For designer and illustrator Lauren Hom, 2016 was a year of non-stop travel around the globe. Lauren relied on her Confidant notebook, rather than a camera, to capture her experiences and memories while visiting South America, Europe, and Asia. Check out the gallery below to see some of her sketches while on the road.
In a world of constant sharing, Lauren took it upon herself to design a creative challenge: she would not take a single picture, opting instead to document her travels through sketching.
The project ultimately allowed her to be more present in the moment and not worry about taking the perfect image. We chatted with Lauren to learn more about her experience.
Well, I grew up in Los Angeles but moved to NYC for college right after high school, so all I can really say about LA is that the weather is amazing and I’m lucky to have grown up around such a sunny, laid-back environment before moving into the chaos that is New York, haha.
I found my way into design pretty naturally. I was always a creative kid, and I decided to study creative advertising in college because it seemed like a perfect intersection between practical and enjoyable. I ended up burning out of the advertising industry pretty quickly, but luckily I never stopped drawing on the side, so I had a budding illustration career to fall back on.
I realized there were already millions of photos of all the places I was visiting. I thought that drawing and lettering in my sketchbook would be a more interesting and creative way to visually share my travels.
I always start by taking in my surroundings and considering the city I’m in. I try to make each piece emulate some of the city’s personality. The drawing process is fairly simple: I begin by putting down light pencil guidelines, and then rendering the lettering in pencil before inking it with a fine point Sharpie marker.
I think I was the most inspired by the intricate and colorful designs from India and Myanmar. I’m naturally drawn to intricacy and ornateness, so I was swooning over the brightly patterned textiles in India and the stone temples in Myanmar.
I took a weekend trip with some friends to a small, beachy town in Uruguay called Cabo Polonio, and we watched this brilliant sunset on the beach. Once it got dark, we splashed around in the water and realized we had stumbled across a patch of bioluminescent ocean - the kind that’s filled with microorganisms that glow blue when shaken up. It was so spontaneous and surreal that I don’t even think I could’ve captured it with a photo, to be honest.
The best thing has been slowing down and breaking the habit of mindlessly taking photos. It used to be second nature to take out my phone and take a photo every interesting thing I saw to share on social media...and we all know that once you take your phone out for one thing, it’s easy to play with it for longer. It’s been really refreshing to break that habit and just enjoy the actual world around me.
Do it! Whether you want to take little vacations or make travel a part of your daily life, you can make it happen. I think we should be building our work around our lives not our lives around our work, and it took me a few years to realize that. If travel is something you know you want to do, you need to prioritize it by actively pursuing remote work or starting your own business.