Erin Vaugan Draws the Forests and the Trees

I squealed the first time I saw Erin Vaughan's work. There, sitting on a shelf, was a three-dimensional, vintage trailer made from paper; it was small enough to park in the palm of your hand. You could see rivets in the aluminum door and into the tiny windows, above which Navajo-patterned curtains were hung. Freaking adorable.

Although the 24-year-old grew up in the suburbs, her work is steeped in nature and Americana nostalgia. “I spent much of my childhood camping and taking road trips,” Vaughan says, “and I continue to seek out those experiences to create inspiration for my work.” Vaughan's dedication has paid off, as she freelances full-time out of her Fullerton studio, designing post cards for national parks and selling artwork from her Etsy shop. (See more at

The rest of Vaughan's images tell stories of summer camp, hiking through the woods and the bird's-eye view of a valley when you've finally hit the summit. It all has a charming, Wes Anderson quality to it and sometimes looks a bit wobbly, as if a still from a stop-animation cartoon. Vaughan brought that feeling to her senior thesis installation at Biola. “My illustrations were printed on card stock, then cut up and assembled into three-dimensional tree houses on a massive landscape,” she recalls. It's a wonderful little world that makes you want to shrink down and walk around, exploring the rich colors and janky homemade tents.

Outside that world, Vaughan's sylvan artwork is paired with schoolmate Alex Choura's graceful hand lettering for their Golden Pines Paper Shop. And you can catch her at upcoming Patchwork craft shows in Long Beach and SanTana—she'll be the sweet-lookin' blonde surrounded by all the tall trees.

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