Hey y’all, I’m Laura!
how it all started:
I grew up in Athens, Georgia as an only child. My dad traveled during the week and my mom stayed home with me. Mom played with me and I had friends that lived in our neighborhood, but I got really good at playing by myself and being creative with my time. Drawing is something I used to spend a lot of time doing, and I have lots of old drawings and sketches that Mom saved over the years. This one is probably my favorite. Can you guess what it is?
It’s a porcupine. (I pronounce it “porky-pine.”)
Another thing that I used to spend a lot of time doing is coloring. I LOVED coloring books, and I had an entire shelf on my bookcase full of coloring books. Some of my favorites growing up were the Barbie Doll ones. I would go through the entire book and color all the lips first, then start at the beginning and work my way through the book again. (Don’t judge.) I still collect coloring books today and probably have way too many for someone my age. Correction: you can NEVER have too many coloring books.
On the weekends when Dad was home, he and I roamed the outdoors. We would work in the yard (I probably picked up 5 million sticks and as many pine cones in my lifetime) or go for a walk in the woods, or drive to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls, or take a load of stuff to the dump… but my favorite was when we went on an adventure driving out through the country. We had this big green pickup truck and we would roll the windows down and just drive. I’ve always loved a good road trip (my kids - not so much).
All through school I doodled and drew and worked on my handwriting, so much so that I was always the one chosen to draw group presentations. I got to help teachers with their classroom bulletin boards, and I even helped the cheerleaders with their big posters and banners. After high school, I set off for college to become a commercial artist (or graphic designer) where I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a specialization in graphic design.
While I was still in college, I worked as a design intern and learned so much in those 6 months… how to lay out a book, how to add shadows in Photoshop, how to create a professional mock-up, how to remove backgrounds, and the list goes on and on. Where graphic design is concerned, you can’t beat real-life experience! Then after working more than 15 years in the corporate design world, I decided to quit my job and start my own freelance design and illustration business.
After moving to Auburn, Alabama in 2014, I started searching for a coloring book about my new home state. Five years later I am working on my third coloring book, Amazing South Carolina. My first book, Amazing Alabama, was released in 2017, and Amazing Georgia is due out September 2019.
I find inspiration for my artwork in the people I meet and the region I call home - in going on weekend trips (ROAD TRIP), touring local museums, trying out mom-and-pop restaurants (you meet the BEST people in local restaurants), and driving through small towns. My favorite art medium is pen and ink, but I also love to experiment with different supplies, styles, and techniques. When I’m not drawing and working on my hand-drawn line of stationery or coloring books, I enjoy spending time with my family and 2 pets at home in Auburn, cooking, watching old movies, reading, crocheting, painting, and (of course) drawing.
20 Fun non-artsy facts about me:
I played the handbells in high school. I went to a small private high school and handbells was one of my electives. I haven't picked one up in almost 25 years, but I can still remember my part in Carol Of The Bells.
I love the color orange. Red orange, sunset orange, pumpkin... LOVE!
I am obsessed with taking my shoes off. Seriously, as soon as we walk in the door, I flip them off - in the kitchen... much to the dismay of my husband.
I collect Chinese Checkers boards. I've got several and I'm always looking for "new" ones when I'm in antique stores and flea malls.
I'm an only child. No siblings... my Mom and Dad were my playmates.
I LOVE the smell of gardenias. We have a huge gardenia bush in our backyard and I cut a new batch of flowers every few days in the early summer to bring inside. One gardenia blossom can make an entire room smell HEAVENLY!
My favorite flower is a Black Eye Susan. They're so happy and sunny and I LOVE to see them growing wild on the side of the road.
I had a stuffed-animal goat when I was a kid and his name was "Goat Boy". Go on, laugh... I bet I'm ALSO the only person who had an airbrushed t-shirt of her goat stuffed animal. Ok, don't make fun - remember I said I was an only child? Yeah... at least my PARENTS thought I was cool.
I LOVE grape flavored stuff. Grape soda, grape bubble gum, grape koolaid, grape popsicles...
I love to read and re-read books. When I find a book I love, I will read it over and over again. I like to read new books too, but there's something neat about re-reading an old book... I ALWAYS find something new the second (or third) time I read it.
I love to cook, but I can’t make biscuits. Can I even call myself southern if I can't make biscuits?
Taco soup is probably my favorite meal to cook. It's so cheap and easy and I make a HUGE batch and we eat on it for at least 2 days. My husband likes to eat his with Tostitos Scoops.
I hate to vacuum. I put it off and put it off 'til I can't stand it anymore. We're talkin' dog hair blowing around like tumbleweeds. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t have shared that one.
I'm allergic to cats. Yes, I have a cat. Yes, I'm allergic to her. My allergies aren't as bad as they USED to be, but if the accidentally scratches me, I get all itchy and my skin swells up like a bug bite.
I LOVE pens. I have hundreds - felt tip, brush pens, fine tip pens, markers, gel pens, ball point pens, fountain pens. It's not an obsession - I prefer to call myself a connoisseur. For real.
I have a pair of Teva sandals that I bought in 1996 or 1997 and I'm still wearing them in 2019. I know they have made leaps-and-bounds in comfort, but my shoes still look brand new. If it ain’t broke - don't fix it (or buy new ones).
My younger daughter loves stuffed animals (specifically pigs), and I'm more than happy to buy them for her, because you know what? I love stuffed animals too.
If I had to choose my favorite meal, it would be pinto beans (cooked with ham), soupy taters, and cornbread with spicy chow chow. My Granny was an EPIC cook, and she could make an awesome meal out of the most humble of ingredients: a $0.99 bag of dried beans, some leftover ham, a $2 bag of potatoes, a little bit of butter, and some cornmeal.
I would LOVE to have a chicken coop in my backyard to have fresh eggs and sweet chickens clucking and pecking around. They're allowed in our city, but I don't have a fenced in backyard, so I need to figure that out first.
I like to sew. I don't do it very often anymore, but I used to love to be elbow-deep in a box of fabric scraps, piecing together a quilt or hemming pants or sewing curtains... I get a really awesome sense of accomplishment when I make something useful.