This Q&A feature article is the second of many to come for our Gals For Gals series where the team of Geek Gals interviews a variety of different female artists from different backgrounds.
Comic con season is picking back up this spring and summer. Here in Texas, we’ve got several coming up in a few weeks, including Comicpalooza in Houston on May 10-12, where you can meet comic con artist Lauren Rubin of Not Cool Co! I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren last October at Dallas Fan Days.
About Lauren Rubin
Lauren Rubin grew up just outside St. Louis, Missouri and attended college at The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design up in Wisconsin. She stayed in Milwaukee and started playing roller derby! Her skater name was T. Wrecks. She eventually headed down to good ol’ Texas (Houston!), bringing her love for roller derby with her and it has helped her meet a lot of friends in town. She no longer does roller derby but still loves to skate!
Lauren worked as a graphic designer for about three years for the Houston Astros. As awesome as the job was for her, she left to make her own thing happen in 2016–that’s when she started working freelance full-time and pursuing starting her own company, Not Cool Co.
During her spare time, she loves to cook. One of her favorite things is to throw big potlucks with her friends, usually themed around movies. But right now, they’re all about Game of Thrones for the next few weeks.
All images are created by Lauren Rubin/Not Cool Co
Describe your creative process.
First things first – I gotta come up with the concept! I tend to do a lot of research because I love including lots of details and symbolism hidden in the piece to add to the story.
I start every project on paper – and I just do very small, messy thumbnail sketches to get the basic layout figured out before I really get started. I do not spend too long on these but it really helps me with compositions and having a full idea in my head before I get going.
Next, I move on to a more detailed pencil sketch. I tend to get pretty detailed at this stage but when I’m done I have a very clear idea what the final product will be.
After that, I scan or photograph the sketch and jump into Adobe Illustrator to finish it up. Yes, I’m that crazy person who does all vector!
How did you start your company, Not Cool Company?
I started Not Cool Co just about two years ago. I had always wanted to do something like this, but with a full-time job and freelance on the side I just couldn’t quite find the time to really get it off the ground. I was really lucky to have a lot of cool jobs but I always kept going when I got home to build by freelance clients and portfolio so someday I would be able to do my own thing. When I made the jump to full-time freelance I was able to lean on that base I’d built up. I still do lots of client work to pay my bills so Not Cool Co. is still my passion project/outlet for all my creative ideas.
You are based in Houston. Do you have any places you go to for inspiration or to work that you can recommend to other creatives?
I’m actually a pretty major homebody because I’m always working on projects, haha! I get a lot of inspiration from watching TV and movies so you can catch me at the movie theater a lot! When I do get out of the house, I love hanging out at Alabama Ice House (shout-out to the taco truck there- the best in town!) I also like Café Brazil, Agora, Rudyards, and Black Hole.
It’s tough being an entrepreneur, running your own business. do you have any advice for women artists?
- Keep your receipts and keep up with your accounting. No matter how tedious it is.
- Network your butt off!!
- Make time for sleep.
- And always be nice to the people who work at the post office.
Will you expand to other products like tote bags or wristbands or crochet items on your Etsy shop someday?
Yes, in the future I’d love to have more items like that! Some things I’m looking into now are keychains, patches and of course, more pins!
Do you consider yourself a geek or nerd? if yes, what kind of geek or nerd?
I consider myself a huge geek/nerd. In fact, it’s why I go by “Not Cool Co” – I just fully embrace the fact that I am a huge dork.
Based on the artwork available on your Etsy shop, I see you love Pokemon, Rick and Morty, Game of Thrones, and Parks and Recreation! what other shows do you like? What fandoms are you a part of?
Wow, it’s actually hard to narrow this down!
- I’m a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan from way, way back.
- Star Wars is also way up there for me as well – I have actually done four Star Wars cosplays!
- Speaking of cosplays, I have a Guardians of the Galaxy group with my friends and I’m a huge fan of that series (I’m Rocket).
- Right now I’m really obsessed with The Magicians and I am doing some fan art to follow along with every episode of season 4.
- A few others I have to mention are Spider-Man, Saga, Wes Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Bob’s Burgers, Ru Paul’s Drag Race… And too many movies to mention! I’m a huge movie/TV nerd in general.
Who do you think will end up on the throne on Game of Thrones?
GREAT QUESTION!! I think it will probably be Daenerys, but there’s got to be some big twist. I’m not expecting a happy ending, haha! Sansa would be my second pick–only because I think she’s the only good person left who actually wants it… Dut mainly, Cersei can’t win.
What is your motivational mantra/motto?
It’s better to be busy than bored.
What is something you believe in that you can share with your fans?
I really believe there is little you can’t accomplish with a good attitude and a lot of hard work. Be positive and believe in yourself and you never know what can happen!
Which comic cons will you attend this year?
- May 10-12, 2019: Comicpalooza in Houston
- May 19, 2019: Patches and Pins Expo in Austin
- Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2019: Dragon Con in Atlanta
I also do lots of smaller local shows and gallery shows so keep an eye on my social media pages for updates of where I’ll be around town!
Featured image credit: Lauren Rubin / NotCool Co