Lauren Mortimer is a London-based illustrator who works primarily in pencil.
Her ability for tone, texture, and realism, enables her to adapt and draw a variety of subjects to suit any brief.
Drawing influences from nature and surrealism, she captures an air of curiosity and wonder.
Her latest book ‘Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist’ for Running Press Publishers not only conveys her distinct style, but also demonstrates her ideas through narrative. She has worked for other impressive clientele including Penguin, BBC, Elle magazine, and The Sunday Times Magazine.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Lauren: I've always loved creating, for as long as I can remember. I was a very shy child and used to sit quietly making and drawing things. I studied Fashion Promotion, and when I graduated, I decided to pursue illustration, as it just excited me more and felt right. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Lauren: Yes, I studied Fashion Promotion at Central Saint Martins. Question: Where are you originally from? Lauren: I was born in Tuscon, Arizona. I came to London when I was about 2 years old though so I don't remember it! I've never been back there since, so it's a bit of mystery to me. I call London my home. I grew up in Barnes, South-West London. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Lauren: I live in Whitechapel. I moved over to East London when I was studying, because I loved it's creative environment and it's where I spent most of my time. Most of my friends live in East London too. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Lauren: I work from home, in Whitechapel. I generally have a lot of 'things'! Like books, pictures, cameras and ornaments. But everything has its place and I always know where I've put something. I would call it organized chaos. Question: Describe the view from your studio window? Lauren: I love the view from my window! I live at the top of the house so I can see Canary Wharf, houses, a park and lots of trees. It's beautiful at all times of day, and I get the most of the natural light. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Lauren: My Mum. She has always told me that I can do whatever I want to in life, as long as it's what I love to do and it makes me happy. She's always given me great and honest advice and, annoyingly sometimes, she's right most of the time! Question: How do you get your ideas? Lauren: I tend to draw the things I love; such as nature and vintage illustrations of children for example. I also browse through other imagery from books or the Internet and that will inspire me too. Ideas can develop from something small and can change into something bigger and completely different.
Question: Do you collect anything? Lauren: Brooches; I don't wear jewellery but I'll almost always be wearing a brooch! Matches; I have a huge bowl of them. I also have a lot of berets! Pretty much one of every colour. But I don't really collect them; I just like them a lot! Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Lauren: I used to keep folders of all the images that inspired me that I'd torn out from books and magazines. Now I keep a scrapfile on my computer instead. It's a sign of the times! Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Lauren: I like to watch films. A couple of months ago I also got given a map of 'Untamed London' which shows places where nature still runs wild in the big city. I'm trying to make it every place that's listed on it. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Lauren: The children's book, called 'But It's True' is probably the most satisfying project I've completed. Although it took a long time to do, having a book filled with my illustrations is a great achievement. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Lauren: My dream job would be working for a big brand or company that I really respected, and that I was proud of. I would be delighted if Liberty wanted me to do something with them, as I've always loved their branding and get a little giddy in their fabric department! Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Lauren: New York. I lived there for a few months and I loved it. It's like London, only everything is open later, it's smaller, taller, there's always new places to go, and the subway's open 24hrs. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Lauren: I'd definitely go back to the late 1950's/early 60's. The clothes were amazing, the hair was amazing, and the music was amazing too. Question: If you could travel back in time, who would be the one person you would want to meet? Lauren: My Mum, at my age now.
The Sunday Times Magazine, Super Superficial, Step Art, Running Press, Penguin Young Readers Group, Angelina Tearoom, Elle MagazineFavourites
: The Scooter Caffe, near Waterloo Station, 132 Lower Marsh, London
: The Whitechapel Gallery
It's down the road, it's free, is not too big, so I can wander in an out when I like, and it's got a lovely little shop and restaurant too
: Eggs on toast with chorizo and Reggae Reggae sauce on the side
: White wine or tea, depending on the time of day of course!
: Pretty much every shop down Columbia Road. It's a shame they're only open on Sundays
: The Museum Of Everything
: I never really follow blogs to be honest! I'm not a great fan of reading online. I'd rather pick up a book