7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #464: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Erin McLaughlin

h1 January 3rd, 2016 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, fellow kickers, and that means a student or debut illustrator. I’ve got the former today, a student from Montserrat College of Art. Erin McLaughlin is nearly done with her studies, tells us all about herself below, and also shares some of her art with its bright palettes and simple shapes. (It’s almost as if a child’s toys have come to life, her pieces below.) So, let’s get right to it. I’m handing it over to Erin now. …


On Deciding to Study Illustration:


I’ve always wanted to make a career from my art. Some people excel at math; some, science. For me, it was always art. I always loved to draw. Whether it was comics, cartooning, or just doodling, I am my happiest creating something. It was in my sophomore year of art school at Montserrat College of Art that my teachers said to me, why not children’s illustration? It’s like a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve never looked back. The children’s market feels like home for my style and for me. When I find myself smiling and laughing when I’m working on a piece, I know I’m on the right track.


On School:


I’m in my senior year at Montserrat College of Art. Montserrat and its professors have really driven me to be a go-getter. Coming in freshman year, I wasn’t much of a student. I didn’t have the direction and focus needed to succeed. My favorite teachers have been the ones willing to sit down with me and tell me truthfully how much work it takes to be successful. You can be the most talented artist in the world, but without a strong work ethic and drive, no one will ever see your work. I have taken that advice to heart.

Now, as a senior, I’ve already illustrated one children’s book, have been commissioned on numerous projects, and have a strong portfolio. Having someone tell me “Why not children’s?” really turned me around. It’s the perfect fit.


Sketches and a color study
(Click first two to enlarge)


On Medium:


I’m a digital artist. I use Photoshop mainly, but I also love to doodle in pen and pencil.



On Influences:


I really draw what I love. I know that sounds too good to be true, but I have pages and pages in my sketchbook dedicated to lists of what I like. Lasers, sloths, kazoos, robots. The list goes on and on.

People who inspire me the most are current illustrators, such as Dan Santat and Jon Klassen. Other favorite illustrators include Oliver Jeffers, Greg Orfanos, Alexander Vidal, David Ferreira, Jack Teagle, and Matty Long.

Even fine arts painters and sculptors, like Euan Uglow and Beth Cavener Stichter, can inspire my composition and color choices.



On What’s Next:


Right now, I’m making a series of children’s posters as part of my senior thesis. These posters cover all kinds of things, including bugs, robots, space, flowers and fairies. It’s a lot of fun, just exploring huge formats and playing with color and design. My next thesis work is going to concentrate on children’s clothing (including onesies, bibs, and hats), patterns (wallpapers and fabrics) as well as a series of stickers and stuffed animals.



All images used by permission of Erin McLaughlin.

* * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) It’s 2016, dear kickers! We’re all still here — healthy (I hope), happy (I also hope), and all doing our best, resolutions or no resolutions.

2) I’ll be in Austin, Texas, later this week for a conference. It’ll be my first time there.

3) A New Year’s Eve Doctor Who marathon.

4) Happy that my lovely chat with podcaster Nick Patton made his top-five list.

5) Patty Griffin’s “Made of the Sun.”

6) Good-novel recommendations (novels for grown-ups, that is) from my best friend. We rarely dislike the same book.

7) Oh, right. I got to see my best friend last week — Eisha, who co-founded this site with me.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #464: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Erin McLaughlin”

  1. Good morning, Imps! Happy new year!

    Hello, Erin! Thanks for introducing us to your work. I especially like the illustration of the sleeping dinosaurs.

    Jules: Have fun at the conference! Safe travels, and enjoy. YAY EISHA! HI, EISHA! 🙂

    My kicks for the past week:
    1. Beating deadlines
    2. Writing
    3. Pre-production prep
    4. Updates
    5. Orange juice
    6. Sleep
    7. Booklists
    Here’s my best books of 2015 list!

  2. I love how school and the instructors had an impact on Erin as a student. Her work is cheery.
    Jules, so fantastic you got to see Eisha and going to Austin, how fun. I want to visit.
    LW, writing and sleep such grea kicks.
    My Kicks:
    1. SNOW this morning when I got up. Just an inch but lovely.
    2. Healing. Last Sunday, I ended up in the hospital with blood clots from my surgery.
    3. Finally had the male Downey Woodpecker at the feeder.
    4. Friends who brought dinner to us
    5. Buster who keeps me company.
    6. Husband who reminds me to not over do.
    7. My daughtet and grandgirls who visited over New Years.
    Have a great week.

  3. Jone: Sending you healing thoughts galore.

  4. Happy New Year, Imps!

    New year, new artist. Hello, Erin. I love the unicorn. Best of luck in your final semester.
    Jules – Listening to Patty while typing. I’ll have to listen more carefully to the lyrics later. Are you willing to share some grown-up recommendations with us?
    LW – I’ve been doing too much sleeping this vacation week, even if it was much needed. I’m ready to start this year.
    Jone – Keep on healing. We have so many downy and hairy woodpeckers I don’t notice the females from the males.


    1. Seeing the movie, Sisters with my sisters.
    2. New Year’s Eve date night with my husband that included burritos and the Hateful Eight.
    3. My daughter got pointe shoes. Oh boy.
    4. New found enthusiasm after a break from the studio.
    5. Being surrounded by great, inspiring people.
    6. Buying books as gifts.
    7. Egg nog with whiskey and cinnamon

    Here’s to peace and prosperity in the new year!

  5. Happy New Year Imps!

    Thanks for sharing your illustrations Erin – I especially like the dinosaurs on wheels and the flying cats and dogs.

    Jules – hooray for getting time with Eisha, and have a great time in Austin!

    LW – yay for beating deadlines and sleep!

    Jone – sending you healing thoughts as well, wasn’t the snow so lovely to wake up to?

    My kicks this week:
    1) Jessica Jones on Netflix – very addictive!
    2) Read Outline by Rachel Cusk, dense and thought-provoking, well worth the read.
    3) Finally saw Inside Out.
    4) Waking up to snow, very cold and pretty.
    5) College football and bloody marys with friends.
    6) Putting away the holiday decorations/starting to clean for the new year.
    7) The romance of an evening spent in candlelight due to a power outage.
    7.5) Adding more tea to my life. Still love my coffee, just cutting back a bit.

    Oh, and this quote from Katherine Rundell:
    ‘For someone to read to you, is to say you matter, and for someone to read to just you, is to say… lets go on an adventure just the two of us.’

    From this: http://www.letterboxclub.org.uk/news-views-and-press/news/177/

  6. You all, it’s so QUIET here today. It’s just a party for us three, Little Willow and Jone. Woo hoo!

    LW: OOOH. Thanks for the list. I’m gonna go explore it in a second.

    Jone: So glad you’re okay and back home from the hospital — and that you’re getting taken care of. Sending love your way!

  7. Rachel, we passed each other in cyberspace. Did you see me waving?

    We started Jessica Jones too. DAVID TENNANT!

    I’m jealous of those of you who got snow.

    OH MY GOSH, I’m really glad you shared that Rundell link. Thank you! We’re reading Rooftoppers now, and it’s so good. But I’m not surprised. Off to go watch that!

  8. Moira, spam snagged your kicks. Sorry! I just saved them. Insert dramatic music here.

    I think sleep sounds good. I mean, why not get caught up on the holidays? Your egg nog sounds very yummy, but kicks 4 and 5 are the best, I think. Can’t wait to see your 2016 work!

    How was Sisters?

    Oh, here are the novels recommended to me:

    John Dies at the End
    White Teeth

  9. That video was so good, Rachel! Thanks again.

    Now … off to read LW’s list!

  10. Moira – hope Sisters with the sisters was fun. Congrats to your daughter for the pointe shoes, and eggnog, yum!

    Jules – I think I am becoming a fangirl of Rundell’s, and think she must have had a very unique and yet still grounded upbringing. Just got Rooftoppers, plan on starting it tonight. I really enjoyed Swamplandia, you’ll have to let me know what you think of it.

  11. Moira: Give the ballerina my best! So glad that you’re surrounded by good folks.

    Rachel and Jules: David Tennant’s performance was the best part of Jessica Jones.

  12. Rachel: Will do!

    Little Willow: We’re only on episode 3 (or 4??) and haven’t seen much of Tennant yet, but I look forward to it.

  13. great stuff — lots of style and personality.

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