ATTENTION TO DETAIL: The Intricate Illustrations of Laura Sommer
-By Ted Scheffler
Anyone who loves nature will be drawn to Laura Sommer’s artwork, which features “all things nature” - including birds, insects, flowers, trees and animals. The owner of Laura Sommer Creative says, “The style of my art is expressive pen work, made up of lines, dots and scribbles. The drawings relate to everyone out there that loves nature, who has a favorite animal, bird, flower, or etcetera. The line drawings interpret really well when laser is engraved into wood. The line work is still as detailed as the original drawing.”
Many people who have seen Sommer’s artwork in an array of mediums such as greeting card, coasters, illustrations, ornaments and pictures have offered her commissions to draw their favorite pet, to design a business logo, create book illustrations, or even tattoos. This year she’ll be laser engraving her illustrations into wooden book covers for a local book company. Regarding commission or “for hire” work, she advises other artists to “Take on commissions and make items that you do not necessarily want to do. Sometimes you have to do those things to bring the money in!”
Sommer draws from Utah’s natural beauty in her artwork and has drawn many moose, honey bees, aspen trees, hummingbirds, mountains, and other items from our unique environment. She adds, “I collaborated with a friend, who wrote in a calligraphy style all of the famous things to do with Utah, inside the shape of the state of Utah, and I illustrated all around it. This included famous landmarks, places, flowers, trees, a beehive with bees, the Golden Spike, Utes football, national parks, and so on.”
Detail is the cornerstone of Sommer’s drawings. “People who look at my art always comment on how detailed the drawings are and how I capture the personality of each animal or whatever I’m illustrating,” she says.
An art teacher for grades 7-12 for 20 years, when asked how she transitioned into the commercial art world Sommer says, “Art has always been my passion. It was the obvious thing to do so that other people could get the same enjoyment out of my art that I do. I love being creative and like the freedom to be able to create whatever I like, and works that will appeal to the marketplace. I have always created drawings and paintings whilst working full time, and it got to the point where I felt stretched to do the teaching and art at the same time. So I chose one over the other.”
She credits her husband, Stan, for being “fully supportive of my decision to do what I'm doing, even though there's never the same week-to-week salary coming in. He is always there to help me load, unload and set up at the markets and he's always there to offer advice if I need it because he has a very successful business himself.”
In addition to her website, laurasommerartist.com, Laura posts images of her art on Instagram and participates in local markets such as the Downtown Farmers Market, Park Silly Market, Utah Art Market, Made in Utah and Wild Earth Market. She also has some items in the gift store of Red Butte Gardens, Commerce and Craft in Sugarhouse, and Native Flower Company. She hopes in a few years to “have a storefront where I could sell my own artwork as well as other local artisans. I would also like to have little events in the same space, such as art classes, art shows and networking,” she says.