Sara Lenton '11 prefers “cake over steak.”
That’s the name of the illustrated food blog the Moore alum has created reflecting her (mostly) sweet tooth and foodie philosophy.
Lenton, a 2011 graduate with an Illustration major and a minor in Graphic Design, creates original illustrations of food or beverages and her photographer fiancé Robert Cornelius photographs the work for her blog.
Lenton sells prints of her illustrations on her Etsy page with links to the blog item describing the work.
Each illustration takes about five to seven hours to complete on weekends and evenings. Between writing, editing, making the recipe and doing the photo shoot, her more elaborate posts can take between 12 to 15 hours to finish.
“My last two years of college I started getting really interested in food, mainly when I had to start cooking for myself,” she said. “I started reading a lot of food blogs and cookbooks and fell in love with them. As a visual person, I’m not interested in reading a food blog unless it’s pretty and has good photography. I thought that creating my own blog would be a good way to create personal (illustration) work again while talking about another passion of mine – food.”
Lenton is also passionate about giving back to the College that helped nurture her talents. For that reason, from now until September 22, 2014, she is donating 50 percent of the profits from her Etsy shop to the Visionary Woman Scholarships for young female artists at Moore.
The Visionary Woman Awards, an annual event that recognizes women whose lives and careers have made a significant impact on the visual arts, will be held on September 23, 2014. The honorees include curatorial consultant and educator Helen W. Drutt English, painter Janet Fish and fashion designer Nicole Miller.
The awards hold special meaning for Lenton. She received a Visionary Woman Scholarship which allowed her to attend Moore. Ninety-five percent of students receive some form of scholarship money to attend the College.
“I applied to 11 schools and got into all of them,” she said. “Moore was my first choice, but at that point I didn’t know if I could go. Then I found out I had received the scholarship and that sealed the deal. Had I not received it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to Moore.”
During her time at Moore, Lenton was a resident assistant and a member of student government. When she graduated, she was named an Alumni Representative on the Board of Managers.
Lenton said she was recently listening to a podcast about giving back. She knew she wanted to contribute to Moore but didn’t necessarily have the financial means to do so. Then she had an idea.
“I’m trying to grow my Etsy shop,” she said. “Several people said they had been thinking of purchasing a print and would do it for the fundraiser. I thought it would be a good way to promote my blog and shop and promote the fundraiser. It’s kind of a win-win.”
When she’s not hard at work at her blog, illustrations or planning her August wedding, Lenton works as a graphic artist at Gingrich Memorials, a monument business in Middletown, PA. There, she does custom hand etchings on gravestones. It’s a 180 degree turn from her previous job designing ads for the Lebanon (PA) Daily News.
“It’s really neat and a perfect blend of the skills I have with illustration and graphic design,” she said. “I’m doing artwork on gravestones that people appreciate so much and it will literally be around forever because it’s etched in granite.”
It took time for Lenton to familiarize herself with the tools she had to use for her job, including the “diamond tipped Dremel tool” and a laser machine.
“They were surprised I caught on so quickly but I think a lot of it had to do with the way we learned to draw in the Illustration department at Moore,” she said. “You’re just looking at shapes and values. It’s just drawing with a different medium. It’s not a big deal. You just don’t want to mess up.”
Visit Sara's Etsy shop to purchase a print
Purchase tickets for Moore's Visionary Woman Awards