Artist Interview - Laura Kay
Every artist has their own unique background, style, experiences, techniques, and perspective. We can all learn from each other, be inspired by one another, and continue to share the joy of art. Here is what artist Laura Kay had to say:
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! My name is Laura Kay, the fashion illustrator behind Diary Sketches.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I absolutely love it :)) I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I can remember. I’d be holed up in my room for hours copying pages from fashion magazines, designing clothing… Being a full-time artist has always been a dream of mine, but I never thought it was a viable career path. That fact that I am able to do what I love as my full-time job, is an absolute dream and I am so so grateful!
What made you decide to focus on fashion as a subject?
I love fashion and I love art - so naturally, I was drawn to illustrating fashion.
What are your favorite subjects?
My favorite subject to draw is people - preferably in fabulous clothing that is fun to draw. Thankfully my clients are all amazing so that is usually the case ;)
Are there any trends that have been your favorite to sketch?
Big voluminous sleeves are my favorite to draw. I love exaggerating the poof and silhouette.
Which designer’s shows do you look forward to every season and why?
To draw - Dolce and Gabbana. I have so much fun drawing their fab and over the top patterns and killer accessories.
Carolina Herrera and Valentino for their innovative and bright color uses and silhouettes
For Dressing - YSL. They are my favorite designer to wear and get inspired by. I love their whole aesthetic.
And Chanel - for style inspiration and to draw because Chanel… need I say more :)
How and when did you get into art?
Art is definitely in my DNA - shoutout to my mom, a great oil painting artist (as a hobby), who took me to art museums growing up, introducing me to many wonderful artists, techniques, and art mediums…and most importantly passing on the art gene to me :) And I must mention my father as well, who although not an artist, always encouraged my art since I was a little girl. He loved buying me art books, art supplies, and hanging my little drawings proudly in his office, making me feel like I was the greatest artist in the world at 6 years old.
How has your practice changed over time?
I used to draw very realistic portraits - my goal was to copy the subject exactly. Now my style is super loose, fashion illustration style, with my signature one eye.
What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?
A big part of my business is creating custom portraits for clients in a fashion illustration style. My favorite recent one is this family portrait I created for a wonderful client. As a mom myself I’m drawn to family portraits and the joy they exude.
What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
I believe I read it in a book, which was teaching super-realistic pencil portraits (the phase I was in then) It said - Just draw what you see.
So often we try to translate what we are seeing into a drawing via what our brain remembers it to look like ( i.e. an eye or an apple), instead of just quieting your brain and just drawing what you see. Try it - you’ll be surprised how much better your drawing will come out!
What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
Before I start on any illustration I divide my paper into 4 with a pencil and ruler so I have a clear sense of placement when I start.
Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
Yes, white gouache (an artist’s white-out ;)
What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?
The Strathmore Ready Cut Watercolor Sheets in all sizes. It’s the only watercolor paper I’ve been using for years and it never disappoints!
What art materials could you not live without?
Thin tip brush markers for the outlines and alcohol-based markers for color.
What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?
Jewel tones - I love how they pop and give the art depth.
Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?
I was very inspired, when I started out, by fashion illustrator Megan Hess. As someone who loves fashion as well, I so admired how she was always super well dressed and chic, while also being an artist - defying the splattered by paint artist look ( although don’t look too closely at my hands if you meet me - they always have some marker and paint marks on them ;)
What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?
From artists starting out - it’s how did I discover and develop my unique style? My answer is with practice and constant drawing my style evolved to where it is today. The most common question I get from clients is if they need one exact photo for me to copy for a custom portrait. For that, the answer is no. With the wonders of art, any dream can be created.
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