Letters Pray: in his phrases – 99designs
It’s the query on each designer’s thoughts: how do I get the type of work I actually need? If solely we had a easy reply (that’s a weblog publish for one more day). What we are able to let you know is that skilled lettering artist and illustrator Letters Pray, also referred to as Andy, appears to have cracked the code for himself.
Andy’s love for glyphs began again in 2015. After getting an iPad Professional he discovered himself hooked and absolutely dedicated to his craft. His profession is prospering, however Andy’s secret is that he doesn’t freelance solely. He works full-time at a artistic company, which permits his private lettering observe to flourish on the facet. In flip, his shoppers come to him as a result of they already love his fashion, which suggests he will get to work on tasks he actually connects with, like creating the quilt for our neighborhood calendar. It’s like hitting the artistic jackpot.
We caught up with Andy to learn the way he balances profession and keenness, what conjures up him, in addition to his ideas for budding lettering artists.
Who’s Letters Pray? How did you get your begin?
I’m Andy. I’m from London however now dwell in Bristol.
At uni, I used to be very drawn into note-taking and making my notebooks look partaking and funky. This behavior bled into my work life, and I discovered myself lacking stuff in conferences as a result of I used to be busy perfecting prospers or practising calligraphy. However I actually bought into hand lettering and illustration whereas working in a very boring job.
I began by doodling on bananas on my lunch break and sharing foolish stuff on Instagram. I used to be excited by what I noticed on the platform, shopping different artists and getting impressed by all of the superb artwork they had been making, so I made a decision to get higher.
I discover one thing so satisfying about lettering. The concept is that we’ve got these varieties that everybody acknowledges, however there are infinite methods to reimagine them.
I discovered by shopping for supplies and attempting them out, practising totally different types and approaches, watching movies and experimenting. After I bought an iPad Professional is when my journey actually took off, and I might be lettering each spare second I had.
As soon as I began sharing my experiments on Instagram, I discovered a complete neighborhood of artists who had been doing the identical type of stuff, simply at a a lot increased degree! From there—I feel round 2015—it grew to become an obsession. I discover one thing so satisfying about lettering. The concept is that we’ve got these varieties that everybody acknowledges, however there are infinite methods to reimagine them.
You presently steadiness a full-time company job with freelancing. What’s that journey been like?
I may be choosy about which jobs I work on—and after I take them on. I solely find yourself engaged on tasks that I do know I can match into my schedule, and I do know will probably be a mission I’m getting one thing out of.
I took a break from my 9-to-5 job in 2019 to go touring, and I did a little bit of freelance work on the street to assist myself. The touring bought interrupted by the pandemic, however I saved on working as a contract illustrator and lettering artist till 2021 after I began working at a artistic company once more.
Since I work a traditional job as nicely, I may be picky about which freelance work I tackle. After I was solely freelancing, I mainly took on something that got here my manner as a result of I wanted the cash. I ended up taking over work I shouldn’t have, both as a result of it was an space I wasn’t expert in, the timings had been unrealistic or the funds was too low. I discovered rather a lot, but it surely was robust.
I nonetheless take the odd freelance lettering mission after they come up. I really like doing freelance work, significantly as a result of my shoppers come to me as a result of they already like my fashion. Which suggests I’m most likely going to take pleasure in doing the job! I may be choosy about which jobs I work on—and after I take them on. Which means I solely actually find yourself engaged on tasks that I do know I can match into my schedule, and I do know will probably be a mission I’m getting one thing out of. Whether or not it’s a method I like working in and might add to my portfolio, or the possibility to make use of a brand new course of, method or software program that I need to get some extra expertise in.
You’ve talked about Instagram a couple of occasions, and your feed is fairly full of stunning work. What position does it play in your observe?
For some time, I made it a rule to share one thing on Instagram daily. That was how I discovered to get higher and make stuff folks preferred. During the last couple of years, I’ve massively curbed my Instagram utilization and now I don’t actually publish a lot in any respect.
I nonetheless discover it helpful and it’s positively been an unbelievable software for me prior to now because it’s the place most of my shoppers have discovered me, and infrequently nonetheless do. And I really like connecting with different designers and artists there, sometimes doing collabs or simply supporting one another’s work. However I’ve to say that my psychological well being and focus ranges have massively improved since I finished utilizing it a lot.
I observed you’re employed analogue now and again, utilizing a bodily sketchbook and pencil to start out. What’s the worth in going “again to fundamentals,” so to talk?
After I’m engaged on a consumer mission I’ll nearly all the time begin on my iPad and hold the entire course of digital, as a result of I can work a lot quicker that manner. However just lately—and this sort of coincided with me taking a step again from Instagram—I’ve been drawn to working in bodily media once more.
I went on a little bit of a re-learning journey that concerned difficult myself to make one thing that pleases me as a lot as one thing I had made on an iPad.
The primary motive I did this was as a result of I noticed that I had develop into so reliant on the “undo/redo” cycle that comes with digital, that I had mainly forgotten how to attract letters by hand. I went on a little bit of a re-learning journey that concerned plenty of sketching, scribbling, attempting issues and difficult myself to make one thing that pleases me as a lot as one thing I had made on an iPad. Most of this I hold to myself however I sometimes wish to share a few of these experiments on-line, if I feel they’re adequate!
What are your must-have instruments?
Clearly my must-have instruments are my iPad and Procreate. I’m fairly conventional in that sense. My favourite brushes include the app: the ‘Flat Brush” might be my most used, after which ‘Spectra” and “Tamar” for textures. Aside from these I’ve a couple of packs from True Grit Texture Provide that I take advantage of rather a lot.
I like experimenting, although. I’ve been attempting to be taught a little bit of blender just lately and I all the time take pleasure in messing round with pattern-making software program like iOrnament only for enjoyable and to get the juices flowing. I additionally use the Affinity suite rather a lot in my workflow. I discover their iPad apps actually intuitive. Aside from that, it’s nice to all the time have a pencil and sketchbook at hand.
The principle factor is getting used to all of the attainable hand gestures. For instance, holding down two fingers to undo a collection of actions. I additionally use the export layers as PNGs after I’m making a layered AR piece, and that’s been actually helpful.
On the finish of the day, I don’t suppose I would like AI to assist me get impressed when there’s a lot cool shit out on the earth created by folks or nature.
Any developments you see taking off within the subsequent 12 months?
When it comes to developments, you’ll be able to’t actually not point out AI. I feel over the following 12 months we’ll more and more see the affect of AI on design and illustration. Each within the sense of individuals utilizing it of their work, but in addition reacting towards it.
It’s what it’s. It clearly represents a seismic shift in what ‘picture making’ means in 2023. I’ve not used it a lot, however I can think about it being an fascinating or enjoyable software for ideation. However on the finish of the day, I don’t suppose I would like AI to assist me get impressed when there’s a lot cool shit out on the earth created by folks or nature.
That’s an effective way of placing it. Since we’re nearing the tip of our chat, the place can a artistic begin in the event that they need to get into lettering?
Oof, that’s a tough one. I’d say first it is best to get a great understanding of how letters work. There’s a e book known as Home Industries Lettering Guide by Ken Barber that’s a very nice introduction with useful workout routines in it that exhibits you the ropes.
All the time endeavor to make one thing that you just love. When you find it irresistible, you’ll need to make extra, and if you happen to make extra your fashion will proceed to develop and evolve into one thing private to you.
Discover artists you want, and extra importantly, work out precisely what it’s you want about their work. Take inspiration from them however don’t copy them. Discover issues that please you and channel them into your personal work.
And keep in mind: inspiration doesn’t even want to return from different lettering artists. It could actually come from wherever. I feel crucial factor in growing a method is to all the time endeavor to make one thing that you just love. When you find it irresistible, you’ll need to make extra, and if you happen to make extra your fashion will proceed to develop and evolve into one thing private to you.
We love that. So, what conjures up you, Andy?
My inspiration comes from completely random locations. Typically I’ll see a texture on a lamp publish that I need to incorporate into a bit I’m doing. I discover inspiration in tactile issues. Avenue artwork is an enormous factor. Knackered outdated store indicators.
I’m a large movie nerd as nicely. I’ll typically take a movie’s tone or aesthetic and base a lettering piece round that. Basic movie posters are an enormous one, significantly the superb painterly ones by artists like Drew Struzan. I additionally love matte work, idea artwork and graphic novels. I purchased an amazing e book just lately known as Anime Structure which I might flick by means of for hours and discover issues that excite me.
And clearly all of the superb artists I comply with on Instagram. Ah, there’s masses! @biksence is certainly one of my all time faves. @matvoyce is killing it together with his movement work. Additionally The Excessive Street Design for all the time making me chuckle. Additionally I’d love to present Melisa (@girlsnguts) a particular shoutout. She is an illustrator I mentored final 12 months by means of Inventive Mentor Community, and she or he brings such insightful humor and vibrance to all of her work. Test her out!