Todays etsy interview is with super talented illustrator, Laura Hughes.
Laura is a busy bee indeed... not only is she the artist behind children's books, 'Daddy's Sandwich' and 'Goodnight Tiger', amongst others,
she's also one quarter of a collective artist studio, and still finds time to fulfil client briefs, curate art exhibitions and sell her designs in her etsy shop.
Pheweee, I'm exhausted just typing that!
Originally from Bath, and now based in London, Laura studied Illustration at Kingston University and graduated back in 2005.
Her work has been used by companies such as Bloomsbury, Woodmansterne and Waitrose.
Lauras etsy shop includes prints, greeting cards and original art, all available to buy and adorn your home.
Lets get to know her then shall we?
You know the drill...grab that cuppa!
1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background...
I studied Illustration at Kingston University and graduated in 2005.
After Uni, I found it difficult to break into the industry, so after 4 years of retail work I decided enough was enough and did a couple of part-time internships alongside my day job.
Eventually I was offered a design position at The Bright Agency, which taught me a great deal about the commercial side of illustration.
I left Bright about 5 years ago to purse freelance illustration full-time, and have never looked back.
I’ve now had about 10 books published, including Daddy’s Sandwich – written by Pip Jones (Faber&Faber), and Good Night Tiger – written by Timothy Knapman (Little Tiger Press).
2. What books/ magazines are you currently reading/admiring/ perusing?
Children’s books are an endless source of inspiration and wonder for me and I love the current trend for more ‘arty’, interesting styles.
I recently bought The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna, which is breathtakingly gorgeous and highly recommended.
I’m also currently reading a book by Kurt Vonnegut, who I love.
3. Who are your favourite illustrators and how do you stay inspired?
Though my work is very ‘illustrative’, I often look to painters and fine artists for inspiration.
I think it's good for illustrators to look beyond their peers in order to keep their work looking fresh.
Some of my current favourites include Emil Nolde, Anselm Kiefer and Peter Doig.
4. Tell us about a typical day for you...
I’ll usually start the day by answering a few emails and then head over to the studio to work on commissioned jobs.
Generally speaking I’ll be working on one, perhaps two illustration projects at any given time.
At present I’m finishing a book with publishers Bloomsbury, and another with Faber&Faber, both of which are keeping me very busy.
I’ll do Etsy shop orders and admin around painting and drawing as it makes a nice change.
5. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?
I spend most of my working day on client briefs, so it's important to me that the items in my Etsy shop are mostly personal pieces and images I create for fun.
I like to think that this gives them more of a spontaneous quality.
Most of the illustrations start with an urge to draw a particular thing – I’ll make a few drawings of the subject, sometimes 2 or 3, sometimes even more!
Then I scan the drawing or painting and clean it up on the computer.
That’s pretty much it!
6. Complete the following sentence...
My happy place is.........
My overgrown garden! It’s a bit out of hand; especially the creeping ivy that’s taken over one corner, but it feels really magical.
There’s even a bus stop amongst the undergrowth.
7. When did you open your etsy shop and what has been the most popular item during that time?
I opened my Etsy shop in 2008, mainly because I was getting a few inquiries regarding my prints and where they could be purchased.
The most popular item has been the 500 Trees print, which I created for an exhibition I curated a few years ago.
The actual painting is A2 size and really does contain 500 trees (by my counting at least).
8. Where do you work? Describe your studio/work area...
I am one quarter of the collective ‘Studio Mama Wolf’.
We’re 4 illustrators: Sandra Dieckmann, Sophie Gilmore, Jill Tytherleigh and myself, working from our shared studio and shop in Hackney, London.
The space is really cute, with prints adorning the walls and lots of plants – it’s a home from home.
Artists studios tend to be tucked away, or hidden from view so we wanted to create an environment where the public could see artwork in progress, ask a question or buy something directly from the maker.
We’re on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to see more:
9. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a illustrator?
Seeing my work out there and in the world is definitely the best thing about being an illustrator. Whether it’s one of my books in a shop, or a customer sending a photo of one of my prints in their house, it’s always a lovely feeling.
10. How would you describe your work?
I find it very hard to categorise but other people have described my work as bright energetic and loose.
11. What's your guilty pleasure?
I make up a lot of songs about my cat.
12. Five best things in life...
Thank you so much to Laura for taking the time to be part of the etsy interviews!
You can follow her goings on here...
(all images used above copyright of Laura Hughes)
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