Today we're having a nose at the home studio of Laura Hickman, an artist and illustrator who lives in a small village in Wales, close to the hustle and bustle of beautiful Cardiff. Working from home, Laura went freelance three years ago when a rare brain condition (Chiari Malformation) forced her to quit work. Her studio is inside a dedicated home office and includes all her favourite treasures and inspirations.
In Laura's own words: "I live in a small village in the Rhondda, if you’re a fan of 'Stella' you’ll be familiar with it as it’s filmed around here. I’m not too far from Cardiff and only five minutes from a Starbucks - but far enough into the Valleys that the only thing I see from my studio window are sheep and the occasional cow. Since going self-employed my workspace has taken up various locations around the house, including the kitchen, dining room and loft. Last year I decided to create a dedicated workspace - to fill with inspiration, keep my clutter together and give me somewhere to 'go to work' in the morning and shut away at the end of each day. We re-decorated the spare room and I bought myself a drawing table to work on, with an 'office' desk in the corner housing my PC, printer and stock I have everything to hand in one place."
"Having a workroom definitely helps me to focus but also switch off at the end of the day, although I love drawing late at night and will often still be at my desk until the early hours. Working at home gives me flexibility, if I’m not well and need to take time off I can have a break in the afternoon and work at night if I need to.
"I’m a self-taught artist so I have plenty of books to hand, covering techniques from pastel drawing to manga, how to be more creative, meet a brief and general inspiration from some of my favourite artists and illustrators. I set aside time every week to learn new skills, sit quietly with a cup of tea and watch a youtube tutorial or read a chapter of a book or magazine."
"I’ve filled my studio with items that inspire me, little trinkets and handmade treasures from friends and other Etsy sellers. I didn’t realise until I took these photos how many 80’s characters I have dotted about but there are quite a few! My favourite items are my chair with a thrifty £1.50 throw and cushion I made from vintage Sanderson fabric, a print of my favourite painting by Lou Shabner and my She-Ras - one was a gift from my boyfriend and the other was drawn for me by an artist at Marvel.
"The most practical items are my A3 fine art printer which allows me to produce all of my own stock, my drawing table and a world map which keeps track of sales and where my customers live.
"I’ve been told my studio is too tidy but I like to clear up at the end of the day and start afresh in the morning, art is a messy business and the last thing you need when you’ve spent 10 hours on a drawing is a rogue fleck of charcoal ruining the whole thing!"