15 August 2011


HEY! As you can tell, this blog has all but been abandoned. I've moved to tumblr, so should you be interested in what I'm up to and what I'm making these days, check me out over there at holtermonster.com.

05 April 2011

Webcomic Review: Johnny Wander

Yuko's webcomic is fun. It's clean, simple, well drawn, funny, and pretty random with a mix of autobiographical slice-o-life anecdotes and a string of recurring characters. She describes it as:

Johnny Wander might be about life after college, being a kid, growing up and all the people you meet and all the things that happen in that brave new world.

Or it might be about something else entirely.

30 March 2011

Webcomic Review: 69 Love Songs

69 Love Songs Illustrated is not necessarily a webcomic, but it caught my interest. It's the product of a group of about 30 or so London illustrators who, over Twitter, decided to bond together in mutual admiration of the Magnetic Fields and attempt to illustrate all 69 of the band's love songs. Each submission is different, ranging from short comics to collages.

23 March 2011

Webcomic Review: Blue

Oh man. I am a big fan of strict black & white comics, with perhaps a splash of grey ink wash, but this is a wonderful color comic that I like--muted blues and tans with black & white. Very nicely done, and I like the slow dramatic pacing.

Webcomic Review: Muktuk Wolfsbreath, Hard Boiled Shaman

This comic is pretty nice. It's only 10 pages in but it updates 3 times a week so it shouldn't be too painful between posts. I think I'll be visiting this one often. I like the color scheme and the stylized illustration.

Webcomic Review: Doctor Cat

It's about a cat that is also a doctor. 'Nuff said.

09 March 2011

Webcomic Review: Gingerbread Girl

The Gingerbread Girl is on the Top Shelf Comix website as part of their TS2.0. It's updated in three page posts and follows a girl who believes her father removed the part of her brain that registers physical and emotional feelings, which she calls her gingerbread girl. All of the characters, including a pigeon, talk to the camera to help introduce backstory and move the story along.

Webcomics Review: Lackadaisy

Lackadaisy is a webcomic by Tracy J. Butler, who says "It's about a gang of tenacious (if not shady) characters running a St. Louis speakeasy in the era of Prohibition. I suppose it falls somewhere in the realm of historical fiction, parody, dark comedy, and abject nonsense." Oh, and they're cats, and it's really nicely done.

Also, Tracy put together this nice looking and informative tutorial on facial expressions that anyone drawing comics could benefit from.

Webcomic Review: Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud, whose name should be very familiar to illustration students, wrote a serial webcomic about a mathematics major who discovers a link between personally compatible women and the similarity of their phone numbers. The full story is on his website in an interesting format--each panel displays alone, with the next one buried in the current panel's center. The reader clicks through as each panel expands to fullscreen. I like the idea of displaying a finished story arc in an interactive way like this. Also, like stacking panels to be scrolled down and read, it helps in timing and surprise, since you can't accidentally skip ahead visually and ruin something.

02 March 2011

Webcomic Review: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

SMBC is one of those webcomics with recurring characters and themes, but usually different characters every time. Sometimes the comics involve characters from comic books or pop culture, but unlike a lot of webcomics that focus on the DC & Marvel universes, the references aren't usually over my head, like the one below.

24 February 2011

Webcomic Review: Amazing Super Powers

This is a webcomic my younger, nerdier brother turned me on to, and he's probably the best source I have for new nerdy internet media. It's actually pretty funny and usually only 3 panels. I'm picking up on around 4 or 5 recurring characters that rotate out, including a pair of balding Yankee detectives. I like cop humor.

I really like the easter egg idea, too. Every strip has an extra panel that you can view by clicking the hidden question mark to the top right of each strip. I didn't find that, the sibling did. Thanks bro!

10 December 2010


My final project for Illustration 5 was to create 25 promotional packs and send them out to clients I want to work with. It almost seems frivolous to spend so much money and time creating physical representation when most content is dealt with digitally, but I think that tactility is important. There is some inherent awesomeness in seeing a piece in print as opposed to the screen. And being that most of my work never makes it past a screen, it's really exciting to see something specifically designed to be handled and interacted with intimately take its right shape. It feels like they are now finished pieces--no longer just .ai files that I can open and tweak at a moment's notice. With that comes a sense of permanence, too, which is both good and bad. For example, I now have 40 sets of cards with a missing embedded photo, a grammatical error, and one with a really hideous solution to fabricating bleeds from a pdf after absentmindedly deleting the original file. C'est la vie. Regardless of the mistakes, and the unfortunate design flaws in my packaging--which just can't be foreseen looking at a flattened image on a laptop--I'm really proud to have these made. I think even the most technologically savvy can agree there is a much larger inherent significance in the receipt of a handcut, handfolded, handglued, individually addressed and handstamped envelope over a fancy email with an attachment.

This is how it looks when it arrives in your mailbox.

This is how it looks when you open it.

This is the plan for the box & the response postcard I enclosed.

I've all but gone broke paying for this final product, but I have to keep reminding myself that in the long run, if I get even one job from any of these big name clients, it'll pay for itself.

16 November 2010


So, I finished my Midtown Archtypes series. Well, not really finished it, but I've done enough to fulfill the assignment it was originally intended for. I'd like to leave it open to continue. I considered doing another 1 or 2 for the assignment, but I agreed on 8 as a final number with Joel last week, and honestly, I need to stop myself. I could sit around making these all month. You can click on over to my gallery to see them>> laurenrae.carbonmade.com

15 November 2010


Recently, I've been working on a series of illustrations chronicling the artsy-fartsy archetypes of midtown Memphis. They're all caricatured and vector--very different from the Beale Street postcards. Here's a sneak preview:

26 October 2010


The postcards are finished--12 in all, featuring disgruntled bartenders and jaded street musicians. You can peruse them all in my gallery: Lauren Rae's Carbonmade: Beale Street

22 October 2010

Illustrator Promo

Frank Floethmann's business card is a really big comic that folds up into business card!

Pierre Paul Pariseau wants you to call him.

Lou Lou's promo card looks like their illos AND spells her name.

Slack Art's promo extends to the envelope it's mailed in with personalized return address.

Vicky Newman sends out pinback buttons of her illustrations-- cheaper & classier than t-shirt promo.

05 October 2010

Beale Street Visual Essay Progress

Progress on the Beale Street visual essay.

24 September 2010

Beale Street Visual Essay Progress

I'm doing a visual essay for Illustration 5 documenting a place I frequent, so I'm documenting Beale Street--specifically the people who are and atmosphere of working there. This is what I've got so far.

16 September 2010


I did this revisioned odalisque for Illustration class last week. I edited it after the critique last week. What'dya think?

15 September 2010

MCA's December 2010 BFA Exhibition Card

This is one my recent assignments at my internship--the BFA Exhibition card for December 2010. A little nerve-racking, as there is always some heated discussions about the show cards among the graduating seniors, but overall, I like it. I hope they do too.

14 September 2010

MCA's 2010 Zap Card

So, I recently started an internship with Combustion, a local design firm that handles most of Memphis College of Art's design work. The internship is supposed to be just for Graphic Design students, but being that I'm an Illustration student, I get to draw and design. It's a fun job. My first assignment was to redesign their "zap card;" a mailer they send out to prospective students to keep them on the mailing list.

02 September 2010

State of the Union: Part 06

I don't know what kind of illustrator I am. Maybe I don't understand the question. Or maybe I'm just still experimenting so much that I can't really answer that yet. I'm also not completely sure what kind of career I want to have. I think I'd like to do something that allowed me to illustrate, write, and design--like running a magazine or maybe working for several different publications or businesses doing different stuff.

I think my portfolio is lacking in design, which is the reason I fought to get the internship at Combustion I'm currently doing. I also don't have as much photo/illustration combination work as I'd like to have. I love doing it and I think it looks awesome, but I don't have a camera.

I don't think my portfolio really reflects exactly what I want to do. I think it's starting to more but it's not there yet.

01 September 2010

State of the Union: Part 05

If I had to spend the rest of my life illustrating one book, it would be
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That's an easy one. It's got some of the most badass descriptions of people, creatures, environments, processes, etc. of any book(s) I've ever read. It would pretty much take my entire life too.


If I was banned from doing art, I'd write. I've always loved writing, and I think I'm pretty good at it. If I end up going to grad school, it will probably be for some form of writing.


If I had one month and one thousand dollars... I would put out a book of articles, interviews, rants, poems, and prose that I've written over the years and illustrate and design it all myself. I try to write a few pages a week, and I've collected plenty of fodder for some kind of publication. It'd probably end up being a kind of somber non-linear tale about early adulthood; moving out the parents house, friends dying, loneliness, naivete, stupid decisions, relationships, forming identity, developing personality, trust, friendship. (That all sounds really depressing, but I think it would end up leaving the reader with a kind of half-and-half happy/sad feeling). If I had my bills paid for a month and had the opportunity to just crank it out, I'd do it all for free and spend the grand on printing costs.

If I had six months and ten thousand dollars... I would rewrite/edit my ongoing comic story and turn it into a full-length graphic novel. I planned the plot to be spanned out over a hundred or more pages to capture the sense of time that I wanted to be a big part of the story. I feel like it will be effective as it is now (hopefully finished by May 2011). Although I've only worked on it a little over a year, it's one of those stories that has so many influences I've drawn from that it changes with every book I read or class I take. It's something I'd really need six months of uninterrupted time to write it all and draw it all, if not more. I'd ideally want to do the pages at 11x17 or larger and put a lot of work into shading.

If I had a year and one hundred thousand dollars, I'd finally put together the zine I've been yammering about for the past year. Specifically about Memphis life---art, film, culture, food, people, projects, happenings, secrets, drinks, businesses, charity, bars, etc. I'd hire a bunch of local, amateur, talented writers, illustrators, photographers and designers each and pay them for their talents. I'd put out an issue a month with $100,000k, and be able to pick which businesses to advertise for instead of cramming logos of whoever onto the back cover.

31 August 2010

State of the Union: Part 04

Ten illustrators I love

one: Sam Flores

Flores works independently, but consistently makes work for a collective of urban artists called 12 Grain and a gallery in California called Fifty24SF.

two: Audrey Kawasaki

Audrey does mostly gallery shows (and does quite well, I may add), but has also been published in NY Arts Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Artillery Magazine, and Juxtapoz.

three: Brandi Milne

I really like Brandi Milne's older work (above) but her new work seems like she's trying to be mainstream, and it's not my thing. She also does mostly gallery work but has been in Hi Fructose a couple of times.

four: Hermann Mejia

Hermann has been one of my favorite illustrators for years. He does work consistently for MAD Magazine. Badass with portraiture and watercolor.

five: McBess

McBess is pretty much doing everything I need to be doing visually. Strong contrast, large hunks of black and white, contrast of empty areas and areas of dense detail, AND awesome exaggerration of human form.

six: Marjane Satrapi

We all know Marjane. Her inking style is a big influence on my ongoing comic. This still is from the movie adaptation of Persepolis but I love the contrast of gritty inkwash texture and stark black & white linework.

seven: Aubrey Beardsley

I love Beardsley's treatment of black & white. Beardsley did a lot of commission work illustrating books and plays. Wish he hadn't died so young!

eight: David Downton

I covered David's process and work in the last post, but he does a lot of work for fashion magazines--Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, ads for Absolut and Tiffany & Co.

nine: Unknown

I found this guy (or girl?)'s work on MonoModa but I don't know who it is. I like the illustrative aspects mixed with the realistic handling of value and form.

ten: Thomas Fuchs

Fuchs has a crazy impressive client list, including Bostom Globe, Chicago Tribune, Field & Stream, Forbes, Fortune, Future, Galmour, GQ, Harper's, Los Angeles Times, Men's Health, Money, National Geographic, National Post, Newsweek, Readers Digest, Rolling Stone, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Time, TV Guide, Vibe, etc., etc. I'm so jealous.

eleven: Little Friends of Printmaking

LFOP do a lot of screenprinting and illustration work for bands, music artists, and music shows.