Happy Feature Friday!
Today we’re featuring the whimsical works of Lauren Lee, an illustrator who works in advertising by day but creates amazing illustrations every free chance she gets! We are in love with the characters and scenes she creates in her work – honestly we’re crossing our fingers a coffee shop gets her to design their cups, because we’d be there ASAP! Keep reading to hear more about her creative journey and see her fun coffee cup and sketchbook illustrations.
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I’m a twenty-two year old designer working in the crazy world of advertising. I use illustration as a way of release. Outside of design, I love animation films, re-reading Harry Potter, and binging title sequences.
: How did you get started in the illustration world?
: It started about a year ago when I began conceptualizing my thesis, 100 Ways to Worry. I wanted to graphically represent one hundred people’s innermost worries, and after much exploration, I landed on illustration as the best medium. During that process, I felt that drawing relieved my own anxieties though I hadn’t drawn very much before that ironically.
: You’ve done a lot of design work for commercial clients and are now working in advertising! What have you enjoyed about this client work?
: The design world moves so quickly! I’ve recently moved to an advertising agency where our team will be kickstarting the rise of Google Play Music. Many of these bigger clients have set guidelines, so I love when the team is able to push beyond their boundaries and develop something new. Seeing those designs come to life is always exciting.
: We love your sketchbook and coffee cup illustrations on your Insta. What are your inspirations behind these illustrations?
: Thank you, I really appreciate hearing that! Many of these illustrations are based off a current, usually vague feeling I have that becomes more clear once I take out a pen. I try not to put too much thought into it or else it doesn’t feel as natural to me.
: You are based in NYC. How does being in the city affect your work?
: The atmosphere of the city can feel stressful and competitive at times – sometimes, I feel like I have to constantly be working or pushing to get ahead. At the same time, NYC is such a hub for the arts and has provided me with so many opportunities to work with different people and play with different facets of design.
: What art supplies so you carry around with you or you can’t live without?
: Haha, I hope I’m not perpetuating any artist stereotypes, but I always carry around my Moleskin with my millions of notes, doodles, and illustrations. I also always carry a mechanical pencil for sketching and my Muji uniball for tracing.
: Name a few fellow illustrators/designers whose work you enjoy.
: So many! But off the top of my head, the illustrators that come to mind first are Malik Favre, Henn Kim, Chris Phillips (Crispe), and Eiko Ojala. My all-time favorite designer is Kyle Cooper.
: Do you have any go-to spots for drawing or getting creative in the city?
: Most of my ideas come while I’m commuting to work. I’m usually plugged into music while walking or taking the subway and it’s those quiet moments that I come up with something. Even for my coffee doodles, I normally do those on the way to the office.
: You are currently making prints of your work! How can someone go about getting your pieces on their walls?
:Yes! Well, I’m in the process of learning. This is all very new to me, and seeing the support is so awesome and humbling. At the moment, I don’t have a shop per say just my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, people message me for illustrations they’ve seen on my Instagram page and I send a digital copy for $10. Perhaps if it builds up (and when my schedule is a bit freer), it could turn into a real thing!
: Any advice?
: On some weeks, I can easily work 12-14 hours a day. When you get your first few gigs, you feel like you need to hustle and grind 24/7. I would definitely say to always make time for your passions even when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day (it never does!). It’s something I’m still learning to balance, but it keeps me happy and motivated.
Follow Lauren on Instagram: @byloelee