Pop culture artist Lauren Moran joins us on Close-up Culture to tell us about her drawing of beloved WWE superstar Becky Lynch that went viral earlier this week.
Q: Your drawing of a bloodied Becky Lynch perfectly captures the roll she is on at the moment and has rightfully blown up online. What inspired you to make this illustration and what have you made of the response it has received?
A: Her! As soon as the moment happened I thought: “oh wow, I’m going to have to draw that!” – I’ve been swamped with work lately but I made sure to take a little time to create something just for me. I even posted a tweet about how if I finished a commission I was going to treat myself to drawing it!
The response has honestly been a very huge surprise and quite overwhelming. I don’t think I’ve gotten that many likes or retweets on anything before. It’s humbling and a little bit intimidating, but it’s also so inspiring to keep making more pieces for everyone to enjoy.
Q: It has such a striking and clever use of colour, which is consistent throughout all of your work. Can you talk about your thinking behind the style of this illustration?
A: To be honest, there wasn’t much thinking with this one. It was pretty late when I started, so I was mainly just trying to get something I’d been thinking about all day out of my system before bed. I was winging it for the most part!
When I know I want to draw something, I get into a zone where I just go and problem solve along the way. A lot of the time when I go about a piece like that they end up being my favourites.
Q: Becky retweeted the drawing. Have you ever had any other fun or notable responses to work you’ve done in the past?
A: Yeah, she did! I still cannot get over that.
Actually I have. Last October I did a massive inked piece of the women’s roster, and Charlotte Flair posted it on her Instagram and Twitter the day before the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match (and she actually tagged me, which is surprisingly rare for celebrities to do) – so that was pretty amazing.
Another good one is from a few years ago – I had designed a shirt for the New Day that was supposed to be an exclusive for a signing they were going at an FYE store, which was already a cool thing for me! A month or so after I completed the design, they wore the shirts on Monday Night Raw. For three weeks in a row! I had absolutely no idea this was going to happen. I chatted with them all a bit on Twitter afterwards, but that was one of the most surreal things to happen.
One more great one that recently happened – I did a portrait of Stu from Scream towards the end of the movie when he’s all bloody and worried about what his parents are going to think. Matthew Lillard (who played Stu) actually commented on the Instagram post responding: “mom was upset but dad got where I was coming from” – and I lost it! Such a great response.
There has been a few more, but these are the stand out ones for me. It’s always so wild when the people you admire and pay tribute to see what you did and take the time to respond.
Q: Where does this ‘The Man’ Becky Lynch illustration rank among your favourite work?
A: Oof, that is tough! I don’t think I’ve ever thought to rank my favourite pieces. She is for sure in my top 10, maybe even top 5. I’m pretty happy with how it came out.
Q: The picture of bloody Becky follows up nicely from the wonderful Halloween illustrations you did in October of films such as ‘Alien’, ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’, ‘The VVitch’ and many others. How much fun did you have diving into the world of horror this October?
A: Right! Maybe that’s why I was so eager to draw it, I was already on a roll with bloody faces.
I had such a blast doing these. Every October I love to participate in Inktober (one ink drawing per day/week/whenever you want in October) – the past few years I tried to pick a theme, but this year I just drew whatever spooky thing I was feeling that day. Drawing horror is one of my favourite subjects, so doing all these was the best time especially since I’ve been working so much in digital recently. It was nice to get my hands dirty again.
Q: Your illustrations match up with my own love for wrestling, film and music. I must admit I am incredibly jealous of your talent! Can you tell us more about your passions and what you love about them being part of your work?
A: My passions are very much spoken for in my work. My interests are so all over the place that I think I’ve draw something for everyone over the years. One of my favorite things about this is all the amazing conversations I’ve had with people online or when I’m tabling at a convention. It’s the best when I meet someone who loves wrestling, Carly Rae Jepson, Hedwig or The Angry Inch as much as I do!
My father is a rock and roll collector so I grew up in a household surrounded by tons and tons of incredible vintage rock and roll posters, photographs and records. I think that had a very big influence on the direction I’ve taken artistically. I’ve been drawing my favourite musicians, actors and wrestlers for what feels like most of my life, and being surrounded by all this gorgeous art that was a tribute to these incredible musicians shaped what I want to do with my career.
I really love to pay tribute to the things that are influencing and inspiring me at the time – whether it’s a new album (currently it’s My Mind Makes Noises By Pale Waves), a great TV episode (I’ve got a Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina piece I’m waiting to do), or Becky Lynch whooping ass and taking names.
Q: You’ve shirt designs for Disney, Marvel and WWE. What is it like for you collaborating with these huge companies?
A: Insane. Completely insane! For my day job, I’m an assistant art director for a shirt design company where we have the rights to all of these amazing licenses that I get to play with and create fun art for.
I think the best part about getting to work with these different properties is seeing them out in the wild, it never gets old passing someone wearing a shirt I did or seeing it on the shelves of stores I’ve been shopping at for so long. Or you know, when the New Day wear your design on Monday Night Raw!
Q: I saw the your illustration of bloody Becky posted in a lot of places without any credit. Is that one of the biggest struggles for you as an artist? What other challenges are you faced with?
A: It’s pretty annoying. A new one I have been dealing with from the Becky piece is people trying to sell it on shirts, which is so insane! I do not understand how anyone could think that’s an ok thing to do. You know you didn’t create that, so why are you trying to make a buck off of it!
Sometimes pricing my work can also be a challenge, mainly because I tend to undervalue myself and my work by pricing my work far lower than I should. But I’m trying to get better at that. I think that is something many illustrators and artists have a tough time with.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or ambitions you can share with us?
A: I have an upcoming design coming out with 1-2-3 pins celebrating a pretty legendary match, which should be coming out sometime next year. I also have a few holiday sweaters coming to WWE shop within the next few weeks. They light up, so that’s pretty exciting!
I’ll also be tabling at ACE Comic Con Arizona on 11, 12 and 13 January.
Q: Lastly, do you have a message for ‘The Man’ Becky Lynch?
A: Will you marry me?