Meet SCBWI member and illustrator Lauren Gallegos in this quarter’s “Illustrator’s Gallery.” Read on to hear Lauren’s story and see some of her amazing illustrations!
In one of my early illustration classes in college, a professor gave us a quiz to see if we were more cut out for being an in-house illustrator or a freelance illustrator. The test placed me VERY much in the camp of in-house illustrator based on my personality and working style. I was pretty discouraged by this. I was still new to the illustration world (I started out in Graphic Design), but was already on my way down the path of wanting to become a children’s book illustrator. In my mind, that could only mean that I had to do freelance. So what did I do? I set out to prove that quiz wrong! No one was going to put me in a box and tell me what I was destined to be!
So when I finished school, I set up a website and started scrolling through Craigslist, taking almost anything I could find. I know. Craigslist. It’s so sad. But that’s the only thing I could think to do at the time and I just wanted to work!
Well, Craigslist proved to be a starting point at least. I did small freelance jobs here and there and took as many opportunities that came my way. I was freelancing! Of course they were beginner jobs and it absolutely was not enough to live on. So I also got a part-time job as an after-school art teacher. All the while I was working on my craft and trying to learn how to draw better through paid work as well as personal projects.
Fast forward about seven years. My freelance work has brought me many opportunities to work on books with self-publishing authors as well as enough pay to quit my teaching job and still live modestly. Every book I have worked on has been a learning experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can see how my work as progressed and changed over those seven years and I can’t wait to see how it changes in the next seven. And just recently I signed with an agent, so I am excited to take the next step in my career!
Lauren Gallegos earned her BFA in Illustration from Cal State Fullerton in 2009 and has been illustrating ever since. She is always looking for opportunities to illustrate great stories with the desire to see how her work will impact young minds. She is a proud member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Southern California with her husband. You can find here at, www.Laurengallegos.com, artbylauren.blogspot.com, @laurengallegos, and on Facebook.
Illustrations provided by Lauren Gallegos.