Laura Hilton-Smith kindly took part in our Leeds canvas project. We caught up with her via email to find out a little bit more about her.
Tell us about what you have created for our canvas project?
Most of my work explores my love of Japan and Japanese culture so I decided to cover my canvas in the cute mascot characters that are so common in Japan, you really see them everywhere – outside shops, on posters and packaging, even outside the police stations! I love that these cute characters are a part of everyday life over there.
Which materials did you use and why?
I used gouache paints and a Copic marker for the outlines. I usually work on paper with ink, markers and watercolours so these materials seemed like the best way to transfer my style onto canvas.
Where do you make most of your work?
I have a little studio at home where I do most of my drawing and illustrating. It’s also where I print and make my zines.
What are your favourite creative tools?
I use drawing pens a lot – my current favourites are Unipin Fine Lines and Staedtler Pigment Liners, they’re great for neat detailed work. For colour my favourite paints are a set of Japanese Kuretake watercolours which have a nice gel-like texture and create lovely rich vibrant colours. And, I would be lost without Photoshop! I use it to scan and edit all my work and prepare it for printing, it’s perfect for getting rid of all my little smudges and mistakes too.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
I love comics and graphic novels and there are a lot of very talented artists out there at the moment. I especially like Fumio Obata, Jiro Taniguchi and Glyn Dillon, their artwork is breathtakingly beautiful. It inspires me to work hard developing my own drawing and storytelling.
If you could only use one material in your work, what would it be and why?
I would have to choose one of my drawing pens, they’re so versatile, I use them for doodling, sketching ideas and creating detailed finished drawings too. I always carry one with me!
What was the best exhibition or art event you went to last year?
I think I’d have to say Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds. I was there as an exhibitor last year selling my zines and prints and it was a really great experience, everyone is really friendly and supportive and it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet other artists and creators as well as lots of enthusiastic comic and art fans. I met lots of lovely people who were interested in my work and just as passionate about Japan as I am.
If you had a tip for artists starting out, what would it be?
Something that I’ve learnt, and that I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out, is to just make work about what you love. Don’t worry too much about how popular or saleable your work might be or even what you plan to do with it, if you follow your passion and you can figure everything else out later.
You can see more of Laura’s work here.