Laura Callaghan is a boss. You know it, we know it, it’s an undeniable fact of life. An Irish illustrator based in South East London, Laura’s incredibly detailed and emotive illustrations are snapshots of the lurid dream-worlds we wish we could inhabit. Everything is perfectly placed; hair is satisfyingly huge, lips pop with colour, winged eyeliner is on fleek and every fabric is plush and patterned. A wryly well-executed element of sarcasm runs through each illustration as Laura’s subjects inevitably always seem vaguely bored by their vivid surroundings. Though their worlds seem entirely exciting to the likes of us, the women in Laura’s images hesitate to come across as too keen in any situation.
Each illustration in her impressive portfolio is hand-drawn and Laura favours a strong mixture of watercolours, indian ink and isograph pens to produce a final image. Like many illustrators, she’ll colour and edit an illustration digitally using photoshop; this, as were sure you know, really enables a new level of speed and precision. Laura has worked with some great clients over the last few years such as Refinery29, Riposte, Urban Outfitters, The Pool and many more. Her illustration has gradually gained notoriety and has practically gained her the status of a pencil-toting creative celeb. Having exhibited at well-known graphic arts sows such as Pick Me Up, her name’s one we’ve all come to recognise.
As Illustration Editor for Oh Comely Magazine between 210 and 2013 Laura worked to fill the magazine’s pages with the winsome minimal illustrations that we love so well. She has a great eye for directional illustrations that contain strong narratives and her own work really reinforces this. Her unmistakable and much-coveted work features women with awesome bone-structure lounging in their pants, teen bedrooms, vintage-inspired twin sets, takeaway boxes, pockets of botanical goodness, badass cultural references, signature boredom and unbridled bravery. It’s as though Laura knows exactly what we all really want from the world of illustration these days and finally, someone’s drawing beautiful ladies that we can actually relate to. Here’s to Laura Callaghan, long may she reign.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth