Laura Girling Interview
Laura Girling is an illustrator based in Berkshire, who has a love for creating playful characters, silly stories and colourful patterns. She particularly enjoys creating artwork inspired by animals, nature, food, and everyday life. Laura studied illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth, and since graduating have been creating greetings cards, prints and pins for my online shop, undertaking freelance commissions and exhibiting at several illustration fairs.
As well as drawing, I also love to sew, knit, crochet and needle felt! I frequently make my own dresses for fun, but am a very slow knitter - my first jumper took me almost three years to complete!
I've grown up drawing, writing stories and making for as long as I can remember, so having a creative career was something I'd always wanted. I started exploring illustration as part of my A-level Graphic Design course at sixth form, and found a way to work drawing, collage and fun character designs into most of my projects! After that, I went on to do an Art Foundation year at AUB in Bournemouth, and loved the diversity of projects I could work on in the illustration pathway. Since then, I've pursued illustration, studying it at degree level, finding freelance commissions and creating work for my online shop.
I find going outside with my sketchbook can be very inspiring - I'll usually start by doing some quick drawings of little things I notice around me: sometimes people, patterns on clothing, food, insects and animals. I also get inspired by trips to museums and galleries - my two favourites are the Natural History Museum and the V&A. As well as the exhibits themselves, I like observing the people visiting them, and can find they often provide inspiration for character designs!
I really enjoyed working with Parallel Magazine - This was my first time creating artwork for a printed publication, so it was exciting to get my copy of the first issue of the magazine! More recently, I've worked on a few small instructional illustrations for Waitrose's packaging - It's a slightly different style to my usual work, but I love drawing food! Another of my favourite projects was for a personalised portrait this Christmas through my online shop - I was commissioned to paint the client and her sister riding a giant version of their big fluffy cat through the sky, 'Neverending Story' style! Lots of fun!
I mostly work by hand using gouache paint and ink, then make little adjustments to my artwork digitally, although I've recently been making some purely digital pieces too using my iPad and apple pencil. That being said, I always enjoy experimenting with different tools and materials, and have several pencil cases overflowing with various pens, pencils and paints!
I get inspiration from a lot of places, so I like using boards on Pinterest to collect and organise interesting and inspiring images and articles to look back on when I'm needing a creative boost. Sometimes it's reference photos and facts about interesting or unusual animals or plants, sometimes it's colour palettes I like, and other times it's just gorgeous work from other illustrators and artists.
It's hard to pick just one! I'd definitely like to do some picture book work though!
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