Drawing A Crowd
May 16, 2015
Laura Callaghan gets us.
There’s just something about her illustrations that make us want to jump right into them and join the seemingly endless party. Really though, who wouldn’t want to live in a vibrantly-colored land dominated by femme fatales in killer ensembles?
The Irish artist—who now calls London home—specializes in rendering her signature badass babes in milky pastels, brilliant neons, and bold primary colors for brands and publications like Urban Outfitters, Refinery 29, and Office Shoes. Not only that, but she’s well on her way to becoming a comic book artist, too. Since her subjects are always flaunting hair that’s on point, flawless outfits, and eyebrows on serious fleek, we wanted to know a bit more about the artist herself.
Get to know the girl behind the girls here.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I really admire the work of comic book artists, it’s such a difficult nut to crack. I’m in awe of anyone who can craft an engaging story. There are so many great female cartoonists out there. At the moment I really love Jillian Tamaki and Celine Loup.
What inspires the vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and beautiful girls that you draw?
I just want to cram as much color and detail in an image as possible…it’s imagery as escapism!
Your girls have such amazing style, where do you get the ideas for their outfits?
Mostly online. Sometimes I’ll see an outfit in real life and make a mental note of it, but 90% of the time I’ll get a kernel of an idea from Tumblr, or search for a certain cut or look and make a Pinterest board. A lot of the time I’m drawing things I would love to wear but don’t exist or I can’t afford!
You draw your girls with somewhat fuller, curvier bodies, which is awesome! Was that intentional?
Yeah it is intentional. I think a fuller figure is more relatable amongst young women. I’ve worked in fashion illustration for a few years now and the most common change that’s requested from clients is to slim down a character’s hips, waist, etc. It’s disheartening that the industry thinks only one type of figure is acceptable or desirable.
What is a normal day like for you?
It depends on the day of the week. I work as an in-house graphic designer for a company Monday to Wednesday, so I usually do a few hours drawing when I come home from work on those days. The rest of the week is usually dedicated to illustration. I recently started renting a studio space so I’ll decamp there Thursday to Sunday. It’s my mission to start taking one weekend day off though—we’ll see!
Is there a girl you draw that looks similar to you?
Haha, it’s not something I actively want to do but I do take a lot of reference photos to get the position of hands right, so I’m sure some characteristics make their way into my illustrations!
What materials do you use for your illustrations?
I work in two ways so it depends on the drawing, for editorial work I usually draw the linework with Isograph pen then scan and color digitally in Photoshop. When it comes to paintings I sketch first in pencil then use watercolor and gouache to paint flat colors and details and finally line in Isograph pen.
What would you be doing if you weren’t illustrating?
If I wasn’t involved in the creative industry in some way I think I would have liked to work in the medical field.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be participating in a few comic fairs over the summer, so really want to try get a short self-published comic out by August!