One of our fav Sharpie Squad members is our latest guest blogger! Laura Kelly is a second year Squad member and using Sharpie markers, she creates bright, bold and simple designs that uplift the human spirit. Laura currently licenses her work to companies in a variety of industries including gift, stationery, gourmet food and home décor as well as bank products. She also owns her own wholesale company, Laura Kelly Designs, which manufactures stationery products for stores around the country! Get to know Laura Kelly a bit closer & get a peak of her in action…
Greetings Sharpie Fans!
I am Laura Kelly and I love SHARPIE and love being a leader in the Sharpie community! I am a licensing artist which means that I create designs for companies to use on their super fun products. I currently license with 14 companies and enjoy being a part of each and every one of those teams. My life is pretty crazy! I travel a lot between my two homes in Apex, NC and Cedar Rapids, IA. The great thing about being a Sharpie artist is that I can take my “studio” with me wherever I go. Sometimes I find myself designing more at home, at the soccer fields, in the coffee shops and on airplanes than I do I do in my real studio.
I am one of those “accidental” artists. I drew ALL OF THE TIME as a child. I used to trace quarters and turn them into heads on people (little did I know that was the beginning of the Paper People collection). I stopped drawing in sixth grade after being teased on the bus by a boy who will remain nameless. He said that my drawings looked like they were done by a kindergartner. That is all it took to shut me down entirely.
I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a burning passion to teach elementary school and change the world. After teaching until I was pregnant with Dylan, my big kid, I found myself at home…bored and playing with my Sharpie markers. I began to unleash 20 years of bottled-up creativity beginning by designing his birth announcement and…..wah lah….I was an artist!
Seriously now, my friends and family went wild and empowered me to design stationery for them at a rate I couldn’t balance with a full time job. So, I decided to put my teaching career on “hold” and become a real artist. Almost 15 years later, I am having more than a complete blast. While I love to design, I more so love to empower others to access their hidden creativity. Being on the Sharpie Squad has allowed me the amazing opportunity to get out into my communities and encourage others to uncap all that they have inside. Through Doodle Contests and visits to classrooms and schools, I have witnessed mature grown ups as they find that inner peace that comes when one expresses themselves through doodling. The smiles, the laughter and the joy I get to be a part of creating is AWESOME! Whether through my direct involvement in my community or through the circulation of products with my designs; I feel honored and privileged to have this opportunity to make a difference in my world. (And to think that I thought teaching in a classroom was the only way….)
Meet the Paper People! I designed this collection for www.expressionery.com to use in creating personalized stationery and checks. Expressionery customers have created tens of thousands of families and created connection through the written word from coast to coast. With a demand for the people to jump off of the paper and to other products, Me and My Peeps was created as a collection. The “Peeps” can be found on auto decals and iron transfers from Plaid Enterprises, coasters and carsters from Thirstystone, magnets from Leanin’ Tree and will soon be available on great products from Ganz. I have 18 licensable collection being used today and thousands of Sharpie created images in my portfolio. At the Craft & Hobby Shows in the winter I get to guest appear for Plaid Enterprises and draw the attendees as their very own “Peeps” which is quite a treat.
I recently traveled on a Delta flight and brought the di-cut part of my logo that represents me. She got LOTS of attention on the plane from those around me. I posted a picture on my facebook page and my fans asked if she could come visit them. Who knew??? Little Laura, the flat 17’ tall me, is on her way via FedEx to Atlanta to begin her travels with Vee, one of my enthusiastic fans. Feel free to read about Little Laura’s travels on my blog. After Atlanta, her next stop will be West Palm where she plans to walk in the GCDSO Buddy Walk with the amazing Jackson, my beautiful little friend and inspiration.
One of the things that I love to do is to reuse old stuff and make it into something new. Here are a few pictures of how using Sharpie markers can recycle common items and recreate them into fabulous treasures. I recently was filmed demonstrating some Sharpie doodling crafts like these so check back soon for some fun!
If I could send a message to my fans it would be this. Do what you love and believe in it with all of your soul. I know from experience that when I am creating, drawing and doodling while at the same time empowering, loving and teaching…I am filled with happiness, peace and joy! I feel lucky that I get to share that with you!