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Hand-Lettering & Illustration48:21 with Mary Kate McDevitt
Mary Kate McDevitt, a hand-lettering illustrator, talks about how she bridged the gap between graphic design and illustration.
[SOUND] Okay, yeah. 0:00 Thank you so much. 0:04 Thank you guys so much for being here. 0:08 Thank you Creative South for putting together 0:12 this amazing event and just general awesomeness and. 0:15 Thankfulness and pleasure to be here. 0:20 So, my name is Mary Kate McDevitt. 0:23 I'm an illustrator and a letterer. 0:25 And I like to say illustrator and letterer because 0:28 while most of my work is lettering based, it's 0:31 easier to say illustrator and letterer because it kind 0:35 of gives you an insight of what I do. 0:38 I illustrate letters. 0:39 I live and work in Brooklyn, New York. 0:43 And I share a studio with my boyfriend who is a screen printer. 0:45 And he's been my printer since 2005. 0:49 And he's been printing all my work. 0:51 Even in my, even in college, my college projects. 0:54 So I'm not a typographer. 0:59 I don't make fonts. 1:01 At least not yet. 1:02 I've kind of dabbled in it, but it's 1:04 very difficult making hand lettered fonts because hand lettering 1:06 is something that is completely custom, something that you 1:10 make all by hand, very project specific based projects. 1:14 And fonts, it's like you have to have. 1:19 It has to have like a more basic feel, so. 1:22 I have cr, attempted some fonts, and they're not good. 1:25 And it'll be years until I release something like that. 1:29 I just use letters as the main subject for my illustration work. 1:33 I do everything from book covers, editorial work. 1:38 Chalkboard illustrations, greeting 1:43 cards, covers of journals ad campaigns. 1:48 This is something I've finished recently for Smart Ones. 1:53 I did, these are all just stills of. 1:59 These animated billboards I did that were in Times Square. 2:01 And you can see on the right it's a, that's a billboard in Times Square. 2:04 And 2:10 here's a little animation. 2:12 It's really, it was really fun seeing my lettering kind of jump around. 2:15 And there's no sound because it was just in Times Square running. 2:19 And I actually didn't do the illustration, I didn't do 2:23 the potato chips another illustrator came in and did that. 2:26 And this really goofy animation of a hand erasing everything. 2:28 But it was really fun and it is amazing 2:33 to see how lettering can work in different venues, and 2:36 Everything like that. 2:42 More ad campaigns, something I did for Nintendo. 2:43 Sugar ad campaigns, because you need to know what kind of sugar to use. 2:48 And a lot of personal work. 2:53 I love coffee, so that's something I always go 2:55 to when I need a topic for new work. 2:59 And weird phrases I pick up from television shows. 3:02 I am obsessed with News Radio. 3:07 I've probably watched all seasons back to back so many times. 3:09 This is just something weird that Bill McNeal 3:14 said and it was around Halloween and I 3:17 was like that's kinda spooky I'm just gonna 3:19 make this illustration and it's something I just did. 3:21 You know, in one night or something. 3:24 And these are the tools I use. 3:27 I keep it pretty basic. 3:30 I don't really explore too much with different kind of brush 3:31 pens or calligraphy opens because everything I do is drawn, not really. 3:34 With like strokes, so, using a pencil to get my 3:40 sketch down and I just used the uniball vision pen. 3:44 I like it, it has a nice dark line 3:48 and sometimes I use different fine, fine weight markers. 3:50 But, that's pretty much it. 3:55 And this is probably the closest thing I'll 3:58 get to using a Syntec or Wacom tablet. 4:00 This is my light table. 4:03 It's real, it's a, if you're looking to get a light pad, this is the one to get. 4:05 It has really perfect light. 4:09 And it's nice and even. 4:11 And it's not super bulky like a lot of them. 4:13 But I like to keep my process pretty low tech even when 4:16 I use Illlustrator and Photoshop, which I do for my coloring and texture, 4:20 it's, I stick to the very basic tools, like I use, I don't 4:25 use a pen tool to create any lettering, everything is done by hand. 4:29 When it into Illustrator to really just to like 4:33 pick colors quickly and kind of get everything down. 4:36 And see the layout come to fruition. 4:39 This is my favorite tool of all time. 4:42 The good old number two Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. 4:44 It's by my side at all times. 4:49 My worst ideas, my best ideas and I always have 20 freshly sharpened 4:52 pencils next to me because I think that's really important and I love them. 4:56 A new pencil means better drawings. 5:03 While this is completely not true, nerding out on new tools can make you better 5:05 because when you get new tools, you're like okay, I need to do some drawings. 5:10 I need to like practice. 5:16 I need to see what this pencil, how this pencil looks. 5:17 And that's something that will make you better. 5:21 The more you draw, the better you get. 5:23 And that is the only way to get better. 5:25 So I did this drawing when I got a new pencil, and I was pretty psyched about it. 5:27 Kind of like a fancier mechanical pencil. 5:32 Still using my number two, but every once in a while, it's good to try new tools. 5:34 So I've been freelancing for the past five years now. 5:41 I started teaching some skill share classes, and I just 5:45 published a lettering journal with 5:49 Chronicle Books called The Hand-Lettering Ledger. 5:51 And coming to talks like this, it's kinda forced me to 5:54 look back at my process, how I've gotten to where I am. 5:56 And one thing that stuck out to me most is that my unexpectations have worked for me. 6:00 If expectations are a strong belief that something will happen in the future. 6:07 Then unexpectations are a strong belief that nothing will 6:11 happen in the future unless you make it happen now. 6:15 Expectations sound good, but if you apply them 6:18 to your life goals, it's scary as shit. 6:21 I mean it's like when you have this 6:23 extra pressure, it makes it difficult to continue. 6:26 When I decided to go to art school. 6:30 I didn't really know where I would end up, I didn't know what design was. 6:32 I was just pretty good at drawing so I figured I would go to art school. 6:36 When I decided to switch to freelance, I didn't know 6:40 how I would be able to pay my bills, how 6:43 I would spend my days, get clients, but it didn't 6:45 matter because I knew that's where I was meant to be. 6:48 Expectations can limit you. 6:51 When you're expected to have this specific outcome, it's just that added pressure. 6:53 But unexpectations are freeing. 6:58 I come from the school of thought 7:00 that things will work out, eventually, hopefully. 7:02 And I know that if you work hard, to be 7:06 doing what you wanna be doing, it will work out. 7:09 That's why this quote by Conan O'Brien really inspired me. 7:14 The full quote is Nobody in life gets 7:17 exactly what they thought they were going to get. 7:19 But if you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen. 7:21 Don't let the fear of the future keep you from doing what you feel is right for you. 7:26 That means saying yes to projects even if it 7:30 doesn't pay well, even if the deadline is crazy short. 7:33 Acting on inspiration, having an idea and just going for 7:37 it and just being excited for something you want to create. 7:40 And just being thankful this is what we get to do, 7:43 even when someone is trying to suck out all of the fun. 7:46 Even if it's 3 a.m. 7:49 and you're working on a deadline while everyone else is out for drinks. 7:50 We're all just basically winging it with confidence. 7:54 Anyone who has gone to art school, became a 7:57 designer, became a freelancer or just started a crazy 8:00 project from this small idea, is familiar with this 8:02 idea that the unexpected is better than the expected. 8:05 Because this path is not cut and dried. 8:10 We're not accountants, sorry accountants, I feel like every time 8:12 I use an example that's the opposite of designers it's accountants. 8:15 We need you we love you accountants but it's a different path. 8:19 Where you work for X amount of dollars for X amount 8:24 of years you get this kind of promotion and this kind of. 8:27 Pay raise. 8:30 There is no formula. 8:31 With this field, you find your calling, go for it. 8:32 Work your ass off. 8:36 And reach your own idea of success. 8:37 Many of us has been at a, many of us at one point in time have been 8:41 in a position where you're worried about doing the 8:44 work you feel like you're supposed to be doing. 8:47 And not focusing on the work you could be doing now. 8:50 The work that you actually love to do. 8:52 And I kind of align this idea with any romantic comedy from the 8:54 90s, or a Jane Austin novel if you want to be fancy about it. 9:00 Where the main character has such a specific type of person she thinks she is 9:03 meant to be with, she doesn't realize love was in front of her all along. 9:07 So, in this case, Cher's the designer. 9:11 Ty is the project. 9:15 The objective is to make Ty fit in, find 9:17 her a popular boyfriend, and give her a makeover. 9:20 Cher's influence was from Mr. Hall. 9:24 Because when she got a bad grade in class, led 9:26 to her first project setting him up with Ms. Geist. 9:29 Cher's inspiration was Josh, because he 9:33 was teasing her about being so self-centered. 9:35 She set out to do more good deeds. 9:38 The conventional expectation is Elton, [LAUGH] the rich, popular boy 9:41 who claimed he would never fit in with Ty anyway. 9:46 And the unexpectation was Travis, the loadie who generally hangs 9:49 out on the grassy knoll that no respectable girl ever dates. 9:52 After it was official Elton was never going to date Tai, she was crushed, 9:56 but she never even liked Tai to begin, I mean Elton to begin with. 10:00 It made no sense. 10:04 So this is the final revised version of Tai, a cross between 10:04 inspiration and influence, a more polished version of her skater-girl style. 10:10 Who. 10:15 Ended up happily ever after with Travis. 10:16 Who turned out to be good at skateboarding. 10:18 And like had all these interest outside of drugs, which he quit at the end. 10:20 Which is like kind of important for that to wrap up. 10:24 And of course, and of course Cher ended 10:27 up with an unexpectation as well, her stepbrother Josh. 10:32 But they had to make it clear that. 10:36 They were only for real step brother and sister for like a week. 10:38 So, cuz in the original Jane Austen novel, 10:42 I think they're like more official step, siblings. 10:46 So if we all had a group of cheer high schoolers cheering, be yourself! 10:49 You're too good for him! 10:54 We might be better off but for now we have to step back and cheer for ourselves. 10:56 Put the focus on small tasks to make progress towards your goal and you 11:00 will expe, exceed your expectations, rather than 11:05 putting the focus on the finished product. 11:08 If you set expectations for yourself, especially when someone else does it for 11:11 you, like Cher did to Ty, it's 11:14 limiting, potentially disappointing, and just not fun. 11:16 When you set unexpectations, anything feels possible. 11:20 When I started lettering, perfection wasn't my goal. 11:25 While I live design, I felt like I was attempting styles that didn't mean 11:28 anything to me, because I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing. 11:32 Working with slick styles and fonts and. 11:35 Gilt fans, I don't know, that's how my design brain worked back in the day. 11:39 I quickly found out that I should work how I like 11:44 to work, using illustrations and textures, and that's how I started lettering. 11:46 I just wanted to create unified designs. 11:51 I had no idea lettering was like a thing, I 11:53 just wanted to draw the letters so it matched my designs. 11:56 So I was blending my illustration style and design taste with the letter. 12:01 I wanted it to have a very of the 12:05 moment feel and keep that inspiration apparent in my lettering. 12:07 These are a couple spreads from a 12:11 children's book I redesigned in art school. 12:13 The book is [UNKNOWN] which was one of my favorite children's book growing 12:15 up, If you have kids or not you should pick up that book. 12:20 It's so magical. 12:24 These are mini curls chalkboards which were my 12:28 first personal project outside of school in 2008. 12:31 At the time shortly after I graduated school 12:34 in 2007 I was working at a design studio. 12:38 I wasn't creatively fulfilled. 12:42 I felt like I didn't have enough time to really do 12:44 the things I wanted to do outside of, outside of work. 12:46 Because at work I was more of a production designer 12:51 doing e-blasts and skews and doing these layouts of flooring samples. 12:54 And it was really not my cup of tea. 12:58 So, I came up with the, this idea outside of 13:03 work that I would just do two things in one day. 13:07 Because nine to five jobs, they really can suck all the fun out of it. 13:10 So I would just kind of write on a notepad 13:15 or I had this big vintage chalk board in my apartment. 13:17 And I would write two things i was gonna do, even if it was just grocery shopping. 13:20 And working on a painting, going for a walk, going out to dinner 13:24 with friends and just doing something that made me feel accomplished and special as 13:29 little and minuet as they were and I kind of came up with 13:34 this idea to make a product out of it I decided to make chalkboards. 13:38 I love the vintage feel of these slate chalkboards I found. 13:43 And I was increasingly interested in lettering and hand 13:46 painted styles, so I decided to bring those ideas together. 13:48 It didn't matter that I wasn't making a lot of money, or that it was 13:53 a small start, but I loved making them and I was psyched about the idea. 13:55 The chalkboards ended up on some of my favorite design blogs. 14:01 That ultimately led me to my relationship with Chronicle Books who 14:05 published the Mini Goals Notepad which was based off my chalkboards. 14:08 This is a screenshot of the Mini Goals Notepad in 2010. 14:12 The website doesn't look like this anymore, but I like 14:17 to keep this screenshot because the website layout is so wonky. 14:20 It's hilarious. 14:24 The [UNKNOWN] notepad was sold at Urban Outfitters, 14:25 so my younger cousins thought I was the shit. 14:28 [LAUGH] It was also sold at Staples, so my 14:30 Mom was like, okay you're legit now, it's at Staples. 14:34 She's been collecting Staples coupons for like the past 20 years. 14:39 I swear. 14:43 So it put that thought in my head that 14:45 I can perhaps quit my design job and start freelance. 14:47 Even though I didn't really have a ton of projects 14:50 lined up, I knew I was motivated to make more work. 14:52 And I figured, Chronicle Books is a pretty good first 14:55 client, so surely I'll be able to get some others. 14:58 But I was able to save enough money. 15:02 And I moved to Portland. 15:04 And, I just decided if I'm going to go freelance, I'm just going to make it work. 15:06 Move to Portland, where young people go to retire. 15:12 I figured it was very fitting. 15:14 And it was the perfect city for me at the time. 15:17 Really affordable, such a fertile commun, a creative community. 15:19 And. 15:24 I really loved it. 15:25 I continued to work with Carnival Books with my line of notepads and 15:26 journals, all based on the theme of 15:29 motivation and even celebrating the smallest accomplishments. 15:31 This is the Carpe Diem journal and it kinda 15:35 just pokes fun about doing your day to day tasks. 15:38 Feels good to get some stuff done. 15:44 I like some stuff. 15:46 It's less pressure. 15:47 It's like, if you do one thing today, that's awesome. 15:49 Go-getters are sexy, because they absolutely are. 15:52 If today goes well, you may go you out for ice cream. 15:57 I'm thinking of doing an update like,. 16:00 30 and up version, because I don't have as much ice cream as I used to. 16:02 Can't, you gotta cut down on the sugar, you know? 16:08 So I found lettering very freeing. 16:12 Not only was it something I could obsess over in the 16:14 world of design, the subject is already there, letters, words, quotes, whatever. 16:16 And it's my job to illustrate the letters, 16:21 and convey their message on a more conceptual level. 16:23 I love to take the information I'm given, and 16:27 present it back to the audience in a new way. 16:29 New beautiful hand drawn way. 16:31 Over time with hours of practice, exposure 16:33 to more resources and reference material, and 16:36 just more type in general, my lettering has gotten tighter than it used to be. 16:39 But I still try to not take it too seriously. 16:43 Sometimes I'll reference my older work just to like be reminded that 16:46 you can, it doesn't have to have so much decoration or something. 16:50 Or it can just be one hand-drawn letter. 16:54 It doesn't have to be over the top. 16:58 Which kind of reminds me of this, Picasso quote. 17:01 Every child is an artist. 17:04 The problem is remaining an artist once we grow up. 17:05 And the problem is remaining an artist, being 17:09 true to your style, from that initial inspiration. 17:11 I've always been drawn to the naïve style. 17:14 Folk art, and just the hand drawn style of handwritten notes and what have you. 17:17 While I don't think exposure to new references hurt my work. 17:22 I find myself wanting to let a line waver, a letter be crooked and off. 17:26 Because, that is what I was initially inspired by, and I don't wanna lose that. 17:29 [BLANK_AUDIO] 17:33 [INAUDIBLE] That's one of the reason's I was, I'm 17:35 drawn to chalk, the immediate nature of the material. 17:37 I started getting lettering projects when I 17:43 was posting them on [UNKNOWN] chalkboard online. 17:45 I was getting emails like oh I saw your chalkboard 17:46 online so do you do chalkboard lettering we have this project. 17:50 And I'm like yeah, of course. 17:53 So I was doing a lot of local jobs for 17:56 like Portland Mercury and little jobs that had like chalk. 17:59 Feel to it. 18:03 Rachel Ray, Oprah Magazine. 18:04 These illustrations were created for a [UNKNOWN] series by Puffin Books. 18:06 Every year or so they do a new series inspired by specific medium. 18:11 Tattoos, embroidery, and I was really happy to be brought on to do these series. 18:17 So this is Black Beauty. 18:22 A Christmas Carol. 18:25 [COUGH] These were created on large chalkboards with colored chalk, which is a 18:26 pain to work with because the pigment, doesn't erase like the white chalk does. 18:31 Especially working in layers and having this very illustrative feeling. 18:36 I wanted to have the titles work within the illustrations. 18:44 I created this series with the emphasis on a 18:47 background and middle ground foreground, to make it really cohesive. 18:49 But I wanted to mix classic styles and illustrations, so it had a playful 18:53 look, not too stuffy, since these are for Puffin, the young book reader division. 18:56 And I really liked how these came out; I felt 19:02 like they were really playful and had a lot of character. 19:05 Here's some in progress, that is, that's my hand. 19:08 The rest of the photos are just so terrible, I was not good 19:13 about documenting this process, but I was able to get a couple of these. 19:16 Something I've grown to differentiate in my 19:21 career is the difference between inspiration and influence. 19:23 Inspiration is a sudden moment of brilliance. 19:27 Influence is what you reference that affects your work. 19:30 Walking around surrounded by things you love, there are 19:35 no expectations on how to create, live your live. 19:37 But if you're browsing Pinterest, there are lots 19:41 of expectations of how your work should look. 19:44 How you should dress. 19:47 Wear your makeup. 19:48 Your kids, how to dress your kids, raise your kids. 19:49 Your workout schedule. 19:52 And while it can be helpful for reference and just get kind of unstuck. 19:53 It's really important to find balance. 19:56 When you start out you know what you like. 19:59 You have specific taste and different designers and artist that you 20:01 admire that kind of work in a similar style to you. 20:05 But too much influence leads to comparison, envy, 20:08 stress, which results in copying, quitting and insincere work. 20:13 Let your taste drive you and inspiration lead your style and discoveries. 20:18 This is just a screenshot of a Google search for 20:24 fruit crate labels, and I kind of think this is a 20:27 good way of kind of gathering specific reference material for 20:30 a certain topic because you're not looking at one single image. 20:33 You're looking at an array of images and 20:37 fruit crate labels is kind of a good Google 20:40 search because like the first five pages, there's like 20:42 no images of porn or anything crazy or weird. 20:44 [LAUGH] Like it's all just like beautiful fruit crate 20:46 labels so it's kind of fun doing that search. 20:49 Looking at this, there's a wide array of images and right away 20:53 you have, you get an idea for color palates,layouts and style without focusing 20:57 on just one image and, kind of like referencing that completely so it 21:02 allows you to create your own work with your special spin on it. 21:06 This is another, Google search for a style called, I'm, this, Buenos 21:09 Aires term so I'm gonna butcher how it sounds, but it's, filatato, and it's this 21:15 beautiful style of sign painting that I'm just obsessed with, and there is 21:22 some weird images in this Google search, so I wouldn't go ten pages in. 21:27 This is a screenshot of my Instagram. 21:33 The images are collected from a wide spectrum of situations. 21:34 A lot of my cat, some of my work weekend activities and just random inspiration. 21:38 It shows complexity, my interests and tastes and 21:44 the things I care about which inspire me most. 21:47 And these are just some objects I have collected 21:49 around my studio that drive my inspiration and influence. 21:52 Collecting objects and being surrounded by things I love are helpful when 21:56 I want to step away and focus on something else to create. 21:59 Also taking walks around your favorite block in this city is really 22:02 helpful, too. 22:08 The most common advice I hear given, and that 22:09 I give, is that you have to work hard. 22:12 You have to work a lot of hours. 22:15 You have to work on gaining confidence in your work. 22:17 You have to work on making meaningful work. 22:19 There's a poster by Anthony Burrill that's been 22:23 hanging in my studio for the past six years. 22:25 It's work hard, be nice to people. 22:28 It has such a simple, to the point, I just love, I need it, 22:30 motivation and inspiration around me at all times, so I find that very important. 22:34 I make a lot of work around the idea of working hard and motivation. 22:41 It's been a consistent theme throughout my work and personal projects. 22:45 This kind of advice isn't life changing, but it's there 22:48 for a good kick in the pants when you need it. 22:51 Making this kind of work has been more for myself. 22:54 When I started freelancing and making 22:57 personal work, I struggled with not knowing 22:59 where to start so my motivation was 23:01 motivation for making my motivation poster work. 23:04 [LAUGH] And just being in a constant making frenzy. 23:08 Because it feels good. 23:14 I mean, why do we work hard as designers? 23:14 Is it money? 23:17 I wouldn't say many of us thought we would 23:18 be making bank being a designer or an artist. 23:20 And it can't be fame or success because you know, I think there's like 23:23 a saying that being a famous designer is a lot like being a famous dentist. 23:28 Like, no one outside of this room is gonna care about what we do very much. 23:31 Happiness? 23:38 That would be my best bet. 23:39 If you didn't make money and you lost all your Twitter followers tomorrow, we 23:42 would still be doing what we do because if I'm not making, I'm pretty miserable. 23:46 Because having an idea feels fucking awesome. 23:51 Because finishing something that was your idea feels like success to me. 23:54 When I'm in a creative rut or a life rut I think of this poster, feels good 23:59 to get some stuff done and I can usually 24:02 pull myself out with creative activities or life activities. 24:04 Sometimes, like, I have this in my apartment and I keep 24:08 it in the living room and it's like, eye shot with, uh.,dishes 24:12 so if I'm like sitting on the couch and there's dishes, and 24:17 I Iook at this poster I'm like, I should do the dishes. 24:19 It's just like, it's helpful for all situations. 24:22 So you're ready to work. 24:26 You're ready to work hard. 24:27 You have this idea and you're ready to get started and you look around on 24:28 Twitter, all right, your studio, and you see 24:35 everyone hard at work but you're feeling stuck. 24:37 Where do you start? 24:40 Chances are, you have all these possibilities in your 24:42 head about where this idea can go but nothing will 24:45 happen if you don't figure out your objectives and start 24:48 taking small steps to really let this project take off. 24:50 When do you start? 24:55 Immediately, if not sooner. 24:56 If I let an idea linger too long, it 24:58 gets passed down the to-do list and easier to ignore. 25:00 You're aren't rushing into anything if you're starting with the small steps 25:04 and if you're feeling overwhelmed, break it down into even smaller steps. 25:07 More manageable steps. 25:10 How do you work hard? 25:13 Getting started is half the battle but be passionate about it. 25:14 Make this idea important to you. 25:18 If you don't give a shit about it, maybe it's not something worth pursuing. 25:20 Move on to a new and better idea. 25:24 The harder you work in the moment, the less you worry in the future. 25:26 So I get asked a lot about how I learned lettering. 25:32 I did the cover of this book Little Book of Lettering which was fun and amazing. 25:35 Basically having a background in design and then understanding 25:42 of type has been very helpful and also, like my 25:45 interest in illustration, I feel like lettering can sometimes be 25:49 a good design and illustration, think, you know, working together. 25:52 But I've always had a fascination with historical 25:58 references which is something I use in my work. 26:01 I used to pretend, when I was little, that the space under 26:03 my stairs in the basement was my little house on the prairie. 26:07 To this day, you'll find inscribed on the 26:10 wall, the Ingalls and you'll also find TLC forever. 26:13 So, I don't know, it's always been a constant battle about what era is best. 26:19 Living as Laura Ingalls or a world without knowing not to go chase waterfalls? 26:23 [LAUGH] I'm a collector of ephemera, goer to flea markets, I love old books. 26:29 Anything with interesting type on it I would pick it up. 26:34 I had, when I started out I found this book 26:38 called, Advertising Tins and it's just filled with interesting goodies. 26:41 It's basically a book for antique collectors, to kind of find the value of 26:45 their advertising tin or, what Alan Peters would call i,t anything with badges on it. 26:51 Actually when I was, I moved into an apartment in Portland and in the basement 26:57 I found this old condom tin, and I looked it up in the book, it's worth $100. 27:03 [LAUGH] Found it in the basement, such a good find. 27:09 The best way to start to learn something is to really give it a go. 27:13 The first attempts are gonna be ugly. 27:17 Maybe in a good way. 27:19 Maybe in a way that you need to keep going. 27:21 But the first, even the first thousand attempts may 27:24 be a little off and maybe worth looking over again. 27:27 [BLANK_AUDIO] 27:30 My process allows me to keep things fresh, and room for new ideas. 27:32 It's not rocket science, but I find it helpful 27:36 to follow a process, especially when i'm feeling particularly uninspired. 27:39 So the first step is doodling and these are some, this is like a random page in 27:43 my sketchbook for the poster I did with design 27:48 for cancer and I started out writing words cause 27:52 I was trying to come up with some copy writing to do and I ended up just choosing 27:57 hope, strength, courage, because those are the three words 28:02 that kind of, stood out to me most and 28:05 it's kinda hard to see on this, projection but, there's 28:08 just some like sloppy sketches, some quick ideas, some, like, 28:12 little, like, flourishes that I think could work and it 28:15 basically just starts in this like doodling slash thumbnail phase. 28:20 And sometimes I'll just take the hope and I would just letter 28:24 it over and over and over again, its like a little warmup. 28:27 And this is the sketch I ended up doing. 28:30 I try and do as tight sketches as possible so 28:32 when I get to inking, I'm making as little decisions 28:35 as possible and I'm focusing on creating consistent line weights 28:38 and really just getting a good tight ink drawing down. 28:42 And this is the final. 28:46 But being more methodical in my process allows me to keep 28:49 from stipping, skipping steps just to get to the end result. 28:51 It can be tempting to just ink it up and start adding color and 28:55 texture but it may result in a 28:58 poorly drawn illustration without an emphasis on concept. 29:00 Following these steps, especially when I was getting started has, allowed 29:04 me to get better by spending more time with my illustrations. 29:09 I do sometimes have projects that are more spontaneous 29:13 when I have a clear vision of what I want. 29:15 Similar to that, eyes are the, 29:17 window to the skull. 29:22 I forgot what the heck it was. 29:24 When I have a clear vision of what I want. 29:26 But it never hurts to do more exploration. 29:28 So this is my recently published Hand Lettering Ledger with Chronicle Books. 29:32 It's a helpful journal to anyone interested in lettering, 29:36 to practice and guide creating your own hand drawn style. 29:40 I go over the tools I use. 29:45 Basically, I keep it pretty simple. 29:47 The, some of the terminology that you use, 29:49 I think like, when I'm doing lettering, I keep 29:52 it very like, do-dads here and random squiggle 29:55 here and it's good to have some better, terminology. 29:59 When I'm working with clients they don't really know that 30:03 terminology, so squiggles and do-dads is kinda what we use 30:06 but I do sometimes drop some knowledge and say like, 30:09 oh the dot of an eye is called a tittle. 30:14 Did you know that? 30:16 And I have a bunch of examples and processed images in 30:19 the book, I created like 100 custom illustration for this job. 30:23 And, while the copy writing is pretty 30:28 random and nonsensical, I really like, I love getting projects where I 30:34 get to do some copy writing, because, as a 30:39 letterer, it's surprising how little I actually get to do. 30:40 I'm usually told what to letter. 30:44 So, a lot, there's a lot of references. 30:47 And does anyone know Mr Show? 30:49 Sketch comedy. 30:52 Scams and Flams is from that. 30:54 Just like random things like that. 30:55 For the sign painter style, more than just a steady hand. 30:58 Just something I kinda came up with that was fun. 31:02 And there's also tips throughout the, books. 31:06 So you can explore different serif styles, different ways to draw drop shadows. 31:10 So, in my Skill Share class, I emphasize trying 31:17 new styles to fit what works best for your concept. 31:20 So, this is the warmup I did for my Skill Share class. 31:24 In my quote, it was, I had the word, electric. 31:27 So, I basically just went with the lightning bolt theme. 31:30 It's a good exercise for beginners. 31:34 When I'm starting out a new project, I'll often 31:36 explore as many styles as possible and I kind 31:38 of have, like, ten go to styles that you 31:41 can work on and find reference material pretty easily. 31:43 Refine sketches. 31:46 Ink drying. 31:49 And then the final image. 31:52 And when I do color, I bring everything into Illustrator, kind 31:54 of rearrange, tighten up anything that needs to be tightened up. 31:58 Sometimes when you scan in your image, it looks different when it's on the screen 32:02 stark black and white rather than the warm, cozy sketch in your sketchbook. 32:07 So I like to print out I, I'm re-drawing and 32:13 drawing, over and over again, for a lot of my projects. 32:16 This is how I like to think about learning lettering, because 32:22 drawing horses from memory is much more fun than tracing them. 32:26 If you traced a photo of a horse, it would look unoriginal. 32:31 It wouldn't have that life that drawing from real reference might have. 32:35 Even if you're drawing reference from a horse in a pasture or a 32:39 horse like in a photo or several photos, like the Google search idea. 32:43 If you traced a horse you might think, oh, like that's 32:48 how a horse's head is shaped, and you learn it right away. 32:51 But if you draw a horse from memory, or draw it when it's standing out in 32:56 the pasture, you'll make one awesome drawing of 32:59 a horse no one has ever seen before. 33:02 I think the same for letters. 33:04 If you trace letters, you might be able to understand proportions 33:06 quicker but you miss out on creating your own original work. 33:09 I can spot letterers who have learn this 33:13 way because it's hard to shake that stiff look. 33:15 Blocking con positions and kind of unimaginative, layouts and concepts. 33:18 I love looking at letters. 33:22 I love observing them out in the pasture, flea markets, old signs. 33:26 Anywhere I can pick it up, I look at it, observe it and 33:31 I kind of go back to my sketchbook alone and work with those ideas. 33:35 This method won't make you an instant beautiful 33:41 letterer but it will lead to more original work. 33:43 Because creativity is magical, not magic. 33:47 This is a quote by Charles Lynn, who did this really great TED 33:51 Talk about scientific studies of the brain and listening to and composing music. 33:54 He's a scientist and a musician, so it's pretty great. 33:59 People don't want to learn. 34:03 They want to be good at something the first time they try it. 34:05 Cause everyone sucks at first. 34:08 But they should. 34:10 That it takes time to discover your style till the switch goes off. 34:11 Cause there are no short cuts, there is no singular 34:14 piece of advice that will make you better at anything. 34:17 Show your work. 34:22 Share your enthusiasm. 34:23 Show the work you wanna be hired for. 34:25 Art directors are looking for a body of work they can rely on. 34:28 Share your enthusiasm you have for the project. 34:31 Someone who is really passionate about what they 34:34 do, someone who will be pleasant to work with. 34:36 With clients, you want to show you best ideas and 34:40 share their enthusiasm for the project because they're bringing you on 34:43 to have their idea come to fruition and they're counting 34:48 on you to care about it as much as they do. 34:52 And that's something that is really important to, 34:55 kind of, have great calient, client relationships because when 34:57 you discover that your, your level of enthusiasm 35:00 is way lower than theirs, that's a bad relationship. 35:03 Being asked to be a part of other people's passion projects 35:09 is one of the great ways to learn this way of working. 35:12 Allen Peters mentioned ARTCRANK yesterday and I'm gonna do that as 35:17 well, because Art Crank is awesome, I love bikes, I love posters. 35:20 When I moved to Portland, that's when I discovered ARTCRANK, 35:25 and I went to every show and it was amazing. 35:28 It's great to be able to feed off the energy someone has for their project and 35:32 you want to create something really great to match their level of enthusiasm. 35:37 So when I was invited to be a part of ARTCRANK, I got, 35:43 I, I was, I was feeding off the passion Charles had for ARTCRANK. 35:47 And I was siked to make something amazing for 35:51 this project cause a ton of people show up. 35:53 Everyone's just like devouring posters, and beer, and 35:56 bikes, and it's just a really great show. 35:59 So, when I discovered, like, having this energy towards this project, 36:03 I realized that's something I should do on all my client work. 36:09 It shouldn't be like grunt work. 36:12 You should be excited about any project. 36:13 Whether it's like a weird editorial piece or some 36:16 ad campaign, you should really be excited about working with. 36:19 One way I keep my level of enthusiasm in my work is coming up with new projects. 36:25 New personal projects. 36:30 This is something that I just started very recently. 36:33 You might recognize this phrase. 36:38 This is from the Simpsons. 36:39 And it's a project I started where I'm, I decided to 36:42 design the book covers that kinda show up in the Simpson's jokes. 36:46 So this is the big book of British Smiles and it's supposed to 36:49 scare Lisa about getting braces because you don't wanna have a British smile. 36:52 Big crooked teeth, and it's hilarious. 36:58 A Child's Garden of Cons by Griffty McGrift aka Abe Simpson. 37:02 So I'm calling this, and these are the only two, covers I've finished so far. 37:07 I'm [INAUDIBLE] they're not even posted. 37:12 I think I actually posted a little preview of this but, 37:14 I'm calling it the Springfield book repository because I like the Simpsons. 37:17 I like book covers. 37:21 I want to design more book covers and I want to watch more Simpsons. 37:23 I can explore different styles, concepts, and can be a little goofy. 37:27 It's really just for me. 37:31 Like, this is my version of Bart Simpson and Santa's Little Helper. 37:33 And incorporating more illustration in my work is something that I want to do. 37:38 This is a project I recently finished for 37:43 Heartwork, which is an art benefit for Target House. 37:45 I was really excited to be brought on to 37:49 the project and the theme of the show is hope. 37:51 There's no art direction behind it. 37:56 In the past, they had this theme of elephants because elephants stand for 37:58 hope and I was like, well, this is the perfect opportunity to draw elephants. 38:01 Elephants knees and toenails, I love. 38:06 [LAUGH] I just can't get over, like, when 38:09 I draw their little toenails, I get so excited. 38:11 So it was geared towards children, so I was 38:15 like that is the perfect opportunity to really have some 38:17 fun with illustration, and different kind of colors and 38:19 a different color palette than I may be used to. 38:23 And I've discovered doing work for kids is 38:27 just a delight because it is a little different. 38:29 You can be as goofy with it as possible. 38:32 These are some projects I did for Sesame Street, where 38:36 I was asked to create several quotes, by the characters. 38:39 And I really like to capture the essence of the 38:44 character in the lettering, and 38:47 incorporating it around their illustrations. 38:49 So personal work is a great way to promote the work you wanna do. 38:53 New styles, new mediums, allows you to try new things. 38:56 Helps avoid creative ruts. 39:01 I created this sketch on a particularly 39:03 hot day in Portland,which, honestly, was probably 39:05 just reaching 90 degrees,so, not really hot 39:08 in any kind of southern terms for sure. 39:11 I was dreaming of popsicles kinda taunting 39:15 me, in my sweaty non air-conditioned studio. 39:17 So I kinda just did this doodle. 39:20 It's seriously like two inches by two inches big, which is 39:22 why it looks so blurry and you can barely see it. 39:25 The next day when I was feeling a little bit cooled 39:30 off, I decided to take my little sketch and finish the illustration. 39:33 I posted the illustration online, made it downloadable as a desktop. 39:38 Just wanted to share some work I did recently. 39:42 And I ended up getting, good, feedback. 39:45 I mean, I mean, kind of popsicle that has like 39:49 a, this nice lean going on and, and curse words. 39:52 It's like people go crazy about that. 39:56 [LAUGH] So I got an email from an agency wanting to take this essence of this 39:57 character for some packaging that they were pitching 40:04 to this frozen food company called Wicked Kitchen. 40:08 So they had me design these characters that had like, some attitude, and. 40:15 some, and paired with some expressive hand lettering. 40:22 I created several characters to go with the different flavors. 40:26 These are just some of my favorites. 40:29 And while they actually didn't go forward with this concept, they actually 40:30 used it on their food truck, which is like traveling cross country. 40:35 Kind of giving out samples and stuff, so that's fun, but 40:40 they didn't get it on the packaging which is kind of disappointing. 40:43 Because this shrimp is just one of the favorite things that I've ever drawn. 40:46 >> [LAUGH] >> His little boots just kill me- 40:50 >> [LAUGH] 40:53 >> I just [SOUND] I pinch him, he's such a cutie. 40:54 So this is the food truck that is you know, super colorful. 40:59 The character is kind of all over it. 41:04 And what is even more hilarious, is the pissed off chicken. 41:07 He's going like that? 41:11 They created him into a mascot. 41:13 Like, someone created this outfit and I couldn't get a good picture. 41:15 Because they just have like, I just only saw like, 41:19 Instagrams, like, this is like on a oil stained parking lot. 41:21 They have no good pictures of this truck, which is disappointing. 41:26 But this mascot is so creepy. 41:29 It's hilarious. 41:31 Because the illustration sort of has this folk 41:32 art slash Beavis and Butthead style to it. 41:35 Kind of like more apparent in the mascot, and I love that. 41:38 [INAUDIBLE] 41:42 This is a Christmas card I made for my dad in 2011. 41:44 My dad is a financial advisor. 41:49 And every Christmas, I do his Christmas cards so he can send it to his clients. 41:51 And in 2011, I was approached by Target to make it into a gift card. 41:57 And, I told my dad, I was, like, Dad, you're. 42:01 Your Christmas card might be made into a Target gift card. 42:04 These are the sketches I sent off with some reiteration to 42:07 the original design, some other sketches that had a similar feel. 42:11 And they ended up going with this one. 42:15 And my mom called me every time someone 42:17 from her work gave it to her for Christmas. 42:20 She was like, my daughter made that. 42:22 I love. 42:24 Impressing mom is so important, you know. 42:25 Got to keep mom happy. 42:28 So basically you want to keep busy, until your busy. 42:32 Anytime I have some down time in the studio I 42:35 feel like I'm making another project, working on something new. 42:38 You wont have clients magically just emailing 42:42 you, coming asking you to do work. 42:46 You will be broke, taking on jobs that pay very little. 42:48 So you need to make work, you need 42:52 to satisfy your creativity because creative blocks are bullshit. 42:53 The best way out of a mental block is to ignore it and make it. 42:58 Keeping a sketchbook is good for this reason. 43:02 You know, we're designers. 43:04 That's why we keep these sketchbooks around. 43:05 They're not just to like put on our shelves and not fill up. 43:07 You, we should be doodling, thinking, writing, reading. 43:11 ideas should be flowing. 43:15 They don't have to be good. 43:16 Just put them down there. 43:17 To stay enthusiastic. 43:21 I like to create products. 43:24 Be an entrepreneur. 43:25 We all have the right skills as 43:28 designers to do this, creative thinking, smart design, 43:29 and the tools and resources and just 43:33 general wanting to make stuff with our hands. 43:35 So don't be afraid to make your ideas come to fruition. 43:38 I started a collection of handmade goods 43:40 with my boyfriend, called Winter Cabin Collection. 43:42 It all started by this idea of crafting a window 43:45 display for my friend's shop in Portland called Wonder Lust. 43:49 So we were discussing this window display over drinks. 43:53 And the second whiskey in, this project just got bigger than we had anticipated. 43:57 We started talking about creating products. 44:02 And rather than just cutting out some snowflakes 44:05 and doing some signage for the window display, 44:08 we were like, why not create a line of products around the theme of Winter cabin? 44:09 It was September when we had this discussion, and we set 44:14 the date for the display to be installed, and for Thanksgiving. 44:18 We made blankets, banners, wooden arrows, satchels, boxes, totes, bandanas. 44:21 A crazy amount of products. 44:30 They were all limited edition, of course, but it was so amazing to really 44:31 like, print these wooden boxes that, I'm 44:35 just obsessed with collecting vintage boxes like that. 44:38 And kind of put your own spin on it, 44:43 provisions, stow what you need, prepare for the best. 44:45 And kind of like, you know, nailing these boxes 44:50 together like, like they did back in the day. 44:53 So these are some of the products we made in the win, in the window display. 44:57 This is us. 45:02 Well this is me this past winter at Renegade Brooklyn. 45:03 We decided to continue making products because 45:10 we felt like it was pretty successful. 45:13 We kept the name Winter Cabin because it's catchy. 45:15 And even though I don't have a cabin of my own, I do want one so it makes sense. 45:18 I don't know what Winter Cabin will lead to. 45:23 But for now, I just like making things. 45:25 Things that are handmade, hand sewn, hand printed, hand cut, hand lettered, 45:28 It satisfies my craftiness, because I do spend a lot of time on the computer. 45:34 Even though a lot of my stuff is all drawn by hand. 45:38 I am obsessed with making things by hand. 45:41 Projects like this remind me that there's never a dull moment in freelance. 45:45 I like this cover. 45:50 It's, you know, fun and fine. 45:51 But, the reason I'm showing this today is 45:53 because I got an email from my art director. 45:55 It was the final cover meeting, with all 45:58 the editors and the execs of the publishing company. 46:00 They almost wanted to change the title of the book, which would 46:03 change the design and the direction, and therefore this idea would be trashed. 46:07 At the end of what seemed like a long meeting, my 46:13 art director told me all of this whole story in an email. 46:16 The exact quote was, 46:20 the, an, an executive stood up and said, if 46:24 you change this cover, I will kill you all. 46:26 >> [LAUGH] 46:29 >> No one was murdered in the making of this book cover, I can assure you. 46:35 They decided to stay in this direction. 46:39 That meeting, I wish I was there. 46:42 How intense. 46:44 I love design that inspires murder. 46:46 [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] 46:50 >> So you know, it's always exciting. 46:53 These are some labels I did for. 46:57 Cocktails for miama, Miami Cocktail Company. 47:00 And it was an emphasis on natural ingredients. 47:04 And, again, I thought, I love this, how this project came together. 47:08 But what was really great about this project is how 47:12 much we obsessed over the listing the ingredients on the bottle. 47:15 Because, I, each, like they wanted to like scrap 47:20 the label and actually like only have the ingredients, 47:24 which I thought would have been great, but we 47:28 spent a lot of time finessing this, these ingredients. 47:29 There's little illustrations. 47:33 Each word is like slightly different, and I really love when 47:35 people notice those kinds of details because it's so important to me. 47:39 So every project is an opportunity for a potential job 47:44 or career path, but one project doesn't necessarily dictate your career. 47:49 Don't let expectations pressure you into 47:55 approaching a project with pre-conceived notions. 47:57 Let your inspiration create a spark that 48:00 develops something it just, something complete new. 48:02 Leave room for play, stay honest, keep creating the 48:07 way you create and things will work out, eventually, 48:11 hopefully. 48:17 Thank you. 48:21 [SOUND] 48:21
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