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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Lauren Stephenson, Illustrator

Break the ice with AUB graduate Lauren Stephenson, as we find out about her career so far, and all she is doing to make a name for herself in the world of Illustration…

Lauren Stephenson (a.k.a. LaurenLoveStudio) is a 24-year-old AUB graduate with a passion for current affairs and creativity. Her works so far have gained her 100,000 hits on Pinterest, propelled her into the limelight having self-published a magazine on female hygiene, and driven her to build her own small business selling prints and one-off creations from her website.

She has a blooming and colourful illustrating style, which attracts the eye with her harmonious understanding of design and layout. From GIFs to logos, Lauren is making a name for herself and having designed the new HQB News logo, we caught up with her to find out more about the woman behind the drawings.

WHAT ARE YOUR CONNECTIONS TO BOURNEMOUTH?

I moved here from Buckinghamshire, where my parents live, to study illustration at AUB. And then I just stayed here afterwards.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR?

Before coming to uni, I did a foundation course in Graphics. And they just kept saying to me that I kept doing illustrations, which I didn’t really realise… I just kept doing it. So then I went on to do Illustration rather than Graphic Design, just because I would do a lot of freehand work. I wanted the freedom of illustration, which doesn’t have to be vector-based.

Before uni, I took two years out. I couldn’t decide what to do and I got some experience with animal welfare. But eventually I went back to what I did when I was younger, when I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. In my year off I did a portfolio, and that’s when I applied for the foundation course to get into uni.

HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED TO CREATE AN ILLUSTRATION?

I get inspired by quite a lot of things. A classic one is if I go on Pinterest, it gives me loads of ideas. Often, and I don’t know why, I tend to get most of my ideas late at night. Normally I’ll be really sleepy and then think, “Oh, I have to remember this idea…”

Stephenson’s modern image — entitled “Be free!” — exemplifies her work’s uplifting feminist motif.
Credit: Lauren Stephenson.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR PREFERRED TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSES?

Before, it was just drawing on regular paper. But after university I’m definitely going on my iPad more often to draw. Or if I did draw or paint something, I would scan it in and edit it digitally. Just because it’s so much quicker, and it looks very similar to the result you’d get if you did it the traditional way. I really like doing a mixture of traditional and digital – I think it looks more authentic.

I am an artist on Giphy. That’s where you get your little drawings, stickers and GIFs on Instagram or Facebook. I put my 2D moving images on there.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN ABOUT A PIECE OF WORK YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A piece of my work I’m particularly proud of is my publication all about feminine hygiene. I didn’t expect the kind of reaction I received, and found that people were very interested in it. It wasn’t something I’ve ever done before, but I just chose something that I find interesting. It’s something I’m passionate about. If you’re doing something like a publication, it’s going to be something you’ll be producing for quite a long time – so it has to be something you’re interested in.

WHAT CURRENT AFFAIRS ISSUES DO YOU LIKE WORKING ON?

Tying in from my last answer, I’d definitely say any kind of feminist work or activism. Equal rights, human rights, animal rights… Anything that helps to improve the world a bit. That’s just my own opinion that I put into my work.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU AND YOUR CAREER?

I actually have interviews for an in-house designer position, which would be more like full-time rather than freelance. I’ve been freelance for the past 8 months and I’m glad I’ve experienced it. And obviously lots of people have experience working from home now. But I think it’s really nice to get out of the house and see people. It’s different when you work from home. So I’m really looking forward to new opportunities. If I was able to, I’d probably try and do both in-house and freelance part-time. That would be a perfect balance. I do have my dog at home as well so I’ll miss her if I go into the office.

WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS AS AN ILLUSTRATOR?

At the moment I am looking at stationery. I think it would be really cool if I went into a shop and saw my designs on the stationery there. I feel like there’s so many routes you can go down. If I did editorial, working at magazines, that would be cool too.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

I would like to move to Canada — it would be cool to see what career options they have. It is really hard to know where my career would be, though, as I’ve just started.

Find out more about Lauren Stephenson and her work by checking out her website, Facebook and Instagram. For more local art and design stories, click here. And don’t forget to follow us on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube!

Scott Boeser
Scott Boeser
Scott is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from Southampton. He joins HQB Media with a passion for the creative industries and a personal interest in music. In addition, he has a self-professed love of nature and the outdoors, a passion that drives interests in ecology and the environmental debate. Through journalism, Scott hopes to broaden his understanding of the world around him, whilst giving his readers an insight into the things he encounters.

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