I'm honoured to be a guest artist next Sunday at She Matters, a fundraising brunch in support of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which offers legal representation, professional counselling and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced violence. I will be offer hand-lettered notes and greeting cards, with all proceeds going towards the clinic. Incredibly, this event is sold out, but you can still support the clinic here:
1. How did you learn to do lettering?
I have always been enamoured with letters, alphabets, and writing - both printed and cursive. I was very fond of my grandmother’s cursive handwriting – beautiful & rhythmic – scribed on notes, recipes and greeting cards. As a child, I can remember sitting at her kitchen table, writing the alphabet, my name, and names of the family over and over again on lined paper. I liked that anyone could write the same 26 forms on paper, but they would be slightly different.This interest carried on through school and university, where I got a broader understanding of fonts, lettering, and typography. The lettering I do now – which most would call “brush lettering” – is self-taught, starting around 2009 when I first picked up a Tombow dual pen. I began by tracing and mimicking my favourite letterers, and then started to develop my own personal style. I started working with brush and ink in 2016 because I loved the roughness and irregularity. I am currently dedicating my time to fostering my showcard & sign painting skills.
2. Where do you find inspiration?
There is inspiration everywhere if you look close enough. For myself in Toronto, there are incredible type and lettering specimens hidden in plain sight on old shop fronts. One of my absolute favourite hobbies is scouring old bookstores, vintage stores and antique markets for curious ads, maps, education guides, lettering charts, packaging, signs & ephemera. I’m particularly drawn to anything from 1940-1960, during the golden age of commercial graphic arts. I especially love antique hunting in other cities – and countries. It is always a unique glimpse into the past.
3. What is your routine like as a freelance lettering artist? Do you do lettering all day, every day?
I have always been an early riser. On an average weekday, I am usually up before 7am so I can get emails out of the way and head to the studio. My best, most creative time is between 9am and 11am, so I like to reserve that time for lettering work, either personal projects, client work or commissions. I have a light lunch and then run to the gym for about an hour – it’s a perfect way to break up the day and get a boost of energy. In the afternoons, I either focus on computer work (digitizing, layouts, etc.), or allot time for meetings, errands, or deliveries of my prints (I like to hand-deliver all purchases within Toronto). In the evenings, I like to cook dinner and unwind, but often do a few bits on my computer before bed. If my work life was a pie chart, it would break down roughly as follows: ¼ graphic design ¼ client lettering & commissions ¼ personal lettering & online shop ¼ Ligatures events, workshops & admin
4. What do you think of this trend towards hand-lettering and analog techniques?
Traditional craftsmanship, especially in terms of hand-lettering, is experiencing a distinct resurgence right now. But we also can’t ignore the prevalence - and appeal - of digital techniques. In terms of my own art practice, I like to keep one eye on my work and one eye on the future. There are qualities of the medium (ie. the bristles of a brush, and the toothiness of a piece of paper) that cannot be simulated on the screen. We must acknowledge the change that new media is having on our craft, embrace the best parts of technology, but always retain a human touch.
5. You always look so busy! How do produce so much content?
First and foremost, what you see on social media is a highly edited portrait of my studio life. Some weeks are exceptionally busy, others are not. My social media strategy (if there is such a thing) is to provide a glimpse into my work and process, while inspiring folks with my curious discoveries. Time is valuable (both mine and yours), so I promise to keep the posts fun and engaging. I am beyond grateful for every project I’ve worked on, every person I’ve met, and every word I’ve got to hand-letter. I’m feel blessed that I found a career where I can use my skills to help and delight people. This medium is my voice – everything you see on the page and in this feed is 100% me. Thank you for joining me for the ride.
Please mark your calendars, lovebirds! I’ll be offering custom live lettered cards and prints at “Made for Love”, a special edition of City of Craft.
Sunday, February 11
The Workroom (1267 Queen St. West)
See you there!
This 27” x 49” wall calendar helps you keep your whole year in perspective.
Can be used once, or in perpetuity. Great for teams and families. Perfect for home, school or office.
Designed and printed in Toronto on 20lb. architectural grade bond paper. Available on its own, with coloured adhesive note set, or laminated with dry erase marker. Standard shipping fees apply.
A) Basic: (no adhesive notes)
B) Standard: includes 4-pack of coloured adhesive notes
C) Premium: Laminated, includes dry erase marker and 4-pack of coloured adhesive notes
Free delivery within Toronto may be available; please contact me for details.
Custom colours, sizes, and digital files available upon request; please contact me for details.
Purchase your calendar here.
I am thrilled to accept this Communication Arts Award of Excellence for the 3D mural I created at Cutler & Gross in fall 2017. Check out the mural (with 3D glasses!) at 758 Queen St. W., and see the full feature in the Typography Annual, coming next month!
I've been struggling to find a word to sum up 2017. Marathonic? This year, I am particularly grateful to friends, family and the creative community for their unending support. As in previous years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), here is my annual recap of how my year unfolded.
January started at a slower pace, getting things lined up for the year. I took some time to archive my Alphabet-a-Day project. I also created a meaningful and memorable sign for the Women's March.
In February, things went from a jog to a sprint. I released a new screen-printed Valentine cards. I zipped over to Regina to teach a Ligatures brush lettering workshop. Then, I was invited to speak at Creative Mornings Toronto; you can listen to the talk here. I completed my largest mural to date for Chocolats Favoris in Aurora, ON. I also had a super fun time doing a Ligatures sign painting workshop at Honest Ed's for Toronto for Everyone!
In March, I painted two charming signs for Sweet Gale Gardens, lettered a book cover for Shawn Hitchins, and created a new hand-lettered wordmark for UPPERCASE Magazine’s Make it Worthwhile project.
On April 1st, I invited my first intern to the studio. Chloe Develle joined me from Paris, France, where she is studying graphic design at l'École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d'Art. Chloe used the studio to practice her lettering, and help me with a few cool projects (more in June…) I was also interviewed by TFO, a publicly funded French language educational television station and media organization, serving the province of Ontario. You can view the interview here. We had a quick set of Ligatures brush lettering workshops at C Studio. I also shared a new hand-lettered wordmark for Bay Street Bull.
In May, we took Pixel & Bristle to the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County.
I also did some branding for CdnStudio & Spider Web Show Performance. I was also a judge at the Adobe Creative Jam at OCADU.
June was exceptionally jam-packed. The highlight of the month (and the year!) was the launch of my first monograph, ABC250, in conjunction with a companion art show and book launch at Black Cat Artspace in Toronto. And for extra fun, I also unveiled my new 2017/2018 collection, which included dozens of new prints, postcards, greeting cards, apparel, and a special collaboration with SIGG water bottles. I also had a booth at Roncy Rocks!
In July, I co-curated and participated in Pixel & Bristle at The Drake Hotel, designed a logo for Cookie Dough Stand in Calgary, and completed my second mural of the year: an optimistic message in Toronto laneway. I also shared hand-lettering for a tasty new book, Brad Long on Butter.
August was surprisingly busy this year. I had the privilege of designing three cups for Sorry Coffee in Toronto. I shared my final mural of the year: an epic 3D mural for Cutler & Gross on Queen Street. But the biggest event of the month was attending my first TypeCon in Boston, where I had a table of offerings at the Marketplace, and a live lettering demonstration. So fun!
In September, I started a series of 12 new Toronto the Great prints, starting with Queen Street West.
I released a new print each Monday for 12 weeks; you can see them all here. Then, I headed to Montreal for ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale), where I taught a digital lettering workshop, and then presented a new talk called "From stroke to screen"; you can view the full talk here. On Sept. 23-24, I participated in the Queen West Art Crawl, one of Toronto's largest outdoor art markets. I also refreshed the store front of Telegramme Prints & Framing on Ossington.
In October, I took a couple moments to breathe. A new UPPERCASE magazine hit the stands, featuring a fun abecedary that I wrote and illustrated. I also revealed a companion print.
November began with a big announcement. My art had been selected for City of Toronto's King Street Pilot project. (#major) My work was also featured at the Buddies in Bad Times annual Art Attack auction, which raised money for Canada's most exciting LGBT theatre. I also shared my first lettering project for La Maison Simons, one of Quebec's finest department stores. The month wrapped up with the annual Pixel & Bristle holiday market at The Drake Hotel, where I unveiled my showcard-inspired sign painted holiday cards.
December was the most wonderful time of the year, with pop-ups at Gloria cafe, holiday deliveries a-plenty, and then Toronto's favourite market, City of Craft. It was a perfect way to bookend the year.
As you can see, this year was epic. It most certainly would NOT have been possible without the support of YOU – those who purchased a print from my shop, liked one of my Instagram photos, attended a talk, or visited my live lettering booth. I am grateful to continue doing work that I love. THANK YOU!
I wish you all the best in this new year.
Let the craftiness begin! I’m honoured to be one of the vendors at City of Craft, Toronto’s favourite holiday market. Stop by The Theatre Centre in the next three days to check out the best local artisans and craftspeople.
The Theatre Centre
1115 Queen Street West
Fri. Dec. 8, 6-10
Sat. Dec. 9 11-6
Sun. Dec. 10 11-6
This 12” x 16” print was hand-lettered using brush and ink and printed in Toronto on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120lb matte fine art paper, using an HP Indigo 7800 Digital Press.
Available for purchase here.