We spoke to illustrator, designer and Little White Lies art director Laurène Boglio. Responsible for the extraordinary visual side of this stunning print magazine, Laurène has also illustrated the hilarious Movie Kama Sutra, a Laurence King x Little White Lies collaboration.
Tell us about how you came to be an illustrator and art director.
At school I studied advertising, graphic and illustration, but never really wanted to decide which one I preferred. I started working for an advertising company after graduation, although I always kept drawing on the side and I also began creating animated gifs.
Five years later I got a job at Little Whites Lies magazine and managed to combine my now two favourite things – graphic design and illustration. It was the perfect position really!
Today I am the art director of the magazine, which means I get to work with amazing illustrators and designers. I am very lucky. I also draw for clients and take commissions, which is a great way to be challenged and learn new things. I also obviously still make as many gifs as I can.
Photograph by Liz Seabrook
What was the most fulfilling project you’ve ever worked on?
I love working with others, helping to benefit a greater cause. I really enjoyed working on a recent BBC project; I illustrated a young girl’s story, that told of how her father had forced her into sex trafficking.
I felt very proud that I was trusted to help tell such an important story, to pass the message on. For this project, I also loved working with Jonny Sanders who animated my illustrations. It was a creative and inspiring collaboration.
What advice would you give to someone hiring an illustrator?
I would recommend making sure that the style of illustration you want matches the style of the illustrator you commission.
It’s always interesting to see how diverse briefs can be. Sometimes they’re hugely detailed; I feel like having too detailed a brief can be really frustrating, because it feels like there is no room for creativity. In contrast, a very blurred and vague brief can end up being painful too, because you also have to interpret the client’s expectations and needs.
I would recommend sending a few style references, but also to put trust in the illustrator you have chosen, because they will know how to answer your brief properly. They may start with rough sketches first, to make sure you are both happy with where the project is going. Don’t be scared how the initial sketches look; they look sketchy for a reason.
Something to avoid would be to send your illustrator the work of another artist and ask them to copy that.
Make sure that the style of illustration you want matches the style of the illustrator you commission
Left photo by Justin Poulter
What’s the most important thing for you when choosing which clients to work with?
I feel like it’s more the clients who choose me that the other way around. Perhaps personal projects help to bring the right clients organically, because they show my true interests.
What are your go-to tools, digital or physical?
I sincerely like them both. I feel like it’s good to keep both digital and physical as options. With travelling and short commission deadlines, digital will always win.
I love to work in Adobe Photoshop and I still haven’t really worked properly with Adobe Illustrator. I know this would be way quicker and easier but I still love how Photoshop allows for mistakes and imperfect lines, making a midway compromise between the two worlds.
I still love how Photoshop allows for mistakes and imperfect lines, making a midway compromise between the two worlds
What does an average workday look like for you?
I try to make lists of things to do, to prioritise, and I always have a personal project list (very important). I like listening to podcasts and music.
Here is one of my work playlists.
Do you ever struggle with creative block? If so, how do you deal with it or help yourself move past it?
It’s the worst. It makes you question everything and feel horrible.
I feel so lucky to have very clever, super creative friends who I can talk to when it happens – so we can brainstorm together and help each other.
Otherwise the best thing that I find useful is to give up for a bit, do something else, and then return to it with a fresh mind.
Give up for a bit, do something else, and then return to it with a fresh mind
What is a favourite illustration of yours, and who created it?
I am a huge fan of Bijou Karman. I love everything she does – it just seems so natural for her to create amazing layouts and colour combinations.
I also feel like she really enjoys working on her personal paintings and image research. She has built a fascinating visual world.
Portrait of Cat Power by Bijou Karman
What was the last thing you laughed at?
Anything on Nik Gallo‘s Instagram account.
Where are your favourite spots in your hometown and in London, where you live now?
I am from Annecy in France. It’s a very nice town in between mountains and has the purest lake in Europe. I used to ski, play tennis, swim, cycle when I was younger and living there.
For the last seven years I have lived in London, so I’ve migrated from mountains to museums and bars.
Would you rather put ketchup on everything you eat for a month or wear socks on your hands for a week?
Ketchup, for sure.