Jasmine is a graphic designer and letterer based in Brisbane, Australia. She’s also quite active on her blog and from time to time answers a lot more questions there (check out this, this and this post). We’ve hit her up for a short email interview. Enjoy!
You studied design – what sparked your interest in lettering specifically?
It was actually the lack of lettering typefaces around that got me doing it myself. I really wanted one for one of my design assignments and when I couldn’t find one that’s when I started doing my own and realised I had a huge crush on it. In classes we were never taught hand lettering so I just practised most days for years.
Do you have any side projects, and if yes, any for us to look at? How important do you think it is to have side projects?
My prints and typographic experimentation is a side project of mine that gets me out of the restrictions of clients and allows me to explore other techniques without any commercial pressure. I also love photographic documentation of flowers. Most days I will spend an hour photographing the flowers as they die and documenting their changes each day. You will have seen a snippet of this in one of my newer prints Large Floral 1 which is dead poppies scanned at a high res. Another side project that I have been experimenting with lately is the Japanese art of marbling with inks.
All of my side projects are really to get myself out of my comfort zone and “work zone” and back into play. It is also important because often side projects can lead to new commercial projects because you have pushed yourself and your skill.
Which other lettering artists inspire you? Where else do you draw inspiration from?
I really don’t like to look at other letters because I find I can get stuck comparing myself to others which never helps creativity. I really like to look at artists that use brush like Christopher Wool & James Victore. They are witty and less focused on the perfection of hand lettering and more focused on content and the flaws. I would love my work to have that same quality.
What is your typical process when creating a piece of lettering? How much happens by hand VS on the computer?
I would say majority of the time is spent by hand. Sometimes I can spend a day writing a sentence over and over then look back at the first draft and go with that one because I have just butchered it by the end of the day. I really like to keep the lettering as organic as possible so I may only spend a couple of hours max working on it on the computer.
Which tools do you use and where do you buy them? How important do you think it is to have the right tools?
I think tools are probably the least important. I have brushes from everywhere and anywhere and where I have got them has really made no difference to the work that comes from them.
I use a lot of different round tipped brushes, Japanese brushes, watercolour refillable pens. I think it helps to just pick some cheap brushes up when you go out and have a play around and see what comes from them. It is so interesting to see how differently you write depending on the brush you pick up. I also just use really cheap reflex printer paper as it works really well with ink.
I would invest in a scanner that will scan high resolution so you have good files of your lettering to work with.
Who did you learn from? Did you ever have any ‘mentors’?
I really didn’t learn from anyone or have any mentors along the way. I have been creating for nearly 3 years now so it was just a matter of practicing daily and experimenting with different brushes, styles etc. In terms of getting the right mindset for work I love listening to James Victore’s Youtube channel though, it is pure gold.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get started with lettering?
Turn off your computer, stop looking at other’s work and make mistakes. I find lettering that has no knowledge of lettering is sometimes the most perfect because of their flaws.