Today we’re chatting to Laura Jones, originally from Ireland but living in Italy. A preschool teacher by day, she actually creates most of her work on her daily commute to Milan. Her illustrations started as Instagram posts, but she soon realised they look great on products like badges and stickers, and loves the idea of her positive quotes being stuck up all over the world!
Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Do you have any fun facts about yourself?
I was born and raised in Ireland, but after graduating from college, I decided to travel and work abroad. Since then I have lived and worked in London and now live in Italy, close to the wonderful city of Milan. I’m a preschool teacher in my day job, but illustrating and creating are my ultimate passions in life. Fun Fact: My cat ‘Captain’ travelled with me from London when I moved to Italy!
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have you carved out a nook in your home?
I have converted the corner of our guest room into my studio. So when I’m at home, this is where you’ll find me 90% of the time! However, I actually get most of my work done during my daily commute to Milan. I sketch out my design ideas, and then use my iPad to create the finished illustrations – all from the comfort of the train! It’s not ideal, but I’m very passionate about what I’m doing and so use every moment of my spare time to work on it.
What is your background in design? What got you started creating?
I have always been a creative soul. I studied art when I was in secondary school and took it as one of my exam subjects. I went on to do a degree in education, but my passion for design stayed with me. I illustrated for the college magazine and took a special elective in art education in my final year. When I started working full time in London, I lost the connection to my creative side, and forgot to make time for it. I started blogging in 2015 and that is ultimately how I found my way back to design and illustration.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My designs started as positive quotes on Instagram. I noticed that the online space is often full of negativity and unrealistic expectations, and I wanted to inject a bit of fun and colour back into it, even if just for myself! People really responded to what I was doing. I take inspiration from my own feelings, as well as the views and opinions of those I connect with online. Overall, I just want to create a positive online space and make people smile!
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
My levels of creativity ebb and flow like any creative. Funnily, though, I wonder if my creativity is connected to the moon phases, as I always seem to come up with my best ideas when the full moon is out! The thing that really blocks my creativity is stress; when I can’t clear my mind of other thoughts, it’s very difficult to let inspiration in.
What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?
I love the badges and stickers because I feel my Instagram post designs translate really well to them. I also like the idea of positive quotes and thoughts being stuck up all over other people’s lives and worlds! I’m also such a sucker for mug designs because I personally can’t resist a nice quirky, colourful mug (my cupboard is overflowing with them!)
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
I’m an eco-conscious coffee lover and always carry a reusable coffee mug with me when I travel. So I would love to design quirky reusable coffee cups to encourage people to reduce their waste!
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
One of my positive badges. It reads ‘you’re a rainbow of amazing’.
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Take note of all the correct product dimensions before you start designing to avoid being disappointed that something doesn’t fit well later. Try to be unique and true to yourself. This is a creative space so let your imagination run wild and don’t try to be a ‘copy and paste’ of someone else’s style. Also, share your designs on social media and ask your followers for feedback on what they would like to see next. Most importantly, create things that you love and would want yourself. Have fun with it, and don’t worry if you don’t make oodles of sales straight away!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
You can follow me on Instagram at @hellohappee or @laurajaneillustrations to see more of my daily pops of positivity. Or check out my website, www.hellohappee.com, for some weekly happee fuelled posts and ideas!