I’ve never met Lauren Baker. But back in February she emailed in response to my tweet looking for character illustrators for an upcoming project. In fact, she was the first person to email. I was worried the task would be too challenging – 100 characters, grayscale, that would only print 3 inches tall. But she nailed it. We gave her descriptions like “weirdo” and “veteran” and the characters she produced were perfect. The tone, detail, and life in each illustration was exactly what the game needed. Revisions weren’t necessary. And she did it all in only a few weeks! But I wasn’t that surprised. Lauren would email batches of 5-10 characters almost ever day, each time solidifying her place as the only one for the job. But she wasn’t picked blindly. In looking through her portfolio it honestly felt like the perfect match. And that’s what this post is about, her wonderful work, pre and post Assumptions.
What is your background in Illustration?
I’ve been drawing from as far back as I can remember. I used to make weekly comic strips about my family and stick them on my bedroom door for my parents and brothers to giggle at. I never felt like I did particularly well in school but drawing was the one thing that I seemed to be consistently okay at, so when I realised that it was actually A Thing I could do to make a living with, rather than just a hobby, I was over the flipping moon. I did art in college and then studied graphic design at university, a wonderful course that allowed me to explore illustration techniques at the same time as learning about typography and grids and book design. I loved it.
What was your first paid creative gig?
Blimey…I can’t remember! I feel like I should have a weird or funny answer for this like “I drew my friend’s uncle’s dog a logo and got paid 10p “. Um, it might have been when I was in uni still. Buggered if I can remember what it was though, ha.
If you could take 1 year off from everything else to focus on a personal project, what would it be?
I would love to see if I could get a tattoo apprenticeship!
What artwork are you the most proud of?
That’s such a tough question – it’s so easy to start picking flaws in your work as soon as it’s finished and want to try to create something better. Earlier this year I created an artwork inspired by a line from Jurassic Park and it’s seemed to have gone down very well on The Internet. Just seeing how many people have bought prints of it, or reblogged it on Tumblr, or got it tattooed on them, I would say this is the work I am most proud of. It’s lovely and humbling to see something you initially created purely out of love to be enjoyed by so many.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I seem to get inspired by my favourite films and tv shows and books. I tend to become quite emotionally attached to particular characters (usually kick-ass ladies who I wish I was more like, or, y’know, dinosaurs) and then want to make art about them!
Any advice for future artists/illustrators?
Try not to worry if you think your work isn’t as good as that person’s, or you’ll never be as talented at this person…everyone is at a different stage of their ~creative career~ and we all have to start somewhere. Use the artists you admire as your drive to improve, not the reason you give up. Who’s to say what success really is anyway? If you’re doing it because you love it, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.