Confessions of a Badass Babe: Sara M. Lyons

Inspired by go-getters and badass babes in general, this series is basically me spending time with women who built and followed their own yellow brick road (and then re-painted it the color they wanted when it was finished). From how they're Buffy the Vampire slaying it, to who they've been double-tapping on instagram. I get to the bottom of how they became the badass babes they are today.

As my first babe of this series with Zero Gravity, I contacted a local badass babe. A self-proclaimed weirdo of southern california, the artist/illustrator/nail decal queen Sara M. Lyons. You might know her by her awesome nail decals or her "Whatever Forever" illustration. Either way, this woman is making swoon worthy must-have-items. Luckily, I had the pleasure of sneaking in a few minutes to ask her a couple questions about why she's so awesome. And if you need to see proof, her instagram tells all >> @saramlyons (add and double-tap forever).

(all photos provided by Sara M. Lyons)

Hiiii Sara! Let's start with how you became a badass babe. When did you know you had super human drawing powers? And what inspired you to pursue illustrating as a full-time career?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember - I grew up with a super-creative artist mom and a talented older sister, so we did a lot of art projects as kids, and art supplies were always some of my favorite “toys.”  When I was in high school I loved drawing comics, but I never really thought making art was something I would actually get to do as a career. It wasn't until my late twenties that I really realized this was what I was good at and what I wanted to do. 

Where do you find inspiration for new projects?

It really depends on the project - these days my schedule is pretty full with really fun client work, which means collaborating with other people on stuff that I wouldn’t always necessarily think of on my own.  I love working with clients because it’s fun to take someone’s concept and put my own spin on it.  I feel like no matter what I’m working on, I always bring my aesthetic and my references to the table - I’m inspired by pop culture, punk rock, cult film, Archie comics, ‘80s and ‘90s toys and cartoons, and my own experiences as a weird teen coming of age in Southern California in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.  I like to explore and challenge the concept of femininity in a lot of my work.

What gets you out of a creative block? 

I used to get really frustrated with myself when I felt blocked, so I’ve learned that when nothing is flowing that it’s usually best to just put it down and try again later.  I always have something to do, and fortunately a lot of my work is pretty mindless, so when I’m feeling like I can’t think of anything fresh to draw or that I can’t control my pen the way I want to, I’ll stop for a while and go sit at my desk and put together nail decals for 45 minutes.  Usually doing that kind of repetitive work helps clear my head and get back into the groove.

Your nail decals are UGH-MAZE-ING, out of all the decal packs you’ve made which is your favorite?

OMG NO, it’s like asking me to pick my favorite child!  Seriously, I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my nail decals that each one is a total labor of love, but I’m especially obsessed with my CUTE & SLEAZY, DAINTY & DIRTY, and SWEET & CREEPY sets. They’re extra-special to me because rather than having any real common thread or theme, they’re all just comprised of 60 individual tiny illustrations, and it’s a lot of fun (and a lot of work!) coming up with the motifs I want to include, and lots of the designs have personal meaning for me, so seeing people wear them is always really thrilling.

What fellow female artist are you currently obsessed with?

I can’t get enough of Sophie McMahan’s work; it’s retro-pulp-sci-fi-romance filtered through pastel rose-colored glasses and I’m pretty obsessed with it. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.    

What TV show do you wish could be resurrected from the 90’s?

I loved Ren & Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life.  All the early and mid-‘90s Nickelodeon stuff is super nostalgic for me - Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Clarissa Explains It All.  

When you put down the pen and paper, where do you let loose?

I don’t really let very loose! I’m a homebody these days, and I really do enjoy my work so much that it doesn’t bother me that I spend most of my time on it in some capacity. I relax by doing mellow stuff like getting my nails done or doing a sweep at the Lush store. I’m all about a beer, a bong rip, a book, and a bubble bath. Also, my boyfriend and I live a mile from Disneyland, so we have annual passes and we like to walk down the street and do a lap or two around the park.  We also have a lot of great food in Anaheim so I like to get out of the house and eat something awesome a couple times a week.  

3 emojis that best describe you?

Most used iPhone app?
Instagram, easily! With VSCO trailing close behind. I’m Instagram obsessive, and I use VSCO to keep my feed looking super cute at all times.

Who’s instagram feed has you double tapping? 

@portablesera is definitely my favorite, all of her photos are breathtakingly composed. My friend @crstecykiii recently finally got instagram and his feed is already predictably killing it. 

@theconnoisseurofcute@pineapplesandcoffeecups, and @judithinwonderland are some of my favorites for super-cute eye candy. 

On the other side of the aesthetic coin, I love the stark black-and-white illustrations/tattoo flash by @cobrasharksucks, @zackdenis, and @tealeigh. 

Give us 3 essentials that Miss Lyons needs on the daily?

1. Obsessed with my bullet journal - I use a classic black squared Moleskine. I’m not at all an organized person by nature, but I have to be for work, so I’ve developed a system that works for me and when I get out my Moleskine at meetings people lose their minds. I am totally lost without it. When I open my purse and realize I’ve left it at home I get heart palpitations.

2. iPhone for sure.  Bury me with my iPhone, hope there is wifi in the great beyond.

3. Coffee and medical cannabis keep my anxiety and depression at bay better than any pill I was ever prescribed. I’m not a pleasant person to be around without either.  

Movie Scenario: You walk into a party/bar what song would be playing as your entrance jam?

“Garbageman” by the Cramps.

What’s next for Miss Sara M. Lyons, anything new in your quest for world domination?

I just launched my new online shop, WWW.SHOP.SARAMLYONS.COM!  I have some rad new stuff coming up in 2015, but I don’t want to jinx myself, so I’ll just say this coming year is going to be my biggest one yet - I can’t wait!


And lastly, I asked Sara to elevate her look with a Zero Gravity iPhone case. 

It was obviously love at first sight with the Lil Picasso iPhone case <3

Get the look >>





Erin AKA @eatherbrains

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