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Obsessions: Sara M. Lyons

Sara M. Lyons is one of our favorite illustrators on the 'net, and lucky for us she sells her "Creepy Cute" nail decals online right here at Urban Outfitters. We wanted to find out a little bit more about this self-proclaimed "professional weirdo," so we asked her about her illustrations, her favorite nail inspo, and whether or not she hates Tumblr.
Interview by Katie Gregory

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sara M. Lyons and I'm an artist and illustrator from Southern California. I just moved back to Orange County after almost ten years in Long Beach, and I'm now enjoying living in the shadow of Disneyland. I make stuff inspired by punk rock, comics, cartoons, pop culture, and what I think of as my version of the American teen girl experience. I like to call myself a professional weirdo, because so much of what I create is informed by having been a weird kid.

What is your favorite thing you've ever drawn?
Oh man. I'm really proud of "Fast Cars, Cheap Thrills," the Lindsay Lohan piece I did for Von Zos, and I love my Creepy Cruisers flash. But more than my finished pieces, I think I tend to like the little doodles and things I do in my sketchbook, silly stuff that often turns into the motifs and designs I use for things like my nail decals and digital drawings.



Your "Whatever, Forever" hands have been reblogged all over the place. Overall, has Tumblr been a positive outlet for you, or is it frustrating due to the number of times you may not be credited?
I have a love-hate relationship with Tumblr, and I think any artist that uses the site would agree. I think it's a great tool for artists as far as getting your work out there, but I do think there can be a big disconnect for a lot of the site's users -- people just click reblog and feel that they now have some kind of ownership over what they're posting. Tumblr is an awesome resource for inspiration, but it's frustrating to see it being used as a stock images library. I think that people forget there's an artist on the other end of everything they're reblogging. I'd like to see the site be more proactive about educating its users about intellectual property, but at the end of the day, I'm just glad my work is reaching so many people.

Who are some illustrators that you're a fan of?
Dan DeCarlo is probably my biggest influence -- I grew up on Betty and Veronica, so there's a lot of DeCarlo in my work. I love Edward Gorey for the creepiness factor, as well as texture. I love his drawings of mysterious women in furs. Right now I'm also really into the cool, girly work of ladies like Jen Oaks, Mel Stringer and Tuesday Bassen, and I have to give shoutouts to my talented artist friends Jennie Cotterill and Nancy Chiu.

We're currently selling your "Creepy Cute" nail decals. Do you have plans to produce more sets?
I just came out with a new set of designs called "Sweet & Creepy" in my Etsy shop, which I like to think of as the sister to my "Cute & Sleazy" sets. They're just a mix of 60 different designs with no real theme. I think I'll always keep doing new sets with designs that have no rhyme or reason, but I also have some themed packs in mind for 2014 -- some fairy tale motifs and more alphabet sets are in the works. I also just started producing all-over nail prints of designs like pizza and UFOs, so I'll definitely be experimenting more with those.



When you're doing your own nails, what do you like to get done? Do you have any nail inspo you'd like to share?
I have acrylics that I keep filed pointy and I'm obsessed with them. I like my shit to be over the top -- I love loading on a bunch of 3D nail art, but all the charms and stones snag my sweaters during the colder months, so right now I'm really into holographic glitter. Some of my very favorite Instagram nail artists are @heynicenails, @thisisvenice, and @astrowifey. I make my artist boyfriend JOSHR do my nails for me sometimes too! (He likes it.) (Really.)

Do you have any secret nail tips you'd like to share with us? Any amazing under-the-radar Etsy nail shops?
I get almost all of my nail supplies from local swap meets and discount stores, but Pepper Lonely's "nail art deco" section on Etsy is the closest online approximation to the nail art booth at the Anaheim Indoor Swap Meet.

We love your style. What are you constantly on the lookout for when you're shopping?
I kind of dress like a cartoon -- I like bold prints and a limited color palette, so I gravitate towards stuff that's a little outrageous but easy to wear. I'm always looking for sweaters and tees with weird graphics or patterns, things that I can mix in with some basic staples and my motorcycle boots or Converse. I also have a weakness for quirky accessories -- novelty sunglasses, printed tights, patterned socks, silly jewelry... Oh god, just GIVE IT TO ME. I feel like the older I get the more I have a sense of humor about clothes.

Where can we find you online?
Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr!