Maker Profile: Laura Supnik, Illustrator
Hi Laura! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m an illustrator and fashion business student currently living in Brooklyn, New York. I was born in Philadelphia and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I love dogs, flowers, and the color mustard. My illustrations are super simple yet whimsical.
When did you begin illustrating and how did you know that this was a path that you wanted to take?
My family is extremely creative so I have been surrounded by art from an early age. I've been taking art classes ever since I can remember - oil painting, charcoal, still life, portraiture… but senior year of high school I discovered Marc Johns artwork and really fell in love with the simple yet relatable aspect of it. I wanted to illustrate from then on.
How have your designs evolved over the years?
Definitely in the way I put detail into things. I think a lot of people think illustration is easy because it's such a simple way of creating something, and is often small and less detailed than other forms of art. But you can’t just hop into being an illustrator; I've been studying art since I was six- learning to draw proportions, details, shadows, and THEN used that knowledge in my illustrations. So I'm constantly weighing how and where to add detail in my drawings, and learning new things, as well as using my past knowledge of art to enhance my new knowledge of it.
What role has your living in New York played in the development of your designs?
It's so wonderful! It inspires me every day. New York is a million different cities at one time, and I'm very much a person who likes to change up the scene and see new things. I love being in an area like Central Park, and then taking the train 20 minutes and being in the village, surrounded by brownstones and cherry trees. It's a great way of gaining constant inspiration.
What is your favorite aspect of your illustration process?
I carry a sketchbook with me wherever I go and make notes in it. Whether it's a journal entry about what I did that day, a poem, lyrics to a song I like, or a full drawing, I think it's important for me to constantly be creating. Something big can always come from something small if you let it.
What is one of the biggest discoveries you’ve made about yourself?
I'm very independent! Living in New York has allowed me to wander around and explore every day. This makes me more comfortable doing things on my own, meeting new people, and traveling to new places. I think it's great to be able to spend time with yourself, as well as have that time to spend with others.
What are some of your favorite collaborations you have worked on? What can people look forward to seeing from you coming up?
I've done two different things for Man Repeller, which I love. It's a publication I read every day, so having my work on their site is such an accomplishment for me. I'm currently collaborating with sweetgreen, which is AWESOME because their salads are fantastic, and I love their whole concept. I'm popping up at different locations around NYC and doing custom drawings for those who RSVP ahead of time (+ a free salad)! I currently have some things in the works for the future, but nothing's set yet.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
Art is constantly evolving, so if I become less passionate about one thing I'm drawing, I can move on to something else - or work on it until I do become passionate about it! It's what makes me passionate about art itself, that ever changing aspect of it.
Why do you think it’s important to shop small and support local makers?
Because of the personal component that comes with it. A lot of big companies produce artwork where I know nothing about the artist. I think people like to be able to relate to the artist, I know I do! With small businesses, I know who made it, and have easier access to talking with them about their work! With local makers, you also know how much heart was put into it rather than big companies who mass produce and don’t often create their own work.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face as being an artist?
As a result of me mostly posting my work on social media, a lot of people repost my work without giving me credit. It's hard because I spend a lot of time on my drawings and people ignore that! Basically, give credit where credit is due. Then there have also been issues where people have blatantly copied my artwork and said that they were the ones who created it, not me. It's so frustrating! And illegal! I've had to look into lawyers for copyright infringement before and it's not a fun time. I do love when people post drawings with a similar style to mine that say “inspired by Laura Supnik” - I'm all for that, and am so appreciative. But copying is a different story!
How do you manage a work/life balance?
My work is very influenced by my personal life, so it kind of blends together. Sometimes I create art for me, and sometimes I create it for others. I get stressed pretty easily though so I've been working on setting aside time to do yoga, go for a walk, or something where I'm able to focus on one thing that's not art for a little. I make lots of lists, which help me stay organized as well.
Do you have any self-care rituals?
I love yoga. Not for the physical activity as a whole but for the fact that it helps me stay calm. I used to have pretty bad anxiety and it's still there sometimes, but yoga helps me with that. Also I know that when I need to take a day off to focus on myself, I have to do that! Work is such a prominent thing nowadays, people are working even when they stop working, constantly checking emails etc. But I know that I need a break sometimes, and that's important for everybody.
What are some of your short term goals?
I keep saying I'm going to do this, but I would love to publish a book of illustrations. That's the main thing right now once I have some more time on my hands.
Would you like to share any of your long term goals and creative aspirations?
To have my own gallery! I want to open a gallery space one day showcasing my art, as well as other artists’ work. Maybe have it be a coffeehouse / small music venue? I don't really know yet, I have a lot of ideas!
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support other women?
I'm a big believer in people supporting people in general! Men supporting men, women supporting women, men and women supporting each other equally. When everyone is nice to each other, things get done quicker and better. Everybody goes through different levels of the same things, so on some level we can all relate to each other in different ways - this is especially true with women. And in the year 2017 women have an especially strong bond to one another in the sense that sadly in a lot of ways, we are not treated with that equality that we deserve. So it's extra important for us to encourage one another as women, and lift each other up.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Carson Ellis are some of my favorite illustrators. Claire Geist (fashion mogul and boss lady) was the first person who made me want to move to New York - I love her personal style, and I've followed her blog since I was 16. Alexa Chung is also always one of my faves.
What do you wish more people knew about you?
I play the guitar! My family is extremely musical so I've been playing the guitar since I was seven years old. I used to play a lot more through high school and wanted to work in the music industry for awhile when I was younger but have since been less involved. My brother plays the drums in a band, my dad’s an amazing drummer as well, and my boyfriend sings and plays guitar in a band, so I'm still constantly surrounded by music. It's great, and inspires me with my art too!
What are some of your favorite places in New York?
The West Village is 100% is my favorite place. Classic brownstones, cobblestone streets, colorful doors. My favorite coffee shop, Grounded - is in that area. So I love sitting there and people watching. I love the High Line, and the MoMA, and the cafe that is in my favorite movie “You’ve Got Mail” (Café Lalo).