FK chats to the super talented Laura Blythman, the wonderful artist behind the Finders Keepers AW14 Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane event posters! Visit Laura’s online store to purchase your very own piece of artwork.
How would you describe the style of your work?
My style is hand drawn, perfectly imperfect, playful, vibrant, and cheerful. The end result is work that is fairly distinct with a commercial but personal vibe.
What is your background and what lead you to where you are today?
I’ve been creating pretty much my whole life and always knew I’d end up doing something to do with design. I spent a couple of years floating around after finishing school and then a friend gently nudged me in the direction of The Australian Academy of Design where I completed a BA in Graphic Design. I scored a job at Hallmark Cards Australia then moved to Cristina Re and then Typo (Cotton On) before branching out into the freelance world. Over the years I’ve designed so many different things – greeting cards, gift packaging, stationery, home office, home decor, textiles, apparel, custom illustration, hand-lettering, wedding and event stationery, brand identity, blogs, advertising, print collateral and website interface.
Lately I’ve been working more on self-initiated projects, collaborations and developing my own collections of work. I’ve been making time to experiment and play more – the stuff that makes me happy – and I’ve been thrilled to have a received a great response to this work. I’m still working on creating the perfect balance between my beloved client work and my personal creative pursuits.
Who are you favourite artists and what inspires your work?
I’m inspired by so many creative people in so many different ways! Lately I’ve been drawn to the work of Kasper Raglus and one of my best buddies, Pete Cromer. I also love the work of ceramic artist Bridget Bodenham.
Other inspiration comes from colour, nature, music/lyrics. At the moment I can’t stop listening to Arcade Fire while I work. A lot of really bad singing has gone into my latest collection of artwork.
What materials and mediums do you enjoy working with and exploring? And what other areas would you like to explore or expand into?
I work with lots of different mediums. I’m always sketching with lead pencils and pigment pens and painting with a mix of watercolour and acrylic. I stitch with neon thread and cut and paste with pretty much any paper I can find. I really love painting and layering paper and using gold leaf, the texture just makes my heart happy. For client work, I use all of the above plus my beloved iMac and Wacom tablet to finish things off and colour things up.
In the future I’d love to release more prints and artworks produced with specialty printing techniques, such as letterpress, screen printing and foils. This is very high on my ‘really-want-to-do’ list. Also, I’ve always really loved ceramics so one day I’d love to do a course or even just dive right in and start experimenting.
How has your creative style developed and what is your working process?
I’ve found that freelancing and working on my own projects has really allowed me to embrace my own natural style. My creative process is in a great place at the moment; each job begins with the humble pencil and paper, sketching and planning before getting really stuck into creating. Back in the days of being an in-house designer this wasn’t always the case. Time constraints and rigid briefs lent themselves more to just jumping straight on the Mac. I am definitely more comfortable and happy with my creative process now.
What advice would you give other artists/illustrators starting out?
After uni I started at the bottom with the big companies but I was always working on my own projects on the side and from that, things just kind of grew. It’s so important to focus on what comes most naturally to you and not force yourself into a certain style. I guess my advice is just play and experiment. Be prepared to work really hard, put your hand up for creative volunteer work, or to assist your favourite artist/designer on a project they are working on. Be brave and put yourself out there. Eventually your work will speak for itself and if people like what they see the opportunities arise from that.
What kind of clients have you got to work with, and what have been some of your favourite projects?
I’ve been super lucky to work with some great brands over my years as a freelance designer including: Tattyoo, T2 teas, La Madre Bakery, A Skulk of Foxes, Kiitos, Lark, Typo, Cotton On Kids, Clickon Furniture and Mr.Wolf Kids to name a few. I’ve been working with some other ace clients lately so stay tuned for some more exciting jobs to be released in the coming months.
Illustrative jobs are definitely my happiest place, whether it be a placement print, a suite of brand illustrations, character design or custom hand lettering. My clients place a lot of trust and confidence in me, which I love.
What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?
I’m secretly working on a job that has been on my list of dream opportunities and I can’t wait to be able to talk about that! Another big dream of mine is to work on a collaborative range for an awesome local or international fashion or homeware’s label! I also have so, so many very clever and creative friends who I’m hoping to collaborate with soon too.
Other than that I’m really focused on amping up my own brand, creating more art, exhibiting more and releasing more products. I love what I do and I feel like I am on a good path, I just have to keep going, keep saying yes to amazing opportunities and trust my instincts.