Laura Darling

Illustrator: class of 2021

Laura is an illustrator living in Dundee, Scotland, where she works from a shed at the bottom of her garden. Her playful, hand-drawn illustrations appear on walls, as maps, in booklets, activity books and a graphic novel and even as animations. She studied illustration at Edinburgh College of Art.

Laura says: “My practice is guided by noticing and I use illustration as a means of understanding my surroundings; people; places; histories. Being directed by observation leads me to illustrate myriad topics that may delight, educate, amuse or challenge. Primarily working in pencil, paint and ink, I combine hand-drawn layers using traditional and digital printing methods, creating playful and engaging illustrations.”

Laura has experience working with community groups and has already won a number of awards including.

Laura was mentored by Chris Haughton

“I began the mentorship with a picture book idea about a girl so engrossed in a map that she doesn’t notice dinosaurs appearing everywhere. Chris suggested I experiment with mark-making and find dinosaurs in the marks. This playful process revealed new, surprising characters in my sketchbook. Next, we examined my storyboard. Chris encouraged me to edit out anything unnecessary, and I took time to write (and rewrite) a text that I enjoyed reading aloud. With the story in place, I produced a rough dummy book. We went through the book page by page, analysing every aspect from text placement and composition to facial expressions and body language. We repeated this process after each redraft. Chris showed me how to make my jokes land and how to ensure every detail was helping to tell the story. He helped me to create a book I’m really happy with, and shared many brilliant tips that I can apply to future projects.”