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Q&A with Laura Wood

Freelance Illustrator | Childrens book illustrations, digital apps & magazines

My name is Laura Wood and I work as a freelance illustrator.

I'm originally from Italy, I've recently become an Australian citizen and I'm currently spending my days in the beautiful and interesting city of Bristol.

You can find my work mostly in children's books, digital apps, educational books and magazines.

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

It took me a very long time to understand that I wanted to become an illustrator.

Before that, I was very unsatisfied and miserable in my professional life. Waking up on Mondays was a real struggle. I was working as a video editor and I was surrounded by people who were truly passionated about their work. I wasn't and I was feeling incredibly guilty about it... this made me revaluate a few things.

I decided that life was too short to feel like that every day. It took me a while to gather enough courage to quit my job and enrol in a 2 years Illustration course. The hardest thing was to communicate my decision to everybody I knew. I was so afraid they thought I was going nuts.

Now I've been doing this job for three years and so I'm grateful I made that decision. I don't fear Mondays anymore, I love going to work and I feel fulfilled from my job.

So far I've managed to make a living out of this profession but I must admit life as a freelance illustrator is neither economically easy or stable. However, with lots of hard work and dedication I will hopefully manage to achieve a perfect life\work balance... at least that's the dream!

What design software do you use?

Once I have drawn everything by hand using pencils, I like to use Photoshop to colour my illustrations.

I like to mix the traditional feel of the pencil with the digital easiness of the software.

In fact, I've noticed book publishers want to have traditionally looking images but also having the possibility to change things quickly, if required. So this is a combination that works really well for me, allowing me to achieve both things at once.

Where does your design inspiration come from? 

Inspiration for me always comes from the act of sharing and comparing ideas, point of views, dreams, projects or different cultures and backgrounds with other people and artists.

Also I spend a lot of time browsing other people's blogs and websites. It's always very inspiring for me to look and admire other people's work.

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What is your ideal work environment?

I feel very lucky that my ideal work environment is the one I'm working in at the moment.

I currently have a desk in a studio space shared with other illustrators, designers and visual artists. It's a quirky and welcoming space, sort of a dream come true for me.

I really love cycling to my studio everyday, looking at what other illustrators are working on, sharing tips and advice with likeminded people, socialising during lunch but also having my quiet time at the desk.

In the past, I tried to work from home and it didn't work out for me. I was so incredibly bored and I was feeling so isolated from the rest of the world. After a few weeks I understood that wasn't a situation I could have beard for long.

I must say I tried a couple of other studio spaces before finding the right one for me.

I believe it's not easy to find a studio that suits your needs but it makes such a big difference when you find the right space where to create your work.

Who is the person you admire most?

If I have to pick some names from the best of the best, I'm definitely can't have enough of Quentin Blake, Richard Scarry, Beatrix Potter and Mary Blair's work.

Talking about more contemporary and younger talents, I'm totally in love with the work of Julia Sarda, Isabelle Arsenault, Chuck Groenink, Meg Hunt and Clotilde Perrin.