“Paul Klee said “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” I just like that and use it in class all the time.”, says Lauren, an art teacher living near Kansas City, MO. Lauren has grown to love her land-locked mid-western life. She and her husband Danny share their lives with Sarah, age 17, and Buffy, “My sweet little baby girl poodle mix. She’s my angel!”
Lauren describes herself as funny, friendly and caring, but mostly, a very stubborn, unruly Taurus. She loves music and seeing bands. She likes a good movie, a great nap, and an occasional trip to an art gallery.
How long have you been illustrating?
I started illustrating in 2002. I initially became interested in working on children’s books. I found Etsy’s creative outlet in 2006.
Why did you start?
I was working in a school-age daycare center. I loved being around 5 year olds and I started drawing pictures for them and thinking that I could illustrate a book easily! I was wrong about the easy part.
What are the items you have handy at all times for working?
I have a huge palette that gets bigger every month with attachments. I love using watercolor pencils. Plenty of paper towels, and some good white erasers are very handy.
Where do you get your materials?
I have only recently become a paint snob and buy my watercolors at an art supply store here in town. But mostly, I can find the basics of what I need at a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
Can you tell us a little of your process?
Sure! I am a ‘jump right in’ kind of person. I like to just draw right on my painting surface and do whatever comes to mind. I get ideas all the time and try to remember them or doodle them on something for when I have time to paint. I love to paint to music. Usually just on my laptop at my work station. And I also can catch a lot of good reality TV on the Bravo channel while painting – usually several hours in a row of painting works best for me. My studio is cleverly placed next to my kitchen and living room sofa.
Where do you get your ideas?
More and more, I realize I get ideas from nature, my daily life, things I see kids doing or saying, and also looking around at other art that people produce – it is such a great field, and although I don’t follow too terribly close what other painter/illustrators are doing, I try to keep an eye on trends and be inspired by a concept and make it my own.
Do you have a dedicated work area/room?
Formerly known as the dining room, my studio is a lovely well lit haven in my home.
Is this your full-time job? Hobby? Fun?
It is all those things at different times. In the summer it is a full time job. During the school year it is what I call “supplemental.” Painting is something I have done since I was a kid so it is definitely part hobby and larger part fun. I have a feeling I will paint my whole life long. And perhaps one day I’ll make a living wage with it.
Do you have a best seller?
I used to, now it is very scattered. I have my favorites but they aren’t always best sellers. The one little painting that started a whole slew of similar ideas has the best title of all, and I think that is why it has been a best seller before; Limeade.
Do you have a favorite item?
Yes. Several. I love the owls in All Together Now. But my current most favorite painting in my whole shop is The Wild Call. I just love how simple it is!
What other kinds of crafts do you do?
Not enough! On my list of things to master are printmaking, sewing and book making. I love print, patterns, and collage things so I definitely intend to dive into those kinds of crafts when I find some time.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Good question. I recently accomplished a five year goal by getting my teaching license and securing a job…now I just hope to hang on to it for a while. I love working part time so that I can be painting the rest of the time. If I am doing the same thing in five years it would be great! But maybe in a slightly bigger home, with a couple art shows under my belt…maybe even a book project….we’ll see!
Have any advice for people trying to start their own handcrafted business?
Yes. Just keep going. If your heart is in it, your soul is, too, so you have no choice but to keep creating and learning and working through the mud. Also, try to appreciate the little things, and always, always, always, try to be thoughtful about what you say and do.