Not bound by medium, Mariana Gomez lets her intuition guide her.

In this sketchbook series, we go behind the scenes and take a peek at the early stages of artists’ works. In this edition, to honor Latina/o/x Heritage Month, we’re showcasing artists from the Latina/o/x community. Here, California-based artist Mariana Gomez talks about the importance of representation and pays homage to her culture.

How often do you sketch?

I sketch every day. Sometimes it’s not always in my sketchbook. I also use Post-it notes when ideas spark, and I just have to write them down ASAP.

Where is your favorite place to sketch?

I love sketching in nature. I like to drive to the beach to catch the sunset, and I’ll sit there with my sketchbook. Being outside with nature just inspires me more. I feel more connected to this earth, and it’s a reminder that I am meant to be an artist.

What’s the most unique place you’ve sketched?

I have to say the desert. If you pay close attention, there’s lots to see there. It’s deserted but full of life.


We noticed you create sketches using different supplies, like watercolor, pens, and markers. Do you have a favorite? Are there certain instances where you prefer one over the other, i.e. subject matter or location?

I use different mediums depending on how I feel. Watercolors for me are more freeing, and I like that because sometimes I don’t have a plan. I love going into a piece intuitively, seeing where the watercolors lead me. To be honest, I love so many different art mediums. I am not afraid to try them all. The end results vary, which I really like.

Many of your pieces, including your sketches, pay homage to the Latinx community and culture. What inspires you to create art for the Latinx community?

I create art that resonates with my community because representation matters. Growing up, all I saw was male art. The art world is still dominated by men. I think it’s important that we take space because there’s unique artwork being done by women. Women are so deep and emotional, and I believe that women artists have a unique power to transmit emotions and feelings. I also believe that not all Latinx want a concha for art. I encourage artists to make art about our real struggles and emotions. Latinx is not just one box, we have lots of boxes—different colors, sizes, etc…


What’s the best thing you’ve sketched that never became a fully-realized piece?

I think my “Feed your weird ” screenprint was one of my best ideas. The idea came after a meditation. Then, I sketched it, made it into a screenprint, made prints… And sold all of them!

Could you show us one of your favorite pages?

Sure, here’s some I really like.


Do you have any fun or interesting stories about your sketchbook?

Not exactly. My motto is just use them! That’s the key—just write it all down, even if it’s ugly, and use it. I embrace the ugly pages because they push me to be better. I see a lot of artists trying to curate their sketchbooks. I get it, it looks nice. But that’s not for me. I take my sketchbooks very seriously—art is a very private thing, and I love being able to write or draw whatever I am feeling at that moment in my sketchbook. It allows me to keep growing 🙂

Do you keep your sketchbook after you use up all the pages or throw them away?

I do keep all of them! I try to fill up all the pages, but like many of us… I am addicted to buying new sketchbooks 🙂

Could you share an early sketch of a design in your S6 shop?

Sure, it’s my “En la casa hay frijoles” sketch.

Gail Acosta

Writer and Editor