that she shares with a group of other Waikato creatives
You can buy sticker packs of these motivational ladies and dudes on Loryn’s Etsy store.
Guys, meet Loryn Engelsman. Loryn is 24, and a full-time illustrator. From a old Victorian-era commercial building in Hamilton (a studio she shares with a crew of other young freelance creatives), she creates hand-drawn type and character illos for brands, organisations and NZ magazines. Let’s just hand the rest over to Loryn, shall we?
What’s been your journey to becoming a full-time illustrator?
I am lucky enough to be able to say that drawing has always been a passion of mine – from a really young age I was an avid sketchbooker. Inspired by the illustrations of Quentin Blake, particularly his illustrations for Roald Dahl’s – The Twits, I only wanted to draw hideous people because they were so interesting to draw! This passion filtered throughout my schooling and I loved the way that I could draw something and get a laugh out of people or get an ‘ah-ha I can relate to that’ response.
I applied to The School of Media Arts at Wintec, not quite knowing what direction I would go – just knowing that I wanted to be a visual artist of some description. I ended up majoring in painting and throughout my studies I focused all my assignments on illustration.
During this time I was following other artists from all over the world, and I came to realise that most illustrators were freelancers and that this was the creative career I wanted to pursue.
I was lucky enough to receive a few design and illustration commissions while I was studying. Just before I graduated, I took a part time job to supplement my income while I started in the freelance game. I then spent the next few years working part time and taking on whatever freelance illustration and design jobs I could get.
In the early days I had massive doubts about whether or not this illustration career would ever work out. I then came to know Angela and Jayden Keoghan from illustration studio The Picture Garden. They helped me so much in these early years with advice, encouragement and answering the million questions I had about freelancing. I have been so lucky over time to have met more and more illustrators working as freelancers to get advice from, be inspired by and now call good friends.
Now, over time (with a lot of hard work) I have entered the realms of being a full-time creative.
What challenges have you pushed through on this career journey?
Working hard, but not overdoing it. I would send myself into burn out all too often because I didn’t know when to stop working and take a break.
Learning how to organise myself and use my time working efficiently so that I could have a life outside of work was a great lesson to learn. For me, using some apps (mostly free) apps online such as Toggl, Trello, Xero and Slack to keep track of my work and finances has helped so much in achieving the elusive work/life balance.
What have been some of the working highlights of the last year in terms of projects?
Early 2016 I was in Wellington visiting some friends and I had an afternoon to myself so I ended up filling a whole page in my sketchbook on how I saw Wellington city and posted it on Instagram, and it proved to be hugely popular. I then carried on making these based on different situations, topics or things that I have seen and putting them on the gram. A happy discovery that has opened up some new doors in my work already. I hope to make many more of these in the year to come!
What are you working on at the moment/what’s coming up for you in 2017?
First off this year I will be carrying on with my collaboration with the Live For Tomorrow project with Zeal where I will be creating a whole lot of illustrated content to increase awareness, encourage and inform young people of mental health issues.
Also, I am wanting to set aside more time to develop a range of products such a tees, patches, prints for my online store. And I have started working with some very talented design friends on some super exciting branding projects that I can’t wait to share with everyone!
So much to look forward to already this year!
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Up early, coffee, cycle into my shared studio space in town, set up for the day, check the news, prioritise tasks for the day, send emails and do some suuuper fun admin work, more coffee, get hyped from second coffee and get distracted by memes, distract studio mates with memes I have found, then launch into working on projects for the day, stop for lunch with studio mates, work all afternoon and into the evening on projects before a cycle home and spend the evening cooking and browsing the interweb.
What helps you be at your best creatively?
For me it’s all about keeping my eyes open to find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes brilliant ideas seem to just seem to strike as I am just watching the world happens, so carry a sketchbook and pencil case with me everywhere I go. I also try to regularly set aside some time where I can experiment, this involves having a slightly cynical attitude, my sketchbook, all my drawing tools close at hand and no pressure of coming up with any necessarily ‘good’ ideas.
What advice would you give to any one dreaming of becoming a career illustrator?
The way that you communicate ideas is totally unique to you so figure out early on exactly what your voice is and own it. For a long time when I started out I would try approaching briefs in the way I imagined some of my favourite other illustrators would. I would start sketching out all these super serious illustrations that would look fine, and do the job, but was not authentically my voice. Once I had identified and owned my voice as an artist I could approach new projects with confidence. For me figuring this out was a matter of getting some portfolio critique from peoples whose opinion I trusted and taking on board their advice.
Also, keep reminding yourself how lucky you are to be drawing what you love for a living! It’s amazing.
Finally, some quickies – what are you currently…
My Spotify mix of top songs from 2016, it’s mostly a tasty mix of D’Angelo, Tame Impala, James Blake, Last Shadow Puppets and Kendrick. Also, the new Leon Bridges, Coming Home album is really good!
ItsNiceThat.com – everrryday.
Reading or watching:
Reading – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Watching – Brooklyn Nine Nine and Last Man On Earth.
Sriracha sauce on everything, always.
Stretching more, sweating in the summer sun, getting sunburnt, watering plants, swimming, creating unrealistic wish lists on The Book Depository, trying to stay off Pinterest.
A trip to America this year. Also, being irresponsible with my finances and purchasing the unnecessary amount of books on my book depository list.