If the illustration industry was high school, I would have jumped up several rungs of the “coolness ladder” because of befriending this uber-talented lady Laura Jacobsen .
I had the opportunity to meet her through my buds and fellow November Interviewers Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal at a cozy little illustration conference. When I walked in and sat down, I looked over at Laura and knew, KNEW that she had her act together. So I spent most of the day avoiding her out of absolute intimidation. What was worse was that she was funny. Really funny. The dry deadpan humor you could crack a tooth on. I was teetering between loathing her and loving her. It just wasn’t fair. And then-the passing of portfolios happened. I really wanted her stuff to stink, it would just bring balance to the universe. But it didn’t.
It was amazing.
The line work, the expressions, the perspective, the detail, the Detail, THE DETAIL…
My head was spinning…
Beads of sweat made watery tracks along my hairline as I saw her take a hold of my portfolio. I had poised my body to grab it and make a break for my car to drive home and take comfort in tube of cookie dough and “When Harry Met Sally”, but instead my eyebrows shot up straight out of my head as Laura looked at my work, jerked her head up and said “Who’s is this?!” My meek voice said “Mine”. The coolest, most popular girl in the illustration industry said “I love this.”
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Laura Jacobsen who describes herself as a children’s illustrator, dog mama and baker of a mean butterscotch oatmeal cookie.
1. Once you decided illustration was the career for you, what were the first steps you took to achieving your goal?
I joined SCBWI and read everything I could get my hands on about the profession. Then I spent about a month working up the courage to call an illustrator that I discovered lived close to me. Lucky for me, she generously overlooked my pestering, and invited me along to my first illustrator’s meeting. I learned a lot from just listening to that group.
2. Put your pride aside for a moment and share some of your first mistakes starting out…
This mistake still haunts me, not getting OUT THERE when I was young and energetic and seeing and soaking up all I could about illustration. Now I’m old, all my clothes have weird stains and dog hair on them and there’s kind of a chilly breeze out there, so you see my dilemma. Thankfully, the internet has made it so much easier, and I spend a lot of my spare time searching out new things to inspire me. Yes, yes, that’s why I spend so much time on Pinterest– to INSPIRE me.
3. How do you maintain a daily routine of writing/illustrating when it is so completely different from a day to day job?
I learned discipline pretty quickly my freshman year of art school. Few things are more satisfying that crossing something off a mile long to-do list. Well, maybe peeling a sunburn. If I need a quick kick in the pants, I just get on Facebook and get bombarded with over-achievers half my age. That will get me running back to the drawing board every time. Or in front of a bus.
4. What is one thing that has helped you to get noticed in this sea of illustrators?
I don’t think I have been noticed, but anecdotal-y, I think that constant promotion and face time both through social media and at conferences is the best way. That and writing /illustrating a NYT bestseller. Either way.
5. What one piece of advice would you give to a young illustrator?
Don’t wait for the work to come to you. Create you own work and only put out there what you want to do.
Another example of how FREAKING cool Laura is…she is giving away an original illustration! So hustle up and leave a comment here!
Like Laura on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter and RT: RT @LauraJacobsen1 Enter to win an original illustration #giveaway
Tune back in next week when we’ll wrap up this month of mini-interviews with the wonderful Juana Martinez Neal!