LS: I’m not too sure how I’d categorize my work but I would describe my art as being colorful, flowing and emotional. I mainly get hired to draw emotionally difficult or touchy subjects which is something I fell into but it makes a lot of sense. I’ve always used art as my emotional outlet and now being able to transfer how I put emotion from my personal work into client work is super cool!
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
LS: I like taking inspiration from a lot of different things. Music really puts me in the mood for a drawing, sometimes I’ll find a song that makes me feel exactly how I want my image to feel and I’ll keep it on repeat until the image is mostly done just so I can keep that mood. Other big sources of inspiration are nature, photography, manga, video games and other art. It’s also important to keep tabs on beautiful interiors and cool clothing because you can sneak them into a drawing at some point!
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
LS: When I get a new project I always break down, “what’s the point of the article,” and, “how does it want to make you feel?” Since I’m commissioned to do a lot of emotionally tough pieces being able to express those feelings in a kind and respectful way is extremely important. Once I’ve found the core of the article I then start researching specific aspects of the text. That can include looking up specifically mentioned companies/ places, doing additional reading on the topic itself, or watching videos with similar subject matter. Additional research is so important and can help elevate your image in the long-run. I then start making thumbnails and move onto doing roughs on the computer.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
LS: If people walk away from seeing my work thinking that it was beautiful and/ or made them feel something then I’d be happy.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
LS: Haha my lifestyle is a mess! Right now I get up at 10, watch videos for an hour, go to my computer and either start work right away or do a warm-up for a little bit. Before I would just try to immediately start work but I’ve found recently I’m actually more productive with my client work if I listen to myself and do a little doodle for me if I’m feeling the need to do so.
LS: Then I’ll work for however long I need to to get all my to-do items checked off for that day. Often I’ll work for the whole day and take really long breaks to get away from the picture for a bit or make food or just walk away from my computer. The pros of freelance is that your day can be very flexible but it can also be hard to keep a proper schedule.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
LS: I actually try my best to be like 50/50 planning and impulse. It often doesn’t work that way, but I find I feel a lot less stressed when I have the drawing and general colors planned out for my image and then leaving the textures impulsive. Everytime I go into a picture and only draw half of it before adding textures I get way more confused about the direction of the image and end up wasting a lot of time trying to fix things. If I just get the drawing to be ok before I color I enjoy myself much more and I feel like it looks so much better. When it comes to shading, texture placement and the finer color transitions though I always try to keep those spontaneous! My favorite part of all my drawings is just placing different textures beside each other and seeing how they interact, keeps the picture fresh and the process exciting.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
LS: The biggest personal art lesson I’ve learned was to stop trying to chase the idea of fitting in or making work that seems “cool”. In school I wanted to make work that felt like my art idols, stuff that was really edgy and kind of weird. But I, myself, am not that edgy and trying to chase that ideal made my work feel inauthentic. After school I could see a lot of my old, teen ways of image making resurface and it felt really good to reconnect with that side of me (shoutout to the magical sparkledog/ sparklehorse Deviantart community of the 2000s LOL). It was really freeing to just let myself make art that was right for me. There’s still a big part of me that feels like my art isn’t cool or innovative enough, and to feel like I’m not a memorable editorial illustrator because of that. But overall I have a much healthier relationship with my work now and that’s invaluable.
LS: I don’t think they’re the most important thing, but do I think knowing what you find beautiful/ aesthetically pleasing can only make you work better.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
LS: I think the hardest part of being a freelance illustrator specifically is juggling work life balance and keeping drawing fun when it’s your work. This year has barely started and I’ve been the most busy with work than I’ve ever been (knock on wood it continues). It comes with a lot of learning how to communicate with clients, how to juggle multiple projects at once, dividing your time properly and also keeping up with social media for your advertising. I think this is the first year I’ve really been confident with my image making too so it’s a completely different mindset for running my business.
LS: Also, because I’ve been so busy, I’m really starting to understand freelance loneliness. I don’t have animals anymore and I live in the suburbs so it’s really easy to isolate myself. It’s interesting because after I work a full day, instead of unwinding at home I actually want to leave the house since I’ve been working there all day. If I don’t have plans to visit people I often end up going back to work because I have nothing better to do and it can be unhealthy. I’m still trying to figure it out! Thinking I might have to get a pet or a hobby or something I don’t know haha.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
LS: This is the most selfish thing but I love how the act of creating art makes me feel. There’s something about drawing that’s really satisfying, and I can’t fully explain it but there’s not a lot of things better than working on something that excites, saddens or inspires you. It’s crazy magical how you can create this world from a blank page and then you can invite other people into that world by showing them your art. It’s just the greatest!
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
LS: My longest and kind of forever inspiration is Alphonse Mucha. He just knew how to make every part of an image beautiful. Jillian Tamaki is another artist who will be a forever inspiration! Everything she makes feels effortless and playful. Her use of different mediums are always fresh and her draftsmanship is just so good. I cannot wait for her new kid’s book about friendship to be released!!
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
LS: It’s insanely useful! It’s amazing what people are making with AR apps and 3D programs. And the fact people can do pretty much final images on the iPad?? It’s crazy! I don’t use an iPad at all for work and I feel like I’m behind with technology. I think I’ll always be a mixed media traditional and digital kind of person, I love my pens and paints, but you’re nuts if you can’t see the potential technology has for artists.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
LS: I think so, but I think every profession sees the world in a different way. I would like to think because I’m an artist I look at things in a romanticized, looking-for-the-visual-beauty-in-everything kind of way but honestly who knows. I do feel like when I experience the world part of me keeps things (like colors, feelings, smells, shapes etc.) in a catalog to use in future work which may be more a thing creative people do.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
LS: I definitely don’t have the travel bug within me but I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to travel to some cool places. This isn’t a city but one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to is a shrine my friend took me to in Ikoma, Japan. It was a truly magical experience.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
LS: Oh man this is awful to say but I haven’t actually read a book in so long. I don’t think I even have a favorite author because I really don’t read anymore.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
LS: My long term goal is to make an autobiographical comic at some point. I had a really crazy year in 2018 – 2019 with a cancer diagnosis (which I am in full remission from right now!) and I would like to catalog it in some way eventually.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
LS: I think being an artist to me is being able to share aspects and perspectives of human life in a beautiful way.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
LS: Say So by Doja Cat!! It’s been on repeat! The Goodnight n’Say So Mashup by FrenchFriMashups on Youtube is also so so good.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
LS: Haha emotional, colorful, flowy and definitely inspired by a lot of shojo manga + BL