A few months ago, while dreaming up branding magic for a special client (we take on a few, very carefully chosen clients), we fell pretty hard for the idea of commissioning a one of a kind illustration that would perfectly embody the character of the brand. We had an enigmatic symbol in mind, rife with history and meaning, but in dire need of a modern make-over. It needed to feel organic, but, for ease of printing, had to be structured and tidy too. A daunting task for any illustrator to be sure!
We have a few talented artists on our radar that we were up to the task, but had our hearts set on Laura Agustí, an incredible talent out of Spain who I met on Instagram. Yep – Instagram. Luckily, our client fell head over heels for Laura too! We sent Laura an Instagram DM, exchanged emails, and the project was in motion. As predicted, Laura delivered an illustration that had our client (and us) swooning (gah!!- we can’t wait to show you!).
Laura is living the dream and struggle of a full-time artist, and because we are incorrigible snoops, we asked her for an interview. As you can see, she graciously obliged! This is our first non-lettering artist interview, but illustrators are close cousins to letterers right? We sincerely hope you’ll say hello!
Laura is prolific on Instagram, stop by to see more of her beautiful illustrations and peeks at her life in Barcelona with her precocious siamese cat.
Note: We’ve used good ‘ole Google translate for the English version of Laura’s interview – which we know can be flawed, so we’ve added Laura’s original answers (provided in her native Spanish) to the bottom of the post.
//VECTORIZE YOUR LETTTERING//
Some of you may have heard the term to ‘vectorize’ your lettering or artwork and were either not sure what that meant or are familiar with the term but don’t have access to a program like Adobe Illustrator to do so. The why to vectorize may be an easier way of explanation–vectorizing allows you to scale your images very large (say for signange) without your image losing quality and becoming the dreaded pixealated. Also, if you wanted to do professional printing with your lettering or artwork, a printer may ask for vector artwork (many letterpress printers need to make printing plates from vector artwork) , which may send fear in your heart but fret not friends! We found a FREE desktop app you can download, upload your artwork, hit play and viola! You will have a vector file! It’s by no means perfect, but people are raving about the ease of use and the price (free!), even people that are familiar with Illustrator have been using it because they believe it trumps Illustrator’s Live/Image trace. We’ll let you be the judge of that! Download here.
P.S. If you want to try Adobe Illustrator without the huge investment there is a monthly subscription available here.
P.P.S. You’ll still need to clean up your lettering before vectorizing may we suggest these?
//IMPROVE YOUR PENMANSHIP//
All this discussion about lettering and all you want to do is improve your penmanship? Emily of Jones Design Co. has created a course just for you! I was super excited when I found out about this online course, I really would love to take it. It is an investment at $80, but the joy of being able to love your personal hand to create handwritten letters and other mementos of your life is priceless. Penmanship Simplified.
//CREATE YOUR OWN GUIDELINE TEMPLATES//
Fozzy Book, the calligrapher with the quirky name but the seriously good resources has a most excellent download to create your very own hard copy guideline stencil so you can turn any notebook into one where you can practice your calligraphy with a proper slant. Download the template here.
We hope you enjoy these resources! Please let us know if you have any questions!
Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.
Oh boy, the studio has been hopping! Dream projects are coming to fruition, the sidewalks are lined in pink petals, we have a brand new interview we can’t wait to share with you (an illustrator this time!), and we are both feeling artistically and creatively inspired thanks to the end of the short and dark winter days. Are you feeling it too? We hope so!
A few things to help you hop into spring:
Need a crowd-pleasing but pretty Easter dessert option? How about our edible floral-topped Banana Cake with Dulce de Leche?
Just when I banned myself from adding any more stripes to my wardrobe, I came across this 100% cotton not see-through, 5 star reviewed, steal. Yeah, I caved.
Pollen. If you have allergies, you know what I mean. If you’ve maxed out on allergy meds, but still have sinus pressure, try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to hot water. Around here we put it in apple cinnamon tea with a bit of honey – it helps!
Need a spring break art project idea? Stuffing flowers in between the pages of my parent’s vintage books was a favorite childhood pastime, but this flower press is way cuter (and probably less annoying for vintage book collecting parents)!
We make pesto of some sort at least once a week, it’s so easy that most of the time my two year old daughter makes it (supervised of course), it takes about 5 minutes start to finish (clean up from toddler cooking–add an extra 30-60 minutes). On a side note, I realized that if E. makes something, she is more apt to eat it, it might be a good ‘trick’ to motivate those picky eaters to try something new. You won’t need any special skills, but a blender or food processor and you can really get creative with your ingredients. Pesto is incredibly versatile it can be used on pasta (our fave), spread on bread or crackers, used as a dip for veggies, we’ve even been known to use them with our scrambled eggs! Mastering this culinary taskmaster is not only easy, but it gives you cred in the kitchen (perfect for a newbie chef)!
We have been using spinach instead of the traditional basil because we usually have a bag on hand, you can of course add some basil to your spinach pesto, sometimes we’ll add a handful of leaves if we have.
3-4 cups Spinach firmly packed (we use a bag of Trader Joe’s organic baby spinach, you can sub for all basil or add some basil leaves, we’ve even used Kale, optional)
Garlic (2 peeled large cloves, or 3 small ones)
1/3 cup Olive Oil (don’t pour in all at once!)
3-4 T Parmesan
Salt & Pepper (a pinch)
1/4 cup Almonds (you can omit or switch them up and try walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, or the traditional pine nut, experiment! You can roast but we don’t)
We do this as a dump all your ingredients (except the olive oil) into the food processor or blender situation. I put the garlic at the bottom so it gets chopped nice and fine (you don’t want to chomp on a giant piece of garlic). We start with about a tablespoon pour of olive oil and pulse, we keep slowly adding the oil and pulsing until the pesto is finely chopped and resembles a thick paste, you may have to scrape the sides down with the spatula a few times after pulsing. You may not even need to use the entire olive oil!
To use for pasta just cook your pasta as directed on package and drain, we return the pasta to the now empty pot and start stirring in the pesto to coat the noodles. The heat from the pasta is sufficient to warm up the sauce, we sprinkle a little more parm on and dinner is served! Pesto also freezes beautifully, making this meal come together even faster! Enjoy!
//ALTERNATE PESTO RECIPES TO EXPLORE//