#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

Have you seen #SimpleAlphabets on instagram? The long and short of it is- for everyday of June, we shall be lettering an alphabet a day + some extras. I’ve asked some letterers I admire to share their skills throughout the challenge- as well as to also divulge a few secrets about their creative process. Fun, right? You can join in anytime- just head on over to @surelysimplechallenge and @surelysimpleblog and read this page to get all the details. 

Let’s meet Brittany Luiz!

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Brittany Luiz and I’m a handlettering artist as well as the Social Media & Content Manager for Tombow USA. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my job so much – not only do I get to “play” on social media all day, but I get to also literally play with the most amazing products while I’m doing it. When I’m not scrolling through newsfeeds or filling up sketchbooks with letters, I am hanging out with my husband and 8-month-old son, who is quite possibly the cutest child on earth.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

I’d describe my style as “imperfect with personality.” I decided several months ago that I just don’t have the patience for perfection, so if my letters aren’t completely straight or I have gaps in my layout, I’m okay with that. I like to think that my style is representative of who I am as a person – a little quirky, fun and bright.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

Working full-time and being a new mom makes it tough sometimes to be motivated, but as I’ve descended out of the fog that is those first few months of new mommyhood I’ve started to get a better grip on how to manage my “free” time and make the most of it. I practice lettering daily – whether that means getting up 20 minutes early, staying up a little late, or lettering at the kitchen table while my husband and I watch The Walking Dead. I’m currently in the midst of my second #100letteringdays challenge on Instagram where I have committed to handlettering (and posting!) every day for 100 days. The last time I did this I grew immensely because it really forced me to practice while I was still in the very early stages of learning how to letter. This time around, I’m pushing myself to try new techniques and hopefully take my lettering to the next level. You would be amazed at how quickly you can improve by committing to practicing – it’s that drive to be better than I am now that motivates me. Plus, it’s fun and relaxing for me to practice my lettering. If I mess up, there’s always another sheet of paper!

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?

Before I started working at my current job I was on the path to working for myself 100% as a freelancer. It’s what I thought I wanted to do. Now that I have a job I am over-the-moon in love with, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I do still take on projects on the side though, so I feel like I am living the best of both worlds.

 

What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?

I’m so happy that my lettering is finally starting to resemble what I wanted it to when I first started. It’s so frustrating when you can see something beautiful in your head only for your hand to betray you and produce something nightmarish. My hand has finally caught up to my brain and they’re both pretty much on the same page now.

 

Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

My glass is half full 98% of the time. I reserve the other 2% for wallowing in self pity and drowning my sorrows in Starbursts. I’m a generally happy person and sort of live in my own unicorns and rainbows universe most of the time. I’ve become really good at finding the bright side of things and it has helped me to get going down the career path that I have always wanted to take.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?

I have so many #calligracrushes! I really look up to Amanda Arneill. I have had the pleasure of actually working with her and she is amazing. Not only is she incredibly talented but she is so thoughtful and humble and sweet. I also really look up to Lauren Fitzmaurice of RenMade Calligraphy. We joke that we’re #calligratwins because we could seriously be the same person sometimes. We both love our full-time jobs, but also love lettering. She is so talented and is such an inspiration to me to see that you can be a successful freelancer while also being successful at your day job. In life as a whole, I really look up to my dad. He has taught me so much over the years and the nuggets of truth he passed on to me have helped me keep a clear head through challenging situations both professionally and personally.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?

Ha! How many hours am I not working is the real question here. My work is so intimately related to my hobbies and interests that the lines are almost always blurred. I work my day job from 8-5ish Monday through Friday, and probably spend a good 20 additional hours throughout the week working on other work-related or freelance-related projects.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

I’m currently reading Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please,” which is so amazing I can’t stand it. I knew I was going to love the book when she referenced Stephen King (my all-time favorite author) twice within the first couple of chapters. Plus, she’s Amy Poehler. I mean, come on – how can you not like her book? I’ve also been binge-listening to the Sean Wes podcast for months and it is worth its weight in gold. If you’re a creative person and even the least bit interested in being able to make money by pursuing your creative passion, you NEED to listen to his podcast.

 

How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?

My art has definitely changed me. I think it’s made me more aware of design in general. Part of my job responsibilities includes graphic design and I have noticed that my strictly digital designs have improved so much since I started handlettering. I think those creative pursuits just kind of bleed over into each other and have both evolved as I have evolved in my style and approach.

#SimpleAlphabets Lettering Inspiration: Brittany Luiz

What’s next in your artistic journey?

I just purchased a domain name – brittanyluiz.com – where I will be starting a blog, posting portfolio items and hopefully some lettering worksheets, etc. soon! Other than that, who knows? I’m on this train and just waiting to see where it takes me.

CONNECT WITH BRITTANY:

Website: www.brittanyluiz.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/brittanyluiz

Thanks for sharing, Brittany!

Be on the lookout for the letter Brittany shall be teaching here on @surelysimplechallenge and @surelysimpleblog AND @opinion9!

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Real Life Lettering Inspiration Vol. 2

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Another long due interview- the Real Life Lettering Inspiration Vol. 2! So excited to have this published! Meet Christina, Isabel, Nicole, Agnes and Myda! All these ladies have their own unique take of creativity and life in general. Let’s hear what they have to say! In no particular order- let’s meet:

CHRISTINA

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m Christina, mom to two amazing men, director of children’s ministry at my church, and an avid doodler. Recently, I’ve taken my love for drawing and began a part-time business as an illustrator.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What sparked your interest in art and lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I can’t remember when I didn’t draw. In fact, my mom kept a picture she bought from me at 4 years old. But there was a huge period of time that life, kids, marriage, work, shifted my heart from drawing. But it’s back now. And through posting on social media, it’s so easy to look back at see progress. I still have much to learn, but I’m happy with where I am at the moment.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What are your hobbies? (apart from art, of course!)

Honestly, I love my real job…serving in children’s ministry. I work with a great team, minister to some wonderful families, and have a lot of fun! Between running a home, working full-time and starting up an illustration business, my additional time is about zero. When I can manage, I’m a fan of road trips, visiting the coast, board games, movies, and reading.

 

Favourite art tools and supplies?

Not really.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally, in life?

I enjoy following the lettering community on Instagram, and do my best to keep comparison and self-critique at bay, but my real passion is art…I dearly love the works of Norman Rockwell, Claude Monet, and James Hance.

 

Any advice for art and lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

Have fun. Try new things. Seek to understand your strengths and spend time growing those, rather than picking apart your weaknesses. And start…being creative fuels creativity in other areas of your life.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Every day. For the last few years, I’ve been dealing with some significant life challenges, and a brief bout of depression. What I’ve learned is to enjoy what you have, appreciate moments as they come, and recognize that so many things are all too fleeting.

I am a complete introvert, but all the memories that make me smile involve my family and friends. Cherishing the people around you is probably the best advice I could give.

 

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

Semi-professionally. Currently, I have my work in Tightrope Boutique, in Puyallup, WA and I have opened a store on Etsy.com

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently reading a manuscript by TJ Scar. Hopefully it will be released as his second book sometime this year.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINA:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cwillettdesigns

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cwillettdesigns

Twitter: www.twitter.com/cwillettdesigns

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/cwillettdesigns

ISABEL

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello everyone, I’m Isabel and I live in the beautiful city of Vancouver. I grew up here after moving from Taiwan at age ten. My Clark Kent alias is an Investment Associate in brokerage and wealth management. A far stretch from being “creative”, that’s for sure! Basically we invest large sums of money and try not to lose any of it. My current excitement (and anxiety) is my upcoming wedding in October held in Hawaii! Six months to go and I am definitely getting nervous about how much I still have to get done! That includes writing the calligraphy for the invitations of course!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What sparked your interest in art and lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I had a solid background in fine arts through extra-curricular training, and a passion for typography developed through creating and coding my own blog in the early 2000’s. It was and still is an obsession how much I care about things like iOS updating the system font (I am pro-San Francisco, haha!) It has been 3 months since I started practicing calligraphy, and I am very happy with my progress. I may have had an easier start because of my background, but I encounter the exact same frustrations as other letterers in our community. It does take courage, faith, and a lotta practice to work through those obstacles. A hard lesson to learn! Some days you just have to drop your pens and walk away.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What are your hobbies? (apart from art, of course!)

I love food, movies, puzzles, beaching, and travelling. I can’t imagine not living next to a coast where I can see and feel the water. My most memorable trip was to Germany with my fiancé Terry. His parents lived half their lives there before meeting in Canada. It was mind-blowing and amazing: the architecture, the culture, the food, the sights, the smells, you name it, I loved it.

Favourite art tools and supplies?

My oblique pen holders, Noodler’s Ink (I read that it’s intended for fountain pens, not for dipped pens, but heck it works great for me!), Zebra G nib, and the trusty Rhodia Dot Pad! Recently I just picked up the Rhodia Blank Pad because the smoothness just can’t be beat for pointed pens. Also of note are my Rembrandt chalk pastels and Winsor & Newton watercolours… I should really dig those out!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally, in life?

My favourite artists have all passed – Renoir, Degas, and Mucha are absolute visionaries. Their work have such a soft and romantic quality that I adore. In the calligraphy and lettering field, there are some amazing people on Instagram whose artwork I’ve encountered. It is astonishing how much talent is out there and I look up to so many of them.

 

Any advice for art and lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

My best advice is, do what feels the most right to yourself. Take everyone’s advice humbly, even try it once, and then decide for yourself. One prevalent practice that I don’t agree wholeheartedly with and therefore don’t do, is drilling. I think if you are conscious about what you are doing, each letter and word you write becomes your practice. Write slow to give yourself time to think ahead before the next stroke. Have a plan for how you want it to look like. Then “air-write” it before you touch pen to paper. This way your one letter is a much more developed and intended thought than writing it mindlessly down the page 100 times.

My second piece of advice is, if you find yourself needing to practice a certain letter (you’re not pleased with it, it’s not a letter you use frequently, etc), practice it in conjunction with another letter. For example, if you really dislike your g’s, write it in conjunction with an h. I found that in beginning to write, it wasn’t the letterforms that challenge me as much as the connections between each letter. Where does the g end, and where does the h begin? Again, this relates to making your practice mindful and purposeful. Rarely are you going to end up writing a letter on its own, on your final products!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Oh yeah, big time. Recently when I got my first commissioned custom calligraphy job. I jumped up and down and danced and screamed “I’M A PAID ARTIST!!!!!” All I wanted to do when I was little was to become one of those portrait artists in the park (haha!) I was SO ecstatic to have been approached, and to be offered a commission to create something for them

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

You never know! One day I may just walk out of my office saying: this job is just too much stress and too much math and too much UGH! In which case, I most definitely will be pursuing art as a profession! For now it remains a hobby and just something I do for me.

What book are you currently reading?

This is going to be embarrassing, but I am reading (studying) the Wealth Management Essentials textbook from the Canadian Securities Institute. This is part of my official licensing as an advisor. Did everyone just fall asleep? Sorry!!!!! I appreciate you even making it this far down this interview, only to not be rewarded by the boring book I am reading! The last thing I read that I truly enjoyed was the Golden Compass trilogy. What can I say, I’m a sucker for fantasy!

CONNECT WITH ISABEL:

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NICOLE

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello everyone! My name is Nicole Bourque. I am 27 years old, born and raised in a small central Minnesota town where “everybody knows your name.” Up until this past November I have always lived in Minnesota. Now I am a newly wed living in New Mexico helping my husband start up his dog training business! For the past 6 years I have been living with an unknown chronic illness, which has made it hard to stay motivated with my art up until lately. I am starting on a path to healing (FINALLY) and have been using art to help motivate me through.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What sparked your interest in art and lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I have been interested in art since I could hold a pencil. It was my favorite subject in elementary, high school and I went to college for Graphic Design. I’ve always loved the idea of hand lettering, but never had the motivation to try it. I always felt more comfortable designing things on the computer. However, now that I’ve gotten started with lettering I can’t get enough of it and am proud of all the progress I’ve made since I started in March.

 

What are your hobbies? (apart from art, of course!)

My hobbies include going on walks, training dogs (thanks to my husband), hanging out with friends and family, making crafts, decorating, singing and spontaneous dance.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Favourite art tools and supplies?

Tombow fude, Tombow dual brush pens and my water colors are some of my favorite art tools that I currently use. I’m new into lettering so I have a ton of other tools to check out!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally, in life?

In life, I look up to my older brother. He does nothing with art or lettering, but he has been my biggest supporter in my art journey ever since I got serious with it when I was 16. When it comes to being driven and successful, my brother is the poster child. He has overcome many odds and he continues to inspire me every day.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any advice for art and lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

My advice to art and lettering enthusiasts would be to never give up, don’t get caught up in perfection, and most importantly HAVE FUN!! I used to get so anxious about everything I did to be perfect. Throughout my journey I’ve learned to let that go and have realized that there is so much beauty in imperfection. And, it is less stressful 😉

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

On my most recent birthday, which happened to be my golden birthday, my brother called me and asked me to be the Godmother of his daughter (my first niece). I was beyond honored and the happiest woman that day! Best birthday present, EVER! Then that night I played Apples to Apples with my husband, cousin and mom who was visiting for the week.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

Currently I am in the process of figuring out how serious of a role art will be playing in my life. I’m working on opening up an Etsy shop in the next couple of months (hopefully sooner!) and that could help me determine how serious I want to be about it. I’ve always wanted it to be my profession, however I haven’t had the energy to withhold that due to my chronic illness. Right now I feel like I’m getting a second chance at conquering my dream of making art a larger part again.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Since I just got married, I’m reading “For Women Only” so I can understand men better! Hopefully it’ll help my husband and I to stop sounding like an old bickering married couple 😉

CONNECT WITH NICOLE:

INSTAGRAM: @nabourque

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AGNES

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Agnes and I’m 40-turning-40. I’m a single mom to a 18yo son. I live in Sunny Island Singapore. And my day job is an Administrator in one of the local polytechnics.

 

What sparked your interest in art and lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I know I love art. As my son gets older, I have more me-time and thus able to do the things I enjoy. And one of them is art.

10 years ago, I chanced upon digital scrapbooking and I’m still at it. Three years ago, I chanced upon lettering and I love how the words can be beautified into eye-catching art pieces

I am not progressing at all in terms of my lettering skills & techniques. But I am progressing in the sense that I know what type of art & lettering I wanna do.

 

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What are your hobbies? (apart from art, of course!)

My other hobbies are digital scrapbooking and cross-stitching. Well, more like hoarding cross-stitch patterns & materials. Cos the last time I stitch a cross was 5 years ago, I think.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Favourite art tools and supplies?

As I am still a newbie, I do not have a favourite art tool and supplies. Plus I don’t dare to invest in the branded supplies.

For lettering, I’m using the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (latest buy), Micron Pens, Zig Millennium Pens, Sharpie Marker, Pentel Colour Pens & Zig Clean Colour. I’m thinking of buying more Sharpie Markers cos right now I only have one (1) black.

For watercolour, I think I had fallen in love with the Pentel waterbrush. And recently I had found an Instagram account that uses Pentel watercolour paint and her art pieces are gorgeous. So that reassure me that I had made the right choice with my Pentel watercolour 12pc set paint. Now I’m contemplating to get the bigger set. Cos I suck at mixing colors. LOL !!!

I am also using the Staedtler watercolour pencils. I might upgrade to the Prisma or Derwent.

Another watercolouring tool I’m using is the Zig Real Brush. But I’m still learning how to use them.

The latest addition to my watercolour stash is a 165gsm sketch pad. And I’m loving it, because I can do wet-on-wet with it. Most importantly it is making my watercolour pieces turn out to be what it’s supposed to look like. Next I’ll be getting the professional watercolour papers to try.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally, in life?

I do not have a specific person in mind where art & life is concerned. Each of us has something to teach the world. So I just pick and choose the ones that speak to me at that moment.

As I have just started on a watercolour journey, I am browsing the Instagram for inspiring watercolour feeds.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any advice for art and lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

As I am still a newbie and trying to find my style, I don’t have any advice to share. It’s more like me looking for guidance from the seasoned players.

 

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Yes. My first over-the-sea solo trip to London in Jan 2015. And my son’s first-over-the-sea school trip to Cambodia in June 2015 . The next memory will be our first over-the-sea-mother-son-trip to London in June 2016.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

One of my other hobbies is cross-stitch. And I had created a few DIY mini projects for friends. So I do have the intention of converting my art and/or lettering into cross-stitch patterns. Or cross-stitch them myself. And put them up for sale online. But if that fails, art & lettering will be just a hobby for me. And I’m fine with that. But for now, I just wanna concentrate on enjoying the process.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What book are you currently reading?

I’m not reading anything now. My last read was the Corps Security series by Harper Sloan.

CONNECT WITH AGNES:

Instagram: @purlz76

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MYDA

 

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi my name is Myda and I am a 41 year old mom of 4 children with ages ranging from 23 to 7. I love anything that has to do with creativity. Creating gives me an outlet when I’m stressed or just want to be alone. I love to paint & hand letter, (whether it’s on paper or my iPad). I love looking at all kinds of different art. I own Kinkade paintings and I have several art pieces from different Instagram friends including, abstract, mixed media, and wood pieces. I love supporting people in the arts. My husband and I own a muscle/classic car restoration shop and on the side we like to make furniture. My children all have a knack for arts as well so I encourage them with art supplies and classes!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What sparked your interest in art and lettering? What do you feel about your progress?

I’ve always loved art and lettering. Lettering was something I did a lot of in high school. I don’t know where it came from, it was just something I had inside of me. I’ve always loved art and would sketch and doodle mostly in high school. I stopped doing it after high school, which was back in 1993, and I have started again just a few years ago. I took a class with Tamara LaPorte called Life Book and that has helped me with learning about different mediums and how to draw better. I feel I have progressed a lot and am hopeful that I can become better with practice.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

What are your hobbies? (apart from art, of course!)

I also love photography, wood work, movies and music. My latest hobby or stress reliever is playing piano. I started piano lessons in March of this year and I’m loving it! I love making my little essential oil holders and painting them with chalk paint. Photography is something I love to do whenever I can. I mostly use my iPhone but also have a Canon t3i which takes great photos. I love all kinds of different movie genres and music genres.
Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Favourite art tools and supplies?

Right now my favorites are my Zig Clean Color Real Brushes and Tomboy Fude hard and soft pens. I also love using my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Perfect for on the go!

 

Any people you look up to in the art / lettering / calligraphy field? Or just generally, in life?

In the art/lettering I say this in all honesty, I love Aaria’s work! I love how she blends her art with lettering. I also have so many lettering friends that do such amazing work and am just in awe of their lettering and techniques. I love Amanda Arneill @amandaarneill, Vanessa @calligra_vee, In the iPad lettering world I love Karin @ipadlettering and Teela @everytuesday, I love Christie Macey @christie_macey, Laura @laurafedorowicz, Leah @little_lief_creative and Amy @lilylaneart… there are just way too many to name!

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Any advice for art and lettering enthusiasts you’d like to share?

Just keep swimming. Encourage yourself and watch your self talk. Anyone can do anything over time and practice. Try to do daily challenges which push you to improve. Interact with others who have the same interests and always encourage and uplift others!

 

Can you recall any memory that brings a smile to your face?

Honestly, i know this is cliche, but when I think of my kids and the funny things they do or say, that always brings a smile to my face.

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Real Life Lettering Inspiration: Vol 2 via Opinion9

Do you plan on pursuing art professionally, or is it just a hobby you love?

I would love to pursue it professionally! Yes, for now, it is a hobby I love!

 

What book are you currently reading?

Harry Potter Chamber Of Secrets – the whole series actually but I’m on the 2nd book now.

 

CONNECT WITH MYDA:

Instagram – @mydastouchletters (for lettering), @mydabug (for art), @mydas__touch (wood work – with 2 underscores), and @mydastouchphotos (photography)
 
 

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/mydas_touch/

 
 
www.mydastouch.us photography prints
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Thank you for sharing! Wishing you all the very best in your creative journey! -Aaria 🙂 Read more about them and see their artwork on this interview over on surely simple and this one too.

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Magical Art With Monika Forsberg

magical art with monika forsberg

Hey everyone! I’ve been wanting to publish this for a long time coming- and it’s finally come together! Today, I’m talking to Monika Forsberg all about her creative process. Monika’s work is intriguing, filled with colour, bits and bobs of paper, ragged edges and crisp tones- which all come beautifully together! Being an illustrator isn’t an easy profession. When someone is reading content, the pictures along side the text play a major role. They have to provide visual emotion, make you feel something. And Monika’s work does exactly that! That’s why I call it magical, because art always astounds me in the sense that even a few lines and splashes of colour can make such a big impact. However, the magic is knowing where to add color and emotion into lines and curves and call it art. That instinct, the perception, the feeling. And Monika seems to know it- the magic, that is!

Let’s hear what she has to say.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Monika and I’m a mother and I work as an illustrator.

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(I couldn’t resist adding this bio from her site!)

What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?

I always drew and made things as a child. Truth be told, I’m not really interested in art as such. I like making things. You wont find me in an art gallery really looking at art. I am a rubbish spectator. But I get an itch if I sit still for too long and need to make something.

What is your general process while creating an art piece?

My work is a bit like knitting, something that I work on then put down and it’s something I do whilst preoccupied with something else. I am terrible at concentrating on one thing but if I do several things at the same time I don’t get stuck.

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What do you enjoy the most in your creative process?

The peace I feel plus when I work I make up stories about the end result (of what I’m working on) and …It’s a bit like singing in front of the mirror with a hair brush as a microphone.

How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?

Anything from a minute to a day to …A month.

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6 seconds of emotion

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Just out of interest, what was the first piece of art you remember creating that made an impact to you?

I sneaked off into my mums sewing room when about 4 or 5 and shouted at anyone trying to get in and then I made a doll. When finished I was SO PROUD

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

We wake up, eat breakfast, drink coffee, play for a bit then drop off littlest son to school then work solidly for 6 hours until pick up time at school. In the evening we hang out with our eldest son and watch a film and stuff and I then doodle or do something just for fun.

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How do you balance your work/life?

I think my work and life is very entangled. I try to make sure I don’t work at weekends.

What would an ideal day be like for you?

I think I live an ideal life; I’ve got the best boyfriend the best kids and the best of jobs. I would love to go on holiday more though. I am craving sunshine.

monika

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magical art with monika forsberg via Opinion9- her workspace

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Your colourful and imaginative art is really inspiring. How did you discover your drawing style? How do you keep it consistent yet interesting enough to be motivated?

I have no idea. One things leads to another. I am lazy yet quite obsessive and I make loads of mistakes. Mistakes are brilliant, they lead to new discoveries.

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

I draw things until I get bored then I roll the dice and do something else. The dice is metaphorical. I try to think if I approached this from a different side what will I get then?

magical art with monika forsberg via Opinion9- her workspace

What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?

Pencils and marker pens. Gouache. Ink pens. Ink. I haven’t got a proper workspace as we live in a small flat so I work in our bedroom on our bed…If I sit at a desk I get backache and stuff. So all my materials are in boxes and our bedroom is a bit of a mess.

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(love the gifs she makes!)

Could you share three tips that make a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?

I am never that bothered with the end result. When I get to the end I am already bored or dissatisfied so I have to start working on something else BUT it is important that whilst I’m working I feel as if I’m making the best thing since sliced bread, as if I’m Einstein discovering E=mc2 or Just having fun, being on a roll or struggling but solving a mystery better than Agatha Christie. I think I may have some sort of restlessness inside me but if I keep my fingers moving I feel calm.

monika-forsberg_2015_lookbook_1_1000_670Pencils 1-2-3

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What is your idea of a ‘perfect’ workspace/studio?

I would like to have a room to work in, that was just a workroom. It’d have to have a bed or a sofa and lots of plants and a window. Internet, so I can listen to things. I dont like travelling to work so, a room at home. I love being at home.

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What are your: favourite animal and dream city?

Favourite animal? I like hedgehogs and Foxes and whales but whales makes me sad to just think of so maybe not whales. I like Swedish squirrels more than other squirrels, which sounds terrible. I dont know. Pigs. I love pigs. But they smell a bit yucky. And eagles.. I love eagles but I’ve never seen one in real life so maybe if I met one I’d hate them?

I love Paris (or is it the thought of Paris?) I love summer warm evenings in south of France or Greece or…I loved when Olive47 drove us through LA with music playing and the wind a gentle breeze. I feel an infinity with Ireland but I never been there. I love London. I loved how New York really reminded me of my hometown (Lulea) I would love to go to Japan and Iceland and …But I hate the travelling part. The planes the luggage the…passport controls. I like being at home. I think I prefer lakes to the sea.

….

Thanks for sharing, Monika! Find her on her site www.walkyland.com and on instagram @monika_forsberg.

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How To Be A More Productive Reader

Hey! Welcoming Taylor back for another post- this time, she’s talking about how to be a more productive reader. Check out her first post here too.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

Our world is full of books, millions upon millions of pages to read. But with all of our responsibilities, whether it be school or work or both, it can be difficult to find time to reduce our TBR (to-be-read) stack. Especially for us readers who are constantly scouting out bookstores and websites for sales, which ends with us juggling several new books. Then our TBR pile is even bigger, but we still can’t quite find the time to read these stories.

After about one and one-half years of reading, I have discovered methods to read my books between the chaos of life. I may not have many years of reading, but I’ve already read 120+ books, with the addition of balancing school and writing a book of my own. Considering my other duties, I would say that’s a fair number. So I’m here to share my techniques of being a productive reader.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Set the mood.

For me, setting the mood to read is an easy process that involves my speaker rolling out instrumental tunes, a “do not disturb” sign hanging on my doorknob, and possibly a cup of steaming rose petal tea.

If you prefer to read in peace, like me, and you’re having trouble finding a quiet space, try wearing headphones. You could simply use them to tune out the noise or turn on music to fill your head with new sounds. I find instrumental music is not only relaxing, but it helps me focus, especially if the tune matches the genre of the book.

In order to sit down and absorb the story in front of you, it’s important to do whatever it takes to make yourself comfortable and relaxed. Think of the things that put your heart at ease and soothe your mind. Whether it be music or a drink or a certain environment, place yourself there and allow your mind to relax. This brings me to my next point.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Find a place to read.

Discovering the proper place to read fits into the theme of setting the mood. It can be difficult to delve into the world in your hands if you’re not comfortable. You want to find a spot to be warm and content, where you can really focus on the words in front of you.

I also recommend having a designated place (or places) to read. By doing this, you train your mind that you’re going to sit down and read, which may help alleviate any scattered thoughts. It’s similar to falling asleep, when you fall into bed, your mind tries to prepare itself for sleep.

I have two usual places to read: my futon or my bed. My futon is my number one place to sit down and read. I occasionally watch films and television here as well, but for the most part, it’s my reading haven. I try to only read in bed during the morning, after I just wake up. Otherwise, my mind will try to convince my body that it needs sleep. So you can usually find me curled up with a book on my futon, a blanket on my lap and a cup of tea on my ottoman.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Read more than one book at a time.

Okay, not that many. But I’ve found that reading multiple books at a time leads to a more enjoyable and quicker experience. I tend to read about two to three books and alternate throughout the day. I find that this keeps me both entertained and more productive. Instead of trying to finish one book at once, I can usually finish about three books around the same time. This is a massive help in chipping away at my stack of 80+ books in my TBR. (It still keeps growing; I need help.)

I know this may sound intimidating, because I used to think the same thing. Before, I believed that reading multiple books at a time would leave me confused and unable to grasp onto all of these stories. Once my TBR pile started growing, I knew something had to change, which is when I started reading two books at once. I found that as long as the books aren’t too similar in genres (like epic-fantasy or science-fiction), it’s not much of a difficult task. Since then, I’ve been reading three books at a time, and some even sit in the same genres.

This is certainly something that is a matter of practice, of being able to immerse yourself in multiple words without tangling them together. But with enough patience and practice, you can learn to read multiple books at a time. If you do this, you’re likely to see a massive increase in the amount of books you read.

Well, these are all of my tips in being a productive reader. What are your tips in being a focused and productive reader? I would love to hear what methods other readers use for themselves. -Taylor

Thanks for sharing, Taylor! Find Taylor on her instagram (@taylormaemarie_).

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Creative Lettering with Kiley In Kentucky

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9Hello everyone! For the Inspiration column, today we have Kiley talking about her take on lettering and her perspective on life! I’m a big fan of her work- it’s bright, colourful and just stands out!

Primarily, her tools of choice include a variety of markers, paint brushes and brush pens- reflected by the bold lines and splashes of colour in her art.

But, she’s also an evolving artist, so I’m pretty sure she’ll change it up here and there! That’s the beauty of art, isn’t it?

There’s something so distinctive about her work though- just take a look at her gorgeous instagram feed (@kileyinkentucky).

Let’s hear what she has to say!

Creative Lettering and Conversation with Kiley in Kentucky! An interview via opinion9

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a twenty-something from Kentucky, currently residing in New York City, and preparing to move to the Midwest United States! I recently ended my job at an ad agency in NYC in pursuit of self-employment as a hand-lettering artist and Etsy Shop owner. I am Creative Director and Co-Founder of Girl-ish (www.girl-ish.com) a lifestyle website for women in their twenties. My role in Girl-ish required me to flex my graphic design muscles, which led me to discover my love of hand-lettering! I didn’t start taking it seriously until about 9 months ago…ever since, lettering has been a constant in my daily life. From start to finish, putting a piece together is such a joyful, relaxing process and that feeling is what keeps me returning to it each day.

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9What motivates and inspires you the most?

Most of the time, I really can’t pinpoint the root of my inspiration! I can be outside, inside, watching tv, on the subway, in a meeting at work, and an idea will come to me. I simply try to take action as soon as inspiration strikes. But, what motivates me is finding my happiness. It is my ultimate goal to have a career I enjoy that brings me happiness and fulfillment, and a career in which Mondays aren’t a thing to dread. At this point in my life, building that career is the best motivation I could have!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

 

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9I absolutely love your evolving lettering style! What is your drawing/painting/lettering process like?

I have a LOT of ideas and a tendency to lose focus and get distracted easily, so I set “lettering goals” for myself each day. My ever-growing list of ideas sits in my planner, and each morning I’ll choose a couple of those ideas and make it my goal to tackle them throughout the day. Sometimes, I fly through them, sometimes I only have enough energy to get through one. But, no matter what, I always start with a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and a totally open mind! Because of my wandering mind, I like to create full, finished pieces in one sitting. If I like the finished piece, I’ll scan it into my computer to digitize in the future.

 

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?

I like to keep my artwork simple. Less is always more to me! Because of the simple nature of my pieces, the entire process might take 10 minutes to an hour. My “Floralpha” Letters take me a bit longer to do since they require precision and care. If I’m working with a fussier medium like acrylic paint or watercolor, I could be working for hours! I’m not too skilled with watercolors yet, but it’s all a work in progress!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite) piece of art you remember creating?

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

I remember creating this piece and being so pleased with how it turned out! Of course, now, I look at it and see 20 things I would fix…but I still love it. It is great motivation to look at something you created when you were only just getting started and see the improvement you’ve made, while also seeing that you weren’t so bad in the beginning after all!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Omg! You were Miss Kentucky! (Yeah, I totally scrolled down your feed!) That must have been quite an experience! Could you share your thoughts about it? It’s quite nice to see a beauty queen with an interest in lettering and blogging!

Well, I was never Miss Kentucky, but I came pretty close! I competed in pageants for 10 years, and for the chance to go to Miss America for three years. I look back on my experience now, and I see how much being involved in that level of competition shaped me. I have such a sense of self-discipline and grit that I don’t think I would have gained any other way! I also have a closet full of gorgeous gowns and a killer workout plan that I still do to keep in shape! Haha

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9Where do you see yourself in a few years?

This summer alone, I am getting married, moving to a new state, and starting my own business. I’m taking it one day at a time for now! But, a year from now, I would like to (mostly) have the hang of running my business, enjoying the first full year of marriage with the most wonderful man, and continuing to expand my artistic skills and interests! Thinking about anything beyond that stresses me out! Haha

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

8:30am – Wake up, immediately head to the kitchen to make coffee!

9:00-9:30am – Enjoy a leisurely breakfast while checking e-mails and publishing any scheduled blog posts for Girl-ish

9:30-10:30am – Instagram and Blog Planning. I use Latergramme to schedule my Instagram posts, and I like to have at least 5 days worth of posts scheduled at any given moment. This time is dedicated to photographing, editing, and scheduling posts for Instagram, as well as planning ideas for my weekly lettering blog posts.

10:30-1:00pm – Time spent writing blog posts, sketching up new ideas for pieces, tackling some of my “lettering goals”

1:00-2:00PM – Lunch and errands!

2:00-5:00pm – Working on my Etsy Shop…another cup of coffee is required

6:00-7:00pm – Cooking/Eating Dinner

7-10:00pm – Depending on the day: Hanging out with my fiance, working out, apartment hunting, or all three!

TUTORIAL IS UP for the watercolor backsplash! Link is in bio, or go to www.kileyinkentucky.com and read my latest blog post on the #heftyhack 🎂HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY, @girl.ish!🎂 I cannot imagine what my life would be like–all the love and joy and friendship I would be missing–if @christiegleason hadn't called me in August of 2014 and said "Hey, I have this idea…" This is one of Christie's fave quotes and it is never more relevant than now, on the 1 year anniversary of our launch date! I just came upon this process of creating a colorful black splash while brainstorming about the perfect Girl-ish dedication. I will definitely be doing this more–full explanation of this fun ink process in future posts #heftybagmaneuver #heftyhack

A post shared by Kiley Bennett (@kileyinkentucky) on

What is your favourite travel destination, colour, food and outfit staple?

Favorite Travel Destination: The Grand Canyon or Costa Rica

Favorite Color: Yellow

Favorite Food: I can’t pick just one….I love anything Tex-Mex

Favorite Outfit Staple: A Chambray button down can be paired with anything and worn year-round…I own 4!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

 

What would a “perfect” day be like for you?

My perfect day begins with a cup of coffee and a huge breakfast of bacon, sausage, and pancakes….preferably shared with friends and family! From there, I’m heading to the beach or pool-side to read a good book and work on my tan. Margaritas and chips and guac will be delivered to me for lunch, followed by a nap, of course, then ending the evening at a cook-out, around a bonfire, dancing and talking and spending quality with my loved ones!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

What do you do in your leisure time? (apart from art, of course!)

For leisure, I enjoy reading, playing piano, and spending time with my friends and family (if you can’t tell, based on my perfect day, they’re a huge part of my life!)

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Some themes/ topics inspiring you nowadays?

I focus a lot of happiness, appreciation, and encouragement. Those are the themes I try to keep a steady hold on in my life, and those are the kinds of messages I want to share with others!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

What are your go-to art supplies and your preferred art media?

I primarily use brush pens in my art. My go-to supplies are Tombow Brush Pens (my favorite is the Fudenosuke Soft Nib), or Tombow Dual Brush Pens for coloring, Micron Ink Pens, a pencil, and a good eraser! I also love doing digital art, using Adobe Illustrator. For watercolor, I love using the Pentel Aquash Waterbrush to letter or to paint, and I’ve recently discovered the magic that is Dr. Ph. Martin’s Watercolors! *heart eyes emoji*

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

How did you discover your own style of lettering? Any advice for beginners and people somewhere in the middle?

My style came out through months and months of daily practice…actually, I feel like I’m still coming into my style. I don’t believe there’s a formula or a method for discovering your personal aesthetic other than trying any and every thing out for yourself…you’ll naturally find what comes easiest to you, and will put your own twist on styles you like.

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

(Love the gold sharpie look here!)

Any fond memories in Kentucky? (Had to throw that in there!)

Most of my fond memories are of Kentucky! Kentucky has my whole heart!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

I especially love your new floral alphabet series on Instagram! What inspired you to start that?

I’ve wanted to create a floral alphabet for years, but I always imagined I would do it digitally, as a font. One night, I was playing around with floral patterns, and the idea for a hand-drawn alphabet hit me. I challenged myself to complete the full alphabet, and I couldn’t be happier I did…I’ve learned so much about letterforms, precision, and consistency in style!

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9What would your ideal studio space be like?

Lots of light! Isn’t that every artist’s dream? My ideal space is a quiet room in my home with a hardwood floor, white walls, one or two large windows, and enough space for me to create an organized work flow. A welcoming, but organized space is key to my creativity! As my fiance and I are apartment and house hunting for our next adventure, we are always on the look-out for my “home office space” that I’ve been dreaming of….I’m trying my hardest to stay realistic about it though! *Fingers crossed!*

 

Creative Lettering (And Conversation) with Kiley In Kentucky via Opinion9

(Kiley’s self portrait! Cute, right?)

Thanks for sharing, Kiley! Find more of her work here:

Lettering BlogInstagramPinterest |

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