. It’s so beautiful through there that it almost looks fake.

“The best part of doing custom work is how happy it makes the customer. When people tell me a portrait brings them to tears or how a logo design improves business, I remember that’s what I’m here for.”

SOMETHING THAT IS INFLUENCING ME RIGHT NOW IS… other creators. I’m very motivated by seeing the way other creatives market and run their businesses. Sharing knowledge about how to monetize artistic endeavors shouldn’t be selfishly hidden. I admire creatives who are open to advice, and I hope to do the same.

I LOVE TO GRAB A BITE OR DRINK AT… Sawyer Brewing Co. The atmosphere, the pizza, the beer and it’s right on the creek. What more could you ask for?

MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION IS… into the Black Hills. I like to go into the small tourist towns up by Mount Rushmore or go for a hike. There are so many hidden gems out here.

ONE THING I LOVE ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA IS… there is a real sense of community. You know people when you go to the grocery store, you’ve known the same people since kindergarten. This is a special quality, don’t take it for granted.

SOMEONE LOCAL THAT I ADMIRE IS… my father. He and my mother recently acquired the Spearfish KOA Campground, and it’s made me realize how involved and passionate he is about how businesses can thrive here in Spearfish. He will pull his car over in the middle of a road to pick up trash. That’s the kind of person to admire.

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