Welcome to my studio! I live and work in a big pink Victorian house that is always messy, but always creative. Here I am at my drawing table with my cat, Buster. I do a lot of drawing, painting, and thinking at this table. Buster does a lot of sleeping, dreaming, and posing.
Whenever I begin a new book, I write the words of the story very large on my wall, so I never lose them in a pile of papers. Here the story, Winter is the Warmest Season is written between the two windows of my studio opposite my drafting table. It is framed with photos and postcards that may inspire me in my search to discover the illustrations for the book. The words to the story are framed like a work of art I can look at everyday.
I carry journals/sketchbooks everywhere I go. They are all sizes and shapes. Some of them have lines to write on, but most of them have blank pages so I can draw, write, or paste in pictures I like, found in magazines and newspapers. When I begin working with a new story I always begin a new journal to go with it. It’s the best way for me to keep track of all of my ideas during the year or two it takes me to finish a book.
I paint my illustrations in acrylic paint on paper. I use acrylic paint because it dries fast which lets me make quick, spontaneous decisions in the midst of painting. It also allows me to paint over an image with as many layers necessary to complete it to my satisfaction. Some of my illustrations have ten layers of paint on them before they are finished. Others come together in the first layer.
Believe it or not, I like to make mistakes when I paint. I have found that mistakes or accidents can inspire my compositions, colors, and images to go in directions I could not have foreseen. Sometimes I even look away from what I am doing just to let an accident happen. It doesn’t always work, but it is worth a try when things get stuck.
Above is my palette where I mix all my colors. I love paint. I love brushes. Can you tell?
Lauren's latest illustrated children's book is Yellow Time. An exuberant, joyful ode to that magical time when the leaves are changing color and the animals are preparing for winter.