well hello there!
I'm Laura Fisk, and I'm an illustrator (obviously!)
Through my work I’m always trying to convey joy and humor with the undertone of real care and love. Even if that character is a dancing apple, they have an epic story to tell! If I could illustrate/write a book as hilarious, touching, and full of life as “The Monster at the End of this Book” that would pretty much be everything. My background and true art love is in printmaking, especially screenprinting.
I'm thrilled to have my first book I illustrated out with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, "Sleeping bags to S'Mores: Camping Basics," a fun family camping how-to book.
My work has been featured in Buzzfeed and Parade Magazine amongst other wonderful places, and am so happy to be represented by Rachel Orr at the Prospect Agency. I live in Austin, TX with my husband, young son, and our dear pug-mix, Figgy.
professional recognition & involvement
Illustrator Coordinator - SCBWI Austin Region, 2021 - current
Finalist - 2023 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award
Presenter - Austin SCBWI 2023 Marketing Workshop, Understanding the world of printed materials
Honor Winner - 2020 Austin SCBWI Conference Portfolio Showcase
A little more about me
As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a "cartoonist" and make greeting cards. Pretty specific, huh? And both of those did happen in their own way! That floors me. As a kid, I drew and wrote so many stories about characters, not even fully realizing that it could be a job I could really do. I don't remember a time I didn't draw.
...And what about now?
I’ve had the opportunity to do a whole range of projects which keeps things interesting! But, I’m most interested in telling illustrated stories and creating worlds for characters to live in. That could be a picture book, an illustrated classic like Alice in Wonderland, or a grown up book with all sorts of illustrations. It also means something like a board or card game. There’s so many stories to tell in so many forms, and it’s really cool to be able to explore those worlds.
And the real truth of it? Working with fun passionate people to solve creative puzzles is the most fun thing ever.
What are some of your other interests?
I've loved reading since I was a kid and am happier when a book is nearby. Old picture books especially with limited color are always a fav. I enjoy a complicated character, good YA fantasy, or memoir. My favorite book I’ve read in recent years is The Starless Sea. Rarely have I met a craft I don't like and some day I really want to get seriously into quilting. And I'm kinda a big nerd and love podcasts, TV, and movies way too much. Being in nature and passing on that love to my kiddo is really important. It’s so strange that his view of nature will be so different than my New England woodsy roots. His will be cacti and big skies.
What are your favorite mediums and tools?
Working in procreate on my iPad truly changed my work for the better and allowed me to work more fluidly, and anywhere. Anything printmaking is my true love, and found that screenprinting really fits with my work and have been at it for over 10 years. I also love soft dark pencils, acryla gouache, and am forever searching for the perfect pen.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Austin?
I grew up in Connecticut, spent a few years in PA, graduating from Penn State, and then lived in New York City for about 10 years. We moved to Austin in around 2011, when my husband started his production company here. It truly was an out of the blue move but I'm so happy we landed here. Except it is very hot. For way too much of the year.
What's with all the pugs?
What's not to love?! Long story, my husband always wanted a pug - which cracked me up at first. Like, who actually has a pug? Don't they only exist in calendars? When we moved to Austin, we adopted our first pug Salsa (2011 - 2021) and now we have a sweet pug mix Figgy! Through Salsa I fell in love with these loving squishy ridiculous dogs Pug people for life! I found pugs really hard to draw for awhile, as they're practically living cartoons. They have a very high standard of cuteness.
Did you go to art school?
Nope! Some days I wish I went to art school, sometimes I’m happy I didn’t. Kinda a late bloomer to be honest. But, I have taken more continuing ed classes than I care to count, and thank goodness for it. I never say I’m self taught because I’ve learned too much from too many people.
Especially because I didn't go to art school, finding creative communities and getting involved in them over the years has been one of my most important things! I'm currently the Illustrator Coordinator of the Austin chapter of SCBWI and was on the board of ASPCO, screenprinting co-op studio for many years. Both these places have shaped my art, career, and given me such rewarding friendships, and it's pretty cool to shape decisions and give back to them.
What jobs have you had?
My career path to an illustrator has had a few twists and turns. My first job was at a rubber stamp store. It's where I honestly found a home as a maker and a love for printmaking by carving way too many rubber stamps. Growing up, my mom had a frame shop in our basement, and worked at an art and framing store in college. After college, I worked in advertising in "strategic planning". That meant I went to a lot of focus groups and tried to understand what brands mean to people. While at the agency I started getting serious about illustration taking evening classes and starting my business Fisk and Fern and just became more and more drawn to creating books.
Who are your creative heroes?
Sandra Boynton, James Marshall, Jim Henson, Sister Corita Kent, Steve Martin, and Leo Lionni - all of these folks I loved so much as a kid and their work still inspires me so much today.