Welcome to my studio! I live and work in a big pink Victorian house that is always messy, but always creative. My studio recently moved to the third floor with tall vaulted ceilings and lots of open space to paint, draw, write, collage, and even dance when the spirit moves me. Below are some interior views of my studio space. Click on each image to see the full view. The Shape of the World, A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright was the first book I painted in my new space, so you can see some of the studio process in these photos.
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 is the story The Shape of the World. I drew a red square between each of the page turns. It is important to paginate a story first thing, so you know which words go on which pages. Also in the photo are the drawings I made for the illustrations after doing several months of research. These drawings are shared with my editor before I begin painting the final illustrations.
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 The Shape of the World, A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright. The story of a little boy who loves to find shapes in nature grows up to be one of America’s greatest architects.