Sophomore AJ Lauer dedicates his free time to creating portraits and other drawings

Lauer has been creative since he was young and now draws both digitally and traditionally


By AJ Lauer

Sophomore AJ Lauer posts drawings like these on his Instagram account including characters from Encanto, self portraits and other drawings.

Emma Clement, JagWire reporter/photographer

Though many students spend their free time binge watching TV shows or playing video games, sophomore AJ Lauer uses his time to create art. For other students, this process may seem difficult and taxing, but for Lauer it’s not as hard as it seems.

Lauer draws both digitally and traditionally, though he says that traditional drawing materials are more costly, so it is often financially beneficial to work digitally. This also has artistic benefits as digital work can create more finished pieces.

Lauer has been creating since he was in Kindergarten and has seen his style progress and change over the years.

“I started out, definitely, with a lot of anime [and] manga inspiration and then developed a semi-realism of it, but you can definitely still see some of that anime [influence] in there,” Lauer said.

On his art Instagram account, @ajlau_art, Lauer posts drawings, most of which are portraits. He has made it a goal to post a work on Instagram every day and spends anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week on his art, with each piece taking up to three hours.

Lauer has posted some drawings of characters from the movie Encanto, which is not the first time he’s used media as an inspiration for art. His mother, Jennifer Lauer, saw him expressing his creativity from a young age, initially gaining inspiration from Ninjago, Lightning McQueen and Minecraft. 

“He was creating something 24/7 whether that be drawing, painting or building with Legos,” Jennifer said. “When I would go to pick up AJ from daycare the other kids would be running around and AJ would be quietly drawing at a table.”

Growing and developing these skills has been especially important for Lauer as he occasionally turns his hobby into a job.

“It’s gotten me some jobs and, for a while, it was my one job that I did,” Lauer said. “It’s fun to do, and I get some money off of it sometimes.”

Jennifer enjoys looking at his Instagram account because she can see the outcome of all of his effort. 

“Some of my favorite works are those he created for Inktober, an Instagram challenge,” Jennifer said. “Each day of the month in October he created a new piece, even if he had to stay up late to complete it.”

Lauer has grown a lot in his art over the years and advises young artists to “practice a lot and get down [their art] fundamentals” before moving on to more difficult pieces so they are as successful as they can be.

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