See more of Laura’s work at: www.lauravann.artweb.com
Being an illustrator
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I am a fairly recent graduate of a Masters degree in Illustration and am currently producing illustrations for my own children’s picture books, whilst also indulging in my long-term hobby of producing craft and mixed media pieces.
When did you decide to pursue illustration as a career?
I have always had a passion for art, both creating and observing. It was not until I was studying for my foundation degree that I decided which path was the best suited for me. Illustration was the art form in which my love of mixed media could be combined with narratives to create really unique and interesting projects.
What training did you have?
So far in my creative career I have completed a GCSE, an A-Level, and a Foundation degree in Art and Design and then went on to complete a BA and an MA in Visual Communication (specialising in Illustration).
What has been the high point of your career so far?
The highest point of my career to date has to be when I completed and hand-bound my first children’s picture book ‘the errand…’. It was the culmination of 2 years intensive work and was the most rewarding thing to have created entirely on my own.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘If you can find it, you can use it’ By my brother Leon Vann.
Who is your favourite artist?
What are you aiming for?
To create work that inspires and motivates others!
How will you get there?
By constantly learning and researching other artists’ work and by combining the techniques that I love with new discoveries and materials.
Is anything holding you back?
At the moment, money is holding me back (sad but true!) I would like to be able to purchase/rent somewhere big enough for my creativity to grow and to be able to exhibit to others but for the moment my spare room will suffice!
You and illustration
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
Mainly, I hope to inspire people. I don’t mind whether they like my work or not, I just hope that they take something from it that will inspire their own work or techniques. I am never surprised by a reaction because I never know what to expect!
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
Sometimes it can be a flash of creativity and take me only a few hours to complete something but other times it can take me weeks to be satisfied with a piece.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
Usually something from my younger years when I locked myself in my room in order to get a college project finished…Quite often Linkin Park or The Offspring; they put my mind in the right mode.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
At the moment I am developing a short series of heavily visual educational children’s books. Not quite sure on the titles yet but each book will be based on a different theme in nature.
Being inspired by illustration
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
The Dalai Lama inspires me. Adopting the Buddhist attitude and taking a moment out when life is getting on top of you is the best way to clear your mind and start fresh.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an illustrator?
Nature and Science are always subjects that I will have a passion for and will always refer to when creating work. They are good themes to use as new developments happen all the time and there is always something to learn that you didn’t know existed before.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
It will always be the Horizon Gecko and Twilight Gecko pieces. They are the perfect examples of my love for nature and mixed media. Plus the gecko in the images is modelled on my pet Gecko named Doug who I spent a lot of time studying and developing a creative journal about.
an illustrator’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for illustration into a career, could you give any advice?
Even when the times are tough and it looks as though there isn’t any future, don’t give up! keep creating work for yourself and developing new ideas and eventually something rewarding will come of it.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Promote yourself. It’s hard to brag about yourself but just as long as you are genuinely enthusiastic about what you do it will come across. Utilise free online media such as Artweb and blogging sites and try to get yourself into as many circles as possible. You may need to do a bit of work for free but it will often lead to bigger and better things!