Hello 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!
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.
What 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!
I 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.
How 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!
Doodling some wild flowers and adding in the black accents that really make them POP with my @tombowusa Monotwin Permanent Marker! It is double-sided, so I use the thick nib for those bolder lines, and the fine point nib for the dainty details! I love it! Thanks for sending it to me, Tombow! I still pinch myself every month when I get your special delivery in the mail 😍 #tombowbrandambassador
Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite) piece of art you remember creating?
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!
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
Where 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
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
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!
Like, not EVERY Monday, but today, it was all about the small victories and congratulating myself for being so darn productive. I checked a lot of things off my "Kiley's Realistic Pinterest Wedding" checklist, among other important to-do's, and it wasn't pitch black when I left work this evening so HOORAY, Y'ALL. 🎉
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!
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!)
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!
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*
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.
(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!
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!
What 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!*
(Kiley’s self portrait! Cute, right?)
Thanks for sharing, Kiley! Find more of her work here: