"I was always a creative kid" - Lauren Lowen

Our own Lauren Lowen answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. Definitely something with a performance element to it. I loved being in plays and musicals in high school, and in another lifetime I would have ended up applying to theatre programs instead. In my art there is a focus on characters and deep love for them. When I’m not creating characters on paper, I’m on stage embodying them!

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Describe your earliest artwork.

A. I was always a creative kid. I remember stumbling upon an old art project where the objective was to draw what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said “artist” with a drawing of me by a framed piece of art in a gallery. It was first grade or so, which puts me at about 6 years old. However, it probably wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 that I really considered it as a serious path. At the time, I was copying all my brother’s comic books and anime I found online (yup, I was one of those kids). I drew silly comics about my bird character with the genius name of “Bird-O” and even started a comic that was inspired by superhero characters like X-Men. That seems so long ago!

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Q. What advice would you give to a young person who is just beginning an art career?

A. First of all, you don’t have to be everything to everyone out there. Meaning that it’s OK if your work doesn’t fit with every client or market. I have a thing I do and have been fortunate enough to find the people who need and love my particular skills. This means that some companies or clients that I think are really awesome may not ever need me, and I’m at peace with that. (However, I have been pleasantly surprised at times. You never know!) Many artists ask themselves “What artwork do I have to make to get hired?” and although this is an important question, you really should ask yourself “What is the work I want to be making?” You should answer THAT question first, then move on to finding the proper homes and venues for your art. Do you create funky hand-lettering? Cool, try making some fun greeting cards with it and approach stationery companies for licensing. Or create portfolio pieces that show it being used as a magazine cover and approach editorial clients. Think about what you do and how it can be applied in different scenarios.

Lauren's My Super Sweet Scented Sketchbook for Klutz Books!

Wow, I'm so happy to show some interior pages of my new book out with Klutz, My Super Sweet Scented Sketchbook! 

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Lauren Lowen's perfectly cute illustrations bring this terrific new KLUTZ book to life! The Super Sweet Scented Sketchbook (complete with scented markers)!
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laurenlowen_KLUTZ

This was an absolute dream project and I couldn't be happier with how the finished product came out. Klutz was an AMAZING client to work with and their design team took my art to a whole new level! BONUS: it comes with scented markers that have faces and even EARS. How cute is that?  Enjoy! — Lauren

Lauren Lowen's 3 Tips For Better Social Media

Every once in a while, I like to write about a topic I covered with my college students. One of the most relevant subjects for today’s world is social media and how to use it effectively. We discuss this for quite a bit in the classroom, but here are some quick tips for you to enjoy.

1)   Remember that Likes and Followers don’t always translate to dollar signs. This is one of the most important things to understand when it comes to social media. You start a Facebook fan page or Instagram account and suddenly have tons of followers! So why aren’t the contracts and big deals rolling in? Well, that’s because you have to realize that social media isn’t so much about obtaining followers and higher numbers. The point is to nurture contacts and network, in order to create opportunities. So even though you have a thousand people in your audience, if you aren’t taking that next step to really make something out of it, than it doesn’t matter. People are watching, so now what? Do you want to create a dialogue? Put on a group show? Offer to do some special commissions for the first lucky three people who take up the offer? Followers on social media are like tools: you can build something with them, but just letting them sit in the garage isn’t going to result in anything.

The numbers don't count - the relationships do, so  socialize with your followers. 

The numbers don't count - the relationships do, so socialize with your followers. 

2)   Your personal pages can be just as important as your “fan page” on Facebook. Imagine that you go to a cocktail party held by a colleague. Lots of people from your industry are there. You spot one important someone and introduce yourself. Great! Good for you. Then you stroll over to the buffet table to get something to nibble on. While there, you start talking to some friends and maybe say a couple of things that could be controversial or maybe even just downright unprofessional (because that important so-and-so is way across the room, so it doesn’t matter, right?). However, other people go to the buffet table to get some food. You don’t even know who they are at the moment, but maybe they had a good lead or connection for you. Well, guess what? Those people left the table with some sort of impression of you that may (even on just a subconscious level) determine if they want to recommend you or work with you in the future.

Lauren's tiger is not one bit shy about Social Media!

Lauren's tiger is not one bit shy about Social Media!

The point is, even with your “professional” or business page on Facebook and such, you can’t ignore the power of interactions that you do every day on your personal accounts. The Internet makes people way too comfortable when it comes to megaphoning every thought and opinion we may have, and whether you like it or not, your personal presence online does affect you professionally. Whether you are in a social online group with others in your industry or taking a continuing education class at your local college, handle yourself in a professional way that makes others remember you in a positive light. For myself, people that have started connecting with me online for personal reasons have flourished into some great professional contacts.

3)   Don’t let Social Media be your only Marketing tool. Social media is like the mayonnaise on your marketing sandwich: it really makes it all come together, but it can’t be the only ingredient. Make sure you aren’t ignoring the rest of your marketing campaign! This may include mailings, press kits, in-person tradeshows, or sending submissions to companies or venues you want to work with in the future. It’s also pertinent to remember that some of the best connections are still made face-to-face. Have coffee with an old instructor. Join a local sketch group. Become a member of local professional chapters if they are in your area. There are probably some great resources where you live, and these things can compliment a strong online social media presence.

When making a "marketing sandwich", use whole wheat bread for more nutrition in your social media diet.

When making a "marketing sandwich", use whole wheat bread for more nutrition in your social media diet.

Thanks for reading! I hope you got a few things out of these tips for social media and are on your way to reaching your goals. - Lauren

Lauren leaps into SURTEX 2015!

This week, I am counting down the (5!) days until SURTEX by featuring sneak peeks of each artist's work. Sharpen your pencils - this is a good one!

Tuesday is for Lauren and her snarky sensibility, inborn humor, fantastical lettering and scrumptious line work. Clients are eating up her work, with all sorts of licenses and commissions for editorial maps, suitcase fabric design and greeting cards galore. Once again, I am tickled pink (shades of indigo, actually) to represent this über-cool, super-fine talent! I'm thinking temporary tattoos next! What about you? Something tells me, your product would sell better with a little Lauren mixed in! Visit Lauren in Booth #559 or contact me for to see the more than 150 illustrations in Lauren's archive! - Jennifer

GUEST BLOGGER: Kathy Bean shares her embroidery of Lauren's work!

What a thrill to hear from embroidery artist Kathy Bean! Kathy liked a piece of art by our own Lauren Lowen so much, she rendered it with needle and thread. So cool! Here's the story in Kathy's own words: "I learned the basics of embroidery as a child but only picked it back up again recently after seeing so many beautiful things others were making on Instagram. When I began teaching myself some specialty stitches, I wanted to challenge myself further than the samplers and patterns that were already available on the Internet. Last summer I began following Lauren Lowen's Instagram feed. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon her work but I fell in love with the whimsy and playful colors right away. 

So when I decided to try my hand at a more intricate embroidery pattern, I thought of Lauren’s artwork. I chose the girl because of the movement in the composition and the color palette. Plus, she makes me smile! I messaged Lauren to ask if it would be okay if I used elements from her images as a template and she agreed!

In the photos you'll see my process, which I think is fairly standard. I chose selected elements from Lauren's painting and transferred them onto tracing paper. Then I cut them out and rearranged them into a somewhat smaller composition. I used the window as a light box to trace the images onto my fabric with an embroidery marker. The fabric I used is from Cotton & Steel basics.

Then I selected a color palette in DMC floss that complemented Lauren's original work as well as the fabric I chose. Since I was using this project as a way to practice certain specialty stitches, I tried to repeat the same motifs throughout the piece. Some of the specialty stitches I used are burden stitch, blanket stitch, satin stitch, leaf stitch, double chain stitch and French knots.

I quite enjoyed making this delightful little piece! I appreciate Lauren's enthusiasm about the project as well. Now I have to decide just how to finish it so I can hang it up!”

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- Kathy Bean (you can follow Kathy on instagram as: emi.roos