Ever wondered about the artist drawing those fantastic pieces of fanart you reblog on Tumblr or favorite on deviantArt? Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with artists who bring the characters from your favorite young adult books to life.
Lauren Baldo is a college graduate with a Bachelor of Science in industrial design from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. He currently lives in the Philippines and works as a freelance artist. His works consist mainly of illustration and his skills include painting, a little bit of graphic designing, and sewing, among others. His artwork features books such as The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, More Than This by Patrick Ness, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
Some authors, like Rainbow Rowell, write so vividly that reading their works feels like having experienced them first-hand, like a memory. And it’s not just about the imagery, it’s also about the feeling. Translating these words into art flows naturally because I feel like they’re mine.
Is there any other influences you used (besides the book) included in your art?
Absolutely. My artistic influences include Vincent Van Gogh, Hayao Miyazaki, Tetsuya Nemura, and the manga artists CLAMP.
What was your favorite reaction you’ve received?
When my family found out about my Eleanor and Park artwork getting published, it felt like they were prouder of me than I was of myself and it was a very heart-warming thing to see. Also, my mom crying.
What’s your process? What type of medium/art programs do you use or prefer?
I always start with a light pencil drawing first and then deciding a light source. My coloring is a little bit messy because it’s always experimental. Most of the time I end up using mixed media. Pencil and watercolor are my favorite combination. I also use Adobe Photoshop for post processing.
Do you have any tools you like to work with?
I just recently transitioned into full acrylic and canvas painting and I have to admit, it was hard. But I love the natural texture of canvas and I’m looking forward to using it more. When it comes to line art and watercolor painting, I’m very particular about the grammage and texture of the paper I use. I love textured papers and I feel like finding the right one is half the battle.
Is there any special place where you like to do your work?
I don’t really have a special place, but I like driving around in my car by myself and stopping every once in a while in cafes with a pencil and notebook in hand. But to answer your question exactly, I like doing most of my work in my room.
What is your proudest piece?
It changes every day, but right now my proudest piece is the most recent one I finished, which is a fan art of the book The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, because it’s my first ever canvas painting that I completed all the way through. It was a really good learning experience.
Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I would definitely want to open up a physical shop one day (hopefully before this year ends) to sell my art and other creations. I recently finished a short course in basic pattern making and sewing and I would like to integrate that into my planned store as well.
What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
All my life I’ve been surrounded by people who work at a job they hate, people who eventually got stuck and are rarely happy. That’s why I refuse to settle. And what I learned is that at some point you have to put your dreams above anyone else’s and you have to believe it’s worth it. Because it is.
What encouraged you to share your fanart?
When I do something out of love and passion the only thing that makes sense to me is to share it. Otherwise it feels like cheating.
Be sure to check out Lauren’s Tumblr and deviantArt for more of his artwork.