Today, I would like to introduce you to an amazing artist. Perhaps you've heard of her, but now you get to know a little bit more about her. She is SO INSPIRATIONAL to me. I started reading her webcomic, The Silver Eye, and have been a fan ever since. Not only is her art great, but her conviction and quality stands out in this world. She perseveres through personal hardship, stays connected and friendly with her fans, she's FUNNY, and she always seeks new challenges.....so may I present Laura Hollingsworth!
Hello, Laura! Welcome to my blog, it’s so fantastic to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself and your incredible webcomic, The Silver Eye.
Hello, Hannah! Thank you so much for having me! I’m a digital illustrator. I was a Navy kid growing up, and I currently live in Virginia. Parts of the internet know me best for my fanart for The Lunar Chronicles, or my official artwork for Keeper of the Lost Cities. However, my passion project is a webcomic I began in 2009 called The Silver Eye. It’s a fantasy-adventure story about a wealthy orphan and a vagrant king who have to unite to stop an out-of-control conqueror.
What led you to becoming an artist?
When I was 3, I drew a picture of some horses and it was laminated in a special sticker machine. That made me one proud kiddo. Drawing became a thing I was good at and known for.
Down the road, as a young teen I was diagnosed with T1 Diabetes, which led to the development of severe cataracts. I ignored them until I couldn’t see anymore. After my vision returned post-surgery, I was overwhelmed with how crisp and clear and beautiful the world is. I began to take art more seriously. Many influences led to me becoming an artist, but I think the main reason I create art is I want to show my appreciation for the design in God’s creation. By creating art, I hope I can help others appreciate it as well.
What were some of your biggest challenges and triumphs?
So, for challenges: When I started seriously working on my webcomic, I had to get into the habit of setting aside around 1-2 days a week to devote to making a new page. Life had to be planned around that. Sometimes, this can cause quite a bit of conflict in schedules. It can be hard to tell when to be flexible and when to be disciplined.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to print the first volume of The Silver Eye. However, I’m never satisfied with its current state. Of the 300-ish pages, there are a lot of changes to be made: the borders of each one need to be adjusted, every speech bubble has to be redone for correct rendering, and even though I’ve redrawn many early pages, there are still scenes that I’ve rewritten and want to redraw. When you’re your own writer, illustrator, editor, and publisher, it’s really hard to tell when the story is ready for press. I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely happy with my own work.
As far as triumphs, one of my favorite things about creating The Silver Eye are the fans. The community of Nerdarians that has grown around The Silver Eye is amazing, and--not to brag--one of the kindest groups of people on the internet. They host regular comment parties, create their own fan contributions to the story, and in general are a delight to have gathered around the story. With a webcomic, I love that I can get feedback so quickly from readers. I’ve adapted a lot of details in the story based off their reactions. It’s helped me become a better storyteller.
I’ve also found that drawing so regularly has helped improve my art exponentially. When you spend 6-10 hours a day on something, you get better at it. Who knew!
Who is your favorite character and why?
Apen Shephard. Though he’s been through extensive difficulties (sorry, man), he remains moral, helpful, and proactive. A cinnamon roll, if you will. He’s an idealist and a perfectionist, but he has warped views of mercy and judgement. I think he’s a well-rounded Lawful Good character.
What are some of your favorite things?
Hiking. I like to carry markers and my sketchbook with me so I can stop and draw the scenery.
Going on a hike with fellow nature-appreciators is the best, because while they stop to smell the roses I can finish my doodles without feeling rushed. I love to travel and photograph historical architecture. On a more day-to-day basis, I like playing with my sweet dog, Gwladys.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Good writing is always an inspiration. When an element in a story is executed successfully, I like to dissect it and analyze why it worked.
I like to keep track of visuals and concepts from my dreams. A lot of times they’re dumb, but every now and then there’s a setting, an emotion, or a bit of cinematography, that is more creative and spectacular than anything my conscious self could come up with.
I do the same thing in the real world. Whenever I see something interesting I’ll take note of it or snap a picture I can reference later. I have a huge archive of inspiring things that I’ve happened across, and I can turn to that when I’m in need of ideas.
What environment do you tend to draw in?
I draw on a Wacom Cintiq in a nice bright office. It is not as sorted as it should be because I have too many supplies for projects I intend to do someday. But it is comfy-eccentric, aka the Laura aesthetic.
And what is your dream environment?
A sunroom with big windows, high up in the mountains, where I can see the clouds in all directions. I would love to watch them change throughout the day, and photograph lightning as storms come and go. (I could do that from my roof now but it’s so humid here that if I step outside my lens fogs up for half an hour until it adjusts to the outdoor climate.)
How do you like to relax and recharge?
I go for walks with people. Though I rarely watch shows or movies, I like to watch a good one with my family. Most of the day I am drawing by myself, so I try to spend intentional time around others when I’m not working.
Sometimes when I need to refresh my artistic side, I’ll try creative outlets that change up my usual way of thinking. For instance, I enjoy working in art mediums I don’t use as often, like resin, clay, or traditional paints.
What is one of your favorite artwork pieces you’ve ever done?
Probably this portrait of Berlyne Alvarado.
I was experimenting with colors and I really like how it turned out. I also have a lot of funny favorites (like the caterpillar Enel comic) that aren’t artistic masterpieces but they make me happy whenever I look at them again. In general, I think all my favorite art pieces are in my future. I’m always looking forward to the next challenging thing I can create.
Can you share any hopes/plans for the future?
The Silver Eye is a long story. It’s only about half way through! Though I am always improving my techniques and finding ways to write tighter scenes or draw faster, I know that there is the potential for burn-out before we reach the end. I want to continue to foster the community around The Silver Eye and find ways to grow as a creator, an artist, and a person. My hope is that, as I continue to find ways to grow with this story, it will continue to be a joy to make.
Beyond The Silver Eye, I want to continue expanding my career as an illustrator. I’d love to work more with publishers and authors, like the jobs I’ve done for Shannon Messenger or Lisa Maxwell. It’s a lot of fun to do art that gets people so excited for the stories they love.
Thank you, Laura! I eagerly await more in The Silver Eye and all of your other work!
Also, folks, check out this BEAUTIFUL commission I hired Laura for as a gift to my writing partner, Bryn Riplinger Shutt. I may be biased, but it's one of MY personal favorites of her artwork...
Support Laura on Patreon!
Interested in hiring Laura for a project? Check out her commissions page!
You can follow Laura Hollingsworth on:
As for this little blog, folks, did you see that Fairest Son released yesterday? Hurrah! Be sure to come back tomorrow as a blog tour launches to celebrate its release!!! :D