When I first discovered the magic of hand-drawn letterforms, it was like a bolt of lightning from the heavens descended downward and changed the world as I knew it before my very eyes. That artist was Jessica Hische, and her beautifully crafted poster ‘The work you do while you’re procrastinating is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life’. 

That quote spoke directly to how I had been feeling in my job as an in-house designer, trying to maintain a level of creativity both at work and as I pursued freelance, and it just wasn’t jibing(believe it or not the word to use is not jiving, which I didn’t realize until not that long ago, shit’s crazy). Anywho, I was dragging myself into a corporate design world while trying to establish myself as an independent artist, trying to plot a course that made sense, and I was so totally lost. 

That poster, resonated with me, not just the words, but the execution. How had I never heard of hand lettering(I’m looking at you college), why had the idea of drawing letters never occurred to me? I wasted no time in procuring her book(which is an awesome resource and I highly recommend it) and I consumed it in its entirety(as well as almost every other contemporary lettering book as well as several older books). 

That spark set off a desire for knowledge like nothing I’ve known in my adult life. I had to find the magic wells of inspiration that had fueled this bygone craft and tap into it, I had to discover its secrets. This bring me to my point. If you’re passionate about something or inspired by something, learn everything you can about it in whatever way you can. I don’t mean follow everyone on Instagram and hope they drop some special kernel of knowledge (though you should follow them because why not, right?) I mean, pursue that shit with all of the energy you can muster! Now, I’m going to breakdown how I pursued the knowledge that has literally changed everything for me and hopefully it will help you a little too. 

The Library holy smokes folks, the library is such an underutilized resource, forget the internet and the hours of searching. Hop on your local library website, get connected and start digging. You might be asking yourself, why the library? 

  • Most libraries are connected to an internal library system that connects all of the libraries in that region and you can request books from anywhere! Art schools, Universities, community colleges, libraries 5 hours away. And if It’s in any of their collections you can get it FREE! I mean, come on people, how can you not want to take advantage of that resource? Also, you can request that they purchase new books too! 
  • Some libraries have systems in place so that when you become a member, you get access to services line Linda.com. BOOM
  • You might stumble across something outside of your intended search parameters, and it may inform creative decisions  that revolutionize the way you approach your work. After all, being creative is really just finding and making subtle connections that other people can’t see. Its like an endless well of creative inspiration, maybe that book on modern architecture could spark a sylistic revolution in your illustration career. 

Skillshare if you’re invested in something, and you want to learn all there, find an online platform and invest a few dollars a month into yourself and start learning now. We’re lucky enough that creative work doesn’t necessarily demand a college education, your work speaks for you more loudly than any resume ever could. Now, I’m not saying, ‘don’t go to college’, I think college is a great opportunity to meet likeminded folks and make great connections, and open your minds up to entirely different schools of thought, which can literally change everything. I’m saying, don’t let your lack of funding for a private education deter you, if you’re fired up about something, start chugging away at it, where there is a will, there is a way, and determination is EVERYTHING. 

Workshops – If you can scrape the scratch together to get yourself to a workshop, do it, you can learn from those who inspire you and more than likely gain some serious insight into what its like to work in that field and pursue that life you’ve always dreamed of. I flew into and out of New York in the same day to attend a workshop with THE Ken Barber, and it was a life changing experience, worth every single cent. Im lucky that I have a wife that will allow me to indulge my lunacy and we went a little further into debt because of it. But that knowledge, atleast for me, is priceless. 

Now, I’m going to try to wrap this up into a neat little bow, because, it’s gotten a little crazy and maybe way too long. The point to all of this is to inspire you to start learning in whatever way you can. These are by no means all of the ways to approach a search for knowledge, and I encourage you to seek out that knowledge in any way that makes sense to you, using whatever resources you have available. You don’t need college or that embossed and gilded piece of paper to validate you and your pursuits. All you need is commitment, and the desire to learn as much as you can. Remember, your dreams are worth the effort.

A small glance at the countless books I was able to get through our local library and the library network

Some artwork from a little under two years ago. OOOOF!

Artwork for this post

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