*Heads up! This blog post contains images of artistic nudity*
Meet Laura of Illustryous, a wonderful Brighton based artist (and dear friend) who’s figurative illustrations incorporate the magical and fantastical. When she isn’t drawing mermaids and unicorns, Laura works as a life model and drawing tutor as part of Draw Brighton. Find out why she ran away to join the circus and bumped into a mermaid on Brighton beach!
Name: Laura Burgess
Occupation: Illustrator/Drawing Tutor
Current location: My studio, Brighton.
Sweet or Savoury? I just ate a whole bag of sweet and salted popcorn, so I prefer a combination!
Hero or Villain? I’d like to be a villain, but a kind of benign one.
Favourite decade? The ’60s, all that peace and love and flower power – although I probably have an overly romanticised ideal of it.
Favourite film? Breaking the Waves, by Lars Von Trier.
Describe Illustryous in five words: Ethereal, Figurative, Beautiful, Intriguing, Colourful.
How did Illustryous start? I finished my degree in Philosophy, and went off on a massive tangent, deciding to train myself up as an Illustrator. I took an art foundation course, and found life drawing to be the most exciting and inspirational aspect. My illustrations are all based around figures drawn from life, with patterned embellishments.
What is Draw Brighton and how did you become involved? Draw Brighton is the organisation I run life drawing sessions with, it is a collective of artists, models, performers and creatives. We run ‘Drawing Circus‘ events in theatres and other locations across the South East, a visually delightful performance in which hundreds of people come and engage with the act of drawing, sometimes for the first time. I also run the weekly themed life drawing sessions – which include a set and costumed model based around themes as diverse as Pandora’s Box, Poisonous Plants, and Mystical Creatures.
Photo from the Drawing Circus
Where do you get your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from the colourful characters around Brighton – my mermaid drawing is of Michaela, who busks on the beach as a mermaid in summer, blowing bubbles and combing her hair, in full mermaid costume. The human figure is hugely inspirational, most of my drawings are drawn from life; the act of sitting in front of, witnessing and then translating the form of another human being on to paper is something I find profound and moving. I find drawing the human figure is the very best way to improve one’s drawing, it is so challenging to get right – the subtle nuances in faces and proportions, yet so satisfying when you can capture something of the essence of a person with something as simple as a pencil and paper.
A Melody of Mermaids
What tool could you not live without and why? A 2H and a 4B pencil, I use them daily for my drawings, it is amazing what you can create with really low tech materials and turn into finished works.
If you could meet any other artist or designer who would they be and why? Audrey Kawasaki is a huge inspiration, I absolutely adore her work and drool over her website whenever I have any spare time. Her skill and vision as an artist is incredible, her aesthetic is absolutely stunning, and I’d love to create work as accomplished as hers.
Album cover design for Noir Musique
And finally… Any events or products to look forward to? I am working on some illustrations inspired by unicorns at the moment, and will be continuing to update my blog and shop with more work, so follow me there. Also, if you are lucky enough to live in the South East, The Drawing Circus runs monthly events at the Old Market in Hove. My themed life drawing sessions continue to run weekly, check out the Draw website for details.
Thanks Laura! Follow the links in the post to find more about Laura’s amazing work and the Drawing Circus.