Artist Feature: Aura Lewis

This week I’m excited to introduce you to Aura Lewis! She’s a New York based illustrator who has developed a style that is instantly recognizable and effortless. But it didn’t come easy. After pursuing a career in graphic design Aura hit a wall and decided to explore other possibilities — in Argentina. During her time away from the day to day she rediscovered her love of illustration and decided to get MFA from SVA. She’s never looked back since and we could be happier. Aura’s work is both understated and bold. She uses her voice to celebrate equality for all and to commentate on many important cultural issues we face today. This is one of many reasons that I believe she is an important voice in the creative community. When she is not working on illustrations she spends her time in bookstores, knitting or traveling to refuel her creativity. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Aura Lewis!

Describe a typical work day for you.
I start my work day around 9am. I make some tea and put on a podcast, and begin my work, unless I’m writing- then I need quiet to focus :) Every day is a little different, but I try to take several breaks to walk outside throughout the day, which keep up my mood and energy. 

Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?
When I’m excited about a project, I enjoy the entire process! I think though the part I really love the most is making a sketch come alive with color- I love color!

Was there a striking moment in your life where you knew you had to become an Illustrator?
Yes! Here’s the super short version: When I was a child I knew I was going to be an illustrator but I forgot that for a while when I got older. After school, I worked for a while as a graphic designer, but was feeling frustrated. Then, a few years ago I had the amazing opportunity to live in Argentina for 2 years. I quit my job, and had time to explore and make all kinds of art. I painted huge canvases, which was fun, but what I enjoyed most was making small illustrations with pencil on paper. One night I was lying in bed and had a dream of going back to school to become an illustrator. I thought this may be beyond my reach...Then I felt/heard the words “do not be afraid.” It was so powerful! And that was that. A year later I went to the MFA at SVA in illustration, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done! 

What mediums do you enjoy working with most?
Pencil, fine pens, gouache and iPad!

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream project look like? 
I would love to have my characters animated for a film!

Outside of your work, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I love traveling, hiking, knitting, reading and going to the theater.

What is your favorite show you’re watching right now?
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel! 

What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed? 
An novel: The Lost Vintage, by Ann Mah

What is a common creative block for you and how do you get unstuck?
When I’m not sure what to draw next, I take long walks, read or listen to something interesting, and look at fun magazines. One of those usually inspires me! 

Outside of design, what do you do that inspires your creative pursuit?
I walk outside every day, preferably somewhere green (in NYC it’s so important!!) I listen to podcasts and lectures, I go to museums and watch films. I spend hours in book stores, looking at all the beautiful art and design. Once or twice a year I like to go to conferences or big industry events to network, keep up with the industry and get inspired.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely an early bird!