Known for her bold but nuanced work, the Portland-based illustrator employs a narrative-first conceptual storytelling style; her ‘Between the Lines’ animated short, currently in progress, deals with the scarring experience of schoolgirl bullying – check out the trailer.
Hornet has welcomed Sarah Beth Morgan to its roster of directors. A Portland-based illustrator and animation director, her work mixes textural musings, graphic explorations, and whimsical characters with a clear conceptual narrative woven together. Morgan favors narrative-first storytelling and has an eclectic eye for style and design.
“Variety is important to me,” shared Morgan “I'm always excited to explore visual versatility. It all depends on the subject matter, but I like to vary it up in both life and in my work.”
Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Morgan went to boarding school in Ohio, then undergrad at the Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied motion graphics. She worked in Los Angeles for 2+ years, then in Portland for 2 more.
Morgan’s approach to design is nuanced and illustrative with a graphic edge. Her emphasis is on conceptual storytelling with bold shapes and colors not far behind.
“Visually, anything that has a textural, playful, quirky quality to it is what I strive for,” she added. “But most importantly, I want to hit people in the feels. That’s why conceptual narrative storytelling is so important to me. Because I want to connect with people. Not just create something ‘pretty.’”
Morgan’s projects include her short film Cocoon (an expansive story about grief and loss) and commercial work like murals for Chipotle, and illustrations for Ecobee. Her most recent animated ode to autumn was for Bath & Body Works.
Her current work in progress, Between the Lines, is illustrative of Morgan’s distinct approach to filmmaking. The short film speaks to the scarring experience of schoolgirl bullying - and the recovery that follows. The narrative follows a young woman’s journey as she navigates isolation, exclusion, and anxiety.
Check out the trailer:
“The more we’ve gotten to work with Sarah Beth, the clearer it’s become just how much is brewing under the surface,” shared Hornet’s Head of Creative Development Kristin Labriola. “We knew all along how talented she was as an art director—curating style, leading teams of artists, and being quite varied and easy to adapt in her own personal style—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
Outside of direction, Morgan is passionate about her role as an online educator (having taught courses for Skillshare, Adobe, and School of Motion) and an advocate for women in the industry.