Letterer and artist Lauren Hom has done some pretty impressive things since starting her business a few years ago. She’s gone from regular college student to being one of the country’s most impressive illustrators! Some of her clients include Google, YouTube, and Starbucks (just to name a few). Furthermore, it’s great for me to personally see another fellow Asian woman in a creative field, especially Lauren who is so much herself. Lauren is such an inspiration for women. The girl has skills, a fact that I learned even more about when she sent me over copies of two of her awesome products!
This is what makes Lauren so special. She creates, but also relates. She inspires, but is also true to herself. Her books are just like her: beautiful on the inside and out, artistic, and honest. The journal is so great and DAILY DISHONESTY is what every woman needs in order to know that she is not alone when it comes to her little daily lies!
“I will save half of this paycheck,” is something I tell myself all the time. There’s something about it being written out in such a gorgeous way though that makes me not feel so bad (or so alone) about telling it to myself so frequently.
Q&A WITH LAUREN HOM
I had the opportunity to chat with Lauren and ask her some questions about her work and her life! Check it out here:
How did you first get into designing and lettering?
I first got into lettering because I had an idea for a blog. One night in college, I was sitting in the kitchen with my roommate having our weekly wine and cheese night. It was 2012 and we had just started our senior year, which was super crazy with finals and portfolios. We started talking about all the things we wanted to do in our spare time: I wanted to do hot yoga every day (WHAT WAS I THINKING?!), she wanted to brew her own beer, and we wanted to start a baking blog. All of a sudden, we looked at each other and burst out laughing because we realized we were totally full of crap. We didn’t actually have any spare time! School was too demanding. All of a sudden, I felt the lightbulb go off in my head: I lie to myself all the time. I ran to my desk, sketched a few out, bought a URL, and Daily Dishonesty was born the next day! I didn’t really have any experience with lettering, but I had seen some of it floating around the Internet. I knew the blog had to be illustrated, so I took out a pad of paper and a pen and just went for it. Slowly over the course of the next two years, I practiced enough to turn it into a career.
How would you describe your style when it comes to creating art?
My style is pretty laid back, both in the style of work I make and the way I make it. I always thought that you had to be a photo-realistic drawer to make it as an illustrator, but there are so many niches that allow for a looser style like mine.
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite pieces of art that you have created?
ANSWER: I’ll always love this CHALK LETTERING PIECE I did in my old bedroom. I’m really proud of the client work I’ve done over the years, but I’m most proud of my personal projects like WILL LETTER FOR LUNCH and the time I used 10 BEYONCE SONG LYRICS to talk about how I run my business.
A lot of your work has a sense of female empowerment to it. When did you first start heading in that direction and why did you choose to do so?
I’ve always been headstrong and outspoken, so I think my work naturally skewed that way. As I learned more about sexism and experienced it firsthand as a woman in this world, it forced me to speak up even louder.
A really pivotal moment that amplified this decision actually happened recently. I teach in-person hand lettering workshops, and this September I hosted one in Los Angeles. I noticed that 75% of my students were Asian women. I thought back to previous classes and realized that my New York and San Francisco workshops all followed suit, and then it hit me like a brick: women, especially Asian women, look up to me. The same way I look up to women like Constance Wu and Ali Wong because I can see myself in them. They’re unapologetic about breaking barriers left and right, and when I see that, it gives me the confidence to do the same. I feel this overwhelming responsibility to do well and represent women in the arts. If a young girl sees me following my dreams, it might give her the confidence to follow hers. So you can expect girl power to be a lifelong theme in my work.
You teach classes on how to start your own visual journal. Can you tell us a little about it?
I started a project when I began my travels called NO PHOTOS PLEASE. The concept was simple: instead of taking travel photos of the same scenery, monuments, and food as everyone else, I would draw everything I wanted to remember in my sketchbook instead. This exercise lead to me developing this COLLAGE-STYLE LAYOUT of words and doodles which I like to call visual journals. Brit + Co approached me to do an online class, and this was the thing I wanted to teach because it’s a wonderful way to organize information on a page and I thought lots of people could benefit from it.
What is it like having such grand clients? Is it more difficult to be creative under that type of pressure?
Working for big clients is definitely more pressure, but in a good way. Since I know that expectations are set high and that the work will be seen by a lot of people, it drives me to bring my typical A game and then some.
You say that baking is one of your favorite things to do when you aren’t being creative, but baking has the potential to be a very creative thing! What’s your favorite thing that you have baked before?
It’s been hard to bake while traveling because not every place I’ve stayed has an oven, so I’ve been really into raw no-bake “baking”. Basically combining nuts, fruits, and other ingredients and chilling them solid instead of baking them. It’s so creative! I made this ahhhmazing dark chocolate almond pie the other day.
You’ve lived in so many incredible places! Which has been your favorite and where do you plan on going to next?
My favorite city will always be New York because I lived there from 18 to 25, which are some pretty formative years in a woman’s life. I’ve been traveling a bunch lately (about one month in each place) and my favorites have been Prague, Czech Republic and Bali, Indonesia. I’m currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand and heading to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in January 2017.
Art is incredibly important in the world, but it can sometimes be seen as pointless or not something to be cared about. What would you say to the people who think that?
ANSWER: Everyone enjoys art whether they realize it or not. If you listen to music, decorate your home, or watch movies, you’re benefiting from someone’s creativity. It’s funny you mention this because I just wrote a BLOG POST about art not being taken seriously as a profession due to a multi-million dollar company asking me to make illustrations for them for no pay. The idea that people would never be comfortable going into a clothing store and asking for free clothes but people feel comfortable asking artists for free drawings all the time is absurd to me. Just because art is fun doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work.