I'm happy to introduce one my newest preferred vendors today, of a somewhat unique variety. Lauren Onesto is a very talented charcoal portrait artist who specializes in turning engagement or wedding portraits or snapshots into memorable wedding or anniversary gifts. Her business is HeArtwork by LO, and I've asked her a few questions about her art and her business so we can get to know her a bit better! 1) Tell us a little bit about yourself! My name is Lauren Onesto. I am a wife, mother and an artist. I have been drawing for a total of 7 years, specializing in Charcoal Portraits. I love to bring life to my drawings by making them hyper-realistic. My emphasis on portraits for weddings and anniversaries stems from my love for the Lord and to highlight one of the most important things in this world: LOVE. 'Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.' 1 Corinthians 13:13. My hope is that each drawing I complete will bring as much joy to the couple receiving it, as it brings to me creating it. 2) How did you come up with this business idea? I came up with this business idea after I created my first couple drawing for my cousin's wedding. To see her in tears and her love for the drawing when I gifted her the portrait sparked my desire to create more portraits that bring those same emotions to the couple receiving it. (Photos below by Holly from Lauren's cousin's wedding. Lauren unveiled the photo during her maid of honor toast.) 3) How does the process work from start to finish? For the beginning of every project I draw a grid on both the piece of paper and the photograph I am referencing from, which helps me to measure proportions. I then use my vine charcoal to shade a light gray tone across the white paper. Once the paper is toned, I start drawing the first subject (usually the person on the left in the photograph) on the paper with my charcoal pencils. I work with 4 different charcoal pencils that vary in tone: HB, 2B, 4B & 6B. For my shadows I use 6B and for highlights I use an electric eraser that picks up the charcoal leaving bright highlights. My drawings typically take anywhere from 15-25 hours depending on size. 4) What's your favorite drawing you've done? This is my favorite drawing that I've done, the photograph that I worked from had a really clear resolution and as a result I was able to get more detail. I also love how bright it is! 5) Are there any fun facts about you that you'd like to share? Something that I am really excited to share is that 10% of all my proceeds are donated to different organizations and ministries that help strengthen marriages and help people live out Gods design for marriage and family!