What do you do and how can I find it?
My full time job is a book designer and my side hustle is handlettering. My website is in the works but you can see my work by following me on Instagram @evamwinters.
How did you get started?
I always liked writing song lyrics on the margins during high school and college instead of paying attention (still graduated though!). I’ve seen a few artists that I admire try a #365 project where they make a piece of art every day of the year. A friend of mine did a #365type challenge and it inspired me to try it myself. I can definitely point to that one project as one that sharpened and refined my skillset. As a graphic designer, my job is to make something easy to understand for the viewer. I have a direct message that I want delivered exactly how I mean it to be delivered. I’m a bit selfish when it comes to the interpretation of my art. That idea is what drew me to hand-lettering. The beauty of type is that these characters already send a direct message to the viewer. Of course, I cannot entirely control how the viewer interprets the meaning of a phrase, but I can send them off in the right direction. That’s why I tend to draw letters more than anything else—they’re great at getting the message and emotion across.
What is the coolest story you have about doing what you do?
Oh I have a few. My favorite is a sort of “right place, right time” kind of story. Going on a road trip with a few college friends and getting a solid freelance job through that! A friend of mine was driving down to interview for a design job in Nashville so a bunch of us just piled in her car and drove from Illinois to Nashville for the weekend. She was freelancing for them at the time and was interviewing for a full time gig once she graduated. While talking about an upcoming project, I think they came to the conclusion that the workload they were going to give her was too much for a full time student. They pulled me into the meeting and asked whether I would consider splitting the workload with her. After that project was done, they became a semi-regular freelance customer of mine! I still work with them to this day.
Who (or what) are the biggest inspirations behind your work?
So many! I have a stellar design community at my work and also online. I could go on forever so I’ll just keep it short: I love Wanye White’s lettering series (check out “Beauty is Embarrassing”), anything by Samuel Burgess-Johnson, or Jennet Liaw.
If you could give someone advice who is doing what you are doing, what would it be?
Know the difference between inspiration and copying. It’s impossible in this day and age to not be inspired by other people’s work. There is no such thing as “purely unique”—we are sponges, consciously and subconsciously absorbing everything we see. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). If you are inspired by another artist, inhale their art and exhale something different. You’re not learning if you simply copy down their design. Don’t substitute “creating” with “copying.” Simply always give credit where it’s due.
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