What’s up, Long Beach Friends!
Draw out your creative side (literally), tomorrow at our Hand Lettering and Design Workshop! Learn the art of hand lettering design with local artist, Lauren of Laurenish Design, on March 18th. Take home your hand lettered creation and the knowledge to MAKE more for any occasion. Let your hand writing be as beautiful as your message! We are so excited to welcome Lauren back to MAKE! And we can’t wait for her to guide us through the world of hand lettering and design!!! You can sign up for tomorrow's workshop HERE
Keep scrolling to learn more about the local artist with penmanship to die for, Lauren!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 30-year old artist living in beautiful Redlands, California with my husband and 1-4 foster kids depending on the week. (We are currently in the process of adopting a little guy who has been with us for over a year.) I work mostly from home, but travel around for lettering classes and day-of installations. Most of my work is centered around hand lettering, but I also do some illustration work and more traditional graphic design from time-to-time.
Tell us about your art. How did you get started? When did you know that hand lettering was one of your passions? I was always working on my lettering. Even in elementary school I was constantly changing the way I would write my letters. Kids in my class would ask me to write their names and I loved creating new writing styles. I didn’t think much of lettering as a skill until I was in college working on my art degree. A professor looked at a sketch I had done (that was supposed to be done digitally, but I didn’t have enough time to get it done - eek!), he told me to do more work like “this”. Eventually, I took his advice… and here we are!
What are some of your other creative passions?
I like drawing/illustration, that comes out in some of my design work. I have plans to move a little more towards illustration in the coming months with some local projects.
What kind of work did you do before hand lettering?
I’ve had a few design jobs, but I learned pretty early on that I wanted to run my own design business instead of working in someone else’s aesthetic. I didn’t have any money to start my business with so I just started taking part-time jobs and when my personal design work would pick up I’d drop one of the jobs and spend more time designing. At one point I was working 5 very part-time, sometimes seasonal jobs just so I could still do my own work on the side. I worked as an intern for USA Today working with their action sports website, designing images for articles and meeting some of the athletes. I was an adjunct professor, I nannied and tutored, Summers were usually spent working at a camp in the mountains… I was all over the place, and slowly building my business. I finally quit my last part time job in 2014 and have been my own boss ever since.
How has your design background help you succeed in your beautiful lettering?
I talk about this in my Hand Lettering & Design class; how to plan a piece and prioritize, or to solve problems with a piece using concepts of good design. My classes are definitely design based. I don’t want students walking away thinking that they just have to copy me or another artist to create something great, instead I give them the building blocks for creating something of their own.
What things are you inspired by today? What projects are you working on right now? How long do they usually take?
Inspiration is everywhere lately. I am particularly in love with my neighborhood in Redlands, California. It’s full of older structures like the Arts District in Long Beach - I am an architecture novice, but until i have time to learn more, I am enjoying the view.
Right now I am in the throws of pre-wedding season, so I have a lot of projects coming in that are wedding related (signage, envelope addressing, etc.); but i am hoping to take a bit of a hiatus this Summer to work on some new illustration projects and maybe a few more pre-fabricated items for local shops.
I usually work on a short timeline, anywhere from a couple days to 2 weeks, but projects that are printed (not hand-drawn) take a lot more planning.
What do you love most about hand lettering? What is the hardest aspect?
I most enjoy lettering envelopes for events - most people think it’s such a tedious task, but I really love it. Each envelope is a collaborative composition between me and the post office… and I have a nerdy crush on the USPS.
Some commissioned pieces can be a pain. I try not to take on any projects that I won’t enjoy, but from time to time a client can suddenly become a little too picky or perfectionistic. I like having a little humanity in my work… 99% of the time I am working with clients who agree.
What are your goals for your art?
I want my work to be inspiring, beautiful, and affordable.
Do you have a favorite piece you have made?
There have been so many! I love when I come across a piece from the past that maybe I have forgotten about, that someone is still cherishing and displaying in their home or business.
Tell us about the workshop, Hand Lettering and Design? What will you be teaching?
We start off the class with a bunch of exercises to get us out of our comfort zone; slowly switching from writing our letters to drawing them with intention. We’ll cover a few ways to decorate and generally upgrade your lettering and we’ll end with techniques for setting up a great design composition.
What is next for you?
I’m hoping to restructure my business a bit and put more emphasis on items I can sell in my shop, while still providing lettering services for addressing and signage. There is a VERY large demand for digitized hand lettering for signage or logos, but I prefer more physical projects… in the next couple months I’ll continue to make the switch away from my computer so I can do more of the hands-on work that I love.
Advice or tips for how to be creative?
Most of my creativity comes from being observant and being willing to take risks. When looking for inspiration for a piece I don’t spend time searching on the internet for something I can try to re-create… instead I will put the project aside and spend some time running errands or wondering around town. I try not to rush, I take the time to look around, and I treat my world as a museum. Even if I am doing something as mundane as shopping at Target I will find myself in random sections looking at labels, shapes, etc thinking about what I like and don’t like about a design, considering what I would have done different. When it’s time to work, I’m not afraid to spend hours on sketches - especially for a project that doesn’t feel creative. Sometimes it’s the first draft of 100 that turns out to be my favorite, but I’ll make sure that I’ve exhausted all of my options before settling.
What is your ideal day in Long Beach like?
I grew up in Cypress, so I spent quite a bit of time in Long Beach before moving East. Every time I’m out that way, my friends who live there take me to another new restaurant that I love - it’s can be hard to find good vegan food in the Inland Empire. But an ideal day would be Spring in afternoon so I could catch a Dirtbags game and Winter in the evening so I could ride a boat around Naples looking at lights - two of my favorite activities from growing up. Add some great food, a few of my local friends, and it sounds like a dream!
Learn more about Lauren at @laurenishdesign
Also, don't forget check our upcoming workshops, HERE.
Keep scrolling for pictures from our last Hand lettering and Design workshop with Lauren!
We hope to see you tomorrow!
Written by Bree Castillo
Your Summer Wardrobe is Here... l MAKE is featured in this article in a special collaboration with local Long Beach magazine LB Home + Living and our dear friend Rachel of Rachel Off Duty