I was looking at Top Drawer, which I'm visiting in September, and whilst browsing the Exhibitor List I found Laura's gorgeous work. I checked out her website and got in touch, asking if she would like to be featured, as she mentioned having used her sketchbooks as a visual diary in the past.... ooh, very interested. She agreed to be featured on Sketchbook Peeks and this is what she had to say..
Before we start, tell us a little about yourself/how did you get into art/craft/design career and how it all started and where you are now
I have been into making art since school, painting, drawing, collaging and building installations. Since leaving school I’ve done an art foundation course, and art degree before going on to work on community art projects in Manchester and forming Islington Mill Art Academy, an independent art school in Salford, and Hotpants Romance, my garage pop band. I was also working part time until three years ago I packed in my proper job, as Care Manager for a woman with a bad memory, and I decided to treat my art as a full time job.
Applying for grants and commissions, making zines, tea towels, t-shirts, illustration work, and anything else that I could try selling at shops in town and stalls at craft fairs. People started buying my greetings cards and so that is where I am now, making a wooden sign of my name for my first greetings card trade fair in London in September.
I think forever, I love sketchbooks, they are really at the centre of my art and illustration work.
How often do you sketch?
I aim for every day but the days just seem to slip away these days having a little baby to look after – so whenever I get a minute, but I dream of getting back to every day! I recently did a project where I kept a visual diary, every day for a year, which was a really good thing to do for getting into the habit of regular drawing – you can read the finished thing here
How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
Excited really. And wanting to see all of the things that will appear inside it. I feel the same way when I have made a brand new canvas or board to paint on and it is sitting blank staring at me saying come on what are you gonna paint!!
When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
All around, everyday, if I see a sign that is falling apart from a closed down shop I love to know that I can record it in a drawing and it won’t disappear when a new shop with a big plastic sign opens. I like recording my experience of the world, documenting things that have made an impression on me. I also like setting myself little exercises like the daily diaries. I am just thinking today about starting a project in an A5 sketchbook where I draw something, anything, on each page, one page every day until the book is full.
How would you describe your creative process?
I do a lot of painting and scribbling in sketchbooks and then when I am making a new greetings card or a painting I look through my sketchbooks to find things I can use, sometimes I re-draw ideas and then I put them into Photoshop and fiddle around with them to get them ready for printing if they are going on a card.
Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?
Yes, I would say they are still evolving, I think that for me is a big point of a sketchbook, a place to try things out and learn new things. I think now I am much less precious in them, I just try things out and don’t care about the stuff that looks crap, I know it’s an important part of getting to something that doesn’t look crap.
When I first began painting I didn’t have much money to buy paint so I used to sneak into my Dad’s garage and pinch things that I could use to paint with – Polyfilla, Varnish, White wall paint, and I used to use cooking oil from the kitchen on my sketchbook pages or canvas to make them go see-through. I still have all of these things in my painting cupboard and I love smearing them and getting my hands dirty.
Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
Yes, my A3 sketchbook from when I did my art a-level. It is filled from cover to cover with lovely paintings and the oils and varnishes used have such a strong smell that it takes me right back to that time in my life.
If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
This is my current favourite page, from my most recent A3 sketchbook [out in the wild world]. I suppose I like it because I don’t know what it will lead to yet, I know I want to take the ideas and colours from it further maybe into a painting or card design. I painted it one morning when my partner Darren had taken our baby Rosa out and they were late home, I knew they would be safe but at the same time I felt like they were out in the big wild world and that felt a bit scary, until then I had been at her side just about every minute since she was born!
You can see more of my work at here and my blog is here
Thanks to Laura for taking part, if you are visiting Top Drawer this year, then pop to see her and her lovel;y cards. She is on stand F112A. I'll definitely be calling to say hi, as it's always great to meet people you have only ever met online. I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing Laura a very successful show!