#SurelySimple Inspiration: Kiley in Kentucky

Hello folks. You’ll be meeting different lettering / calligraphy artists as a part of the ‘meet the teachers’ series on @surelysimplechallenge. You can find their ‘main’ interviews on surelysimple.com, however the ones posted here are more personal and you might enjoy reading both, so please enjoy a glimpse into the creative folks featured here!

Meet Kiley! (check her previous feature on Opinion9 here as well!)

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a twenty-something lettering artist going through a major life change! I just recently moved back to Kentucky from New York City, got married, moving out of state again, and launching my own business. Aside from all the craziness, I would describe myself as a happy medium between introvert and extrovert, a coffee and cat lover, and a woman who loves her friends and family more than anything.

How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?
The words that immediately pop into my head are: loose yet feminine. I often think my letters look more like doodles than letters. There’s always a very round, ornate, girly shape to them. That’s the style that just comes most naturally to me!

What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?
Right now, it’s the simple fact that I truly enjoy lettering. The process is fun, therapeutic, and rewarding at the same time. I know in the future, the “fun” factor might die down, but I also love creating my own hours and being my own boss too much to ever stop lettering and go back to the 9-5 world.

Would you rather go the freelance way or do you prefer a more regulated and secure way of work?
At this point, I have forgotten what secure looks like! For the past few months, I’ve been living off of commissions and freelance work. Even though I started my Etsy Store, there’s no real guarantee I’ll ever receive another order—so, I rely on freelance to keep me going. I wouldn’t say I love this kind of lifestyle. For now, it’s fine because I planned for this, financially…but before I can start a family or begin saving for retirement, I want to have a “steady” gig.

What makes you the happiest when it comes to looking at your progress?
My favorite moments happen when I complete some sort of project, or use a technique, and I think “hey, I just did that with ease. That used to be so hard for me.” That’s when I know I’m headed in the right direction: forward.

Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?
I’m really working on becoming a glass-half-full kind of girl! In the past, negativity or stress often got the best of me, but I’m actively focusing on the positive every day now. Honestly, quitting my 9-5 job and moving out of New York City has done wonders for my outlook on life. I have more energy, I feel healthier, I feel happier, and I’m so much more excited about life now that I’m away from the hustle and bustle.

Who do you look up to in your field? Or in life as a whole?
In my field, I really admire Kelly Klapstein (she taught the letter “A”). She’s a fellow Tombow Brand Ambassador, and even though I’ve never met her—she seems like one of the happiest, sweetest people! I don’t know much about her career as a lettering artist, but I really admire her work, her dedication, and the way she presents herself in such a positive, fun light. She’s awesome!

How many hours do you put in for your work everyday?
A solid 6 hours, at least. Some days it may be more or less, but I am generally working off and on from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, 7 days a week. That is the beauty and curse of being self-employed. Work is always with you in some way!

What book/ podcast are you currently reading/listening to?
I don’t have just one! I love all things NPR, and I love listening to ‘Fresh Air’ or ‘This American Life’ while exercising–it’s about the only way I can motivate myself to work out.


How do you think you have evolved in your art- has it changed you?
I’ve really let go of my perfectionist tendencies. A year ago, I would NEVER take on a commission because I could never come up with a final piece I thought was deserving of the client. Now, even though I am a entirely different (better) artist, I look at my art and I see the imperfections as the “fingerprint” of each piece. On the other hand, I’ve become SO organized with the start of my business (and wedding planning), that I feel like I’m on a roll every day!

What’s next in your artistic journey?
When my husband and I get settled in our next location, I want to start traveling to festivals and selling my work! I recently participated in a small festival in Central Kentucky and I loved every bit of the experience. I would also like to work with local boutiques, gift shops, and other small businesses to get my work out there, and make my prints more accessible!
My social media links are:
BLOG: www.kileyinkentucky.com
INSTA: www.instagram.com/kileyinkentucky
ETSY: www.etsy.com/shop/kileyinkentucky

Read Kiley’s interview at surely simple here.

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#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel’s Lettering

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviewsSimple Alphabets challenge- teacher exclusives!

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering

Please tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Hazel and I have the most amazing, supportive husband and two beautiful girls at home who sure keeps me busy.  My lettering hobby turned into addiction this past March shortly after I signed up for an online course. The course helped boost my confidence and decided to start my own lettering account in IG.  I’m not saying that everyone should take a course.  I know some, if not most, are self taught.  I’m just speaking for me 🙂

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
How would you describe your lettering/ calligraphy style?

My lettering style I would say is simple, modern and I like to incorporate different font styles(lower case and upper case) in one word or through out a piece I am working on.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
What makes you motivated enough to keep on keeping on with your work?

What keeps me motivated is definitely the whole #calligrafriends and IG’s lettering community who have been so encouraging in my lettering journey so far and also seeing that my work is being liked makes me feel good.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

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

If you had asked me this 10 years ago I would say freelance way but now that I have children, I do want more of a secured type of work with my own regulations 😉

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

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

Seeing that the pieces I have done are being admired by many people definitely makes me feel good and also when my girls say “Mom, you’re a good writer!” makes me the happiest even though I’m pretty sure they want ice cream.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews
Half glass full or half glass empty? What’s your attitude in life in general?

To me, it’s all relative.  Having children of my own and seeing how fast they grow in my very own eyes made me realized that I have to enjoy and capture every moment, live in the present,  and most of all, be happy.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

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

I always look up to my mom because she is the most kind hearted, unselfish, caring, beautiful, and strongest person I know.  I am very fortunate to have her as my mother.

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

I work about 8 hours a day.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

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

As of right now, I am reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” to my littles at night.  We shall see how long that will take us to finish.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

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

I have more confidence in finding my own style.

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

#SimpleAlphabets Inspiration: Hazel's Lettering// Opinion9.com creative interviews

What’s next in your artistic journey?

I just want to continue to practice daily and to work on my own style.  As a newbie,  I am still learning and trying out new things everyday.

….

Click to find Hazels’ preferred tools:

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Tombow Fudenosuke Pens

Tombow Mono Erasers

Finetec Metallic Palette

Pentel Aquash Waterbrush Pen

Rhodia Dot Pad

Watercolors from Artist’s Loft

Kuretake Brush Pen

Tombow Mono Pencils

Thanks for sharing, Hazel! Connect with her on her instagram @hazelslettering.

 

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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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