This artist’s guide to getting more than just souvenirs when you travel

Lauren from Green Blanky Studio sitting at a desk drawing

Meet Lauren, the creative spirit and owner behind Green Blanky Studio, who captures the essence of her travels in exquisite watercolor illustrations. Based in the scenic mountain town of Brevard, North Carolina, her studio is more than just a workspace; it’s a hub of artistic exploration, driven by Lauren’s unwavering wanderlust. Green Blanky Studio is not just about creating art; it’s about celebrating the world’s beauty, one watercolor at a time.

How old were you when you started drawing and how did you connect it with travel? 

From a young age, I was always taking photos, making scrapbooks, and figuring out how to share what it is that I see. From there the connection between art and travel happened pretty organically. The world is a beautiful and wild place, and creating art has always been a way for me to capture and remember the wonder I feel for it.

What inspired you to turn your passion into a business?

I spent my college years in Charleston studying studio art with a concentration in photography and painting. I had no clue what to do with my life after graduating. I ended up as a UPS ride-along, university administrator, Girl Scouts programmer, and even reverted back to my first career as a lifeguard. After many odd jobs, I decided that I just needed to grab my watercolors and paint the world that I wanted to be a part of. My flagship line of icon prints started with one I created inspired by Friendly Pines Camp, the summer camp where I met my partner, John. After that, I made one favorite, the place I grew up, Cincinnati – and I haven’t stopped making them since! To date, my watercolor palette has taken me all around the world, introduced me to the best people, and allowed me to turn my passion into my dream job.

What are some of your favorite prints you’ve made and why?

Definitely, the ones that emote more than just images, such as some I can hear laughter in when I look at them. Most of my prints are based on my travels and the memories that I create, so when I look at them it’s like transporting back to a favorite place or moment in time. Lately, in these colder winter months, I like to look at the pieces that I created for Wander Women Retreats and dream of warmer days!

How do you decide what to include in your prints, i.e. landmarks, colors and some favorites you always add?

My favorite way to decide what goes into a print is to travel to the location and hear stories about the area. Beyond this, I do a ton of research, and I typically have friends or family in the locations I am working on that can help me fill in the blanks. 

I am a bit of an introvert, so I love how owning my art studio gives me a reason to engage with people and learn more about the world that we all share. 

I saw your partner is also a part of the business. Tell us how that came to be and what it’s like to work together!

John and I met as counselors at a summer camp in Arizona, we spent a lot of time in and out of the darkroom at university, and now he is my favorite travel buddy. We have grown with each other for a long time, and it has led to us sharing a lot of the same creative energy and passions. He has been successfully moonlighting for me over the years, but as of 2024 John is leaving his day job and joining Green Blanky Studio full-time – let’s see how he does!

What are some of your favorite activities to do when you travel? How do these translate into your artwork?

I love just walking around and getting lost in new locations. The first thing I do in a new place is find a cafe with a table in the corner where I can set up my watercolors. For me, this is a great way to meet locals and learn more about the place I am calling home for a bit.

Where’s your next destination? 

We recently finished a two month holiday season between Washington, D.C. and New York City, so we are hoping to catch a little bit of downtime in Brevard. Later this winter we are planning to take a short scuba diving trip to Bonaire. Then in the spring, John is going back to pastry school for three months in France. 

What new prints are you currently working on that will be available soon?

I am very excited about our newest print, Orcas Island. We traveled to The San Juan Islands as a family last year. It was an absolute dream, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. 

How many destinations are in your catalog to date?

Our catalog is always growing, but at the moment, we have over 100 locations!

What are the best sellers?

Strangely enough, our Coffee and Bourbon illustrations are likely our best sellers. As far as place-based illustrations go, our Cincinnati print is a fan favorite as well. 

Where can adventure lovers find and buy your illustrations?

  • The best place to find Green Blanky products is on my website – or on Etsy
  • We also sell our products at craft fairs. We will post a 2024 show schedule to our socials and website soon. 
  • If you are a boutique that would like to carry our products in your shop, we can also be found on Faire.

Lastly, if you are ever in Brevard, North Carolina, feel free to stop by the studio on Jordan Street. Just shoot me a message on Instagram to be sure we are in town too!

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