Exploration of lettering community depths brought us to Emilee Rudd, a multidisciplinary artist skilled in lettering, illustration and typography. Together we had an exciting conversation about nature as a source of inspiration, fears as a way to grow creatively and personally and work in a coffee shop as a start for huge love for lettering.
— Hello, Emilee, and thank you for coming into line with us and our big blog initiative. We are trying to describe artists’ lives from A to Z, so let’s start with your first steps on the way to becoming a designer. What is your story?
— I started with fine arts at a very young age, and was fortunate to have a lot of family and teachers encourage me to pursue a creative path. I don’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t drawing in a sketchbook or covered in some sort of paint. My earlier years I was entirely committed to the fine arts, and then attended university to receive a degree in Graphic Design. It really rounded me out as a Designer, and woke me to a career path that I quickly fell in love with. For lettering specifically, I discovered it when I was a barista at a college coffee shop. I loved creating the specials board and was asked by the owner to help create menu boards in a few other stores. It started me on the path to a freelance design career.
— What is so alluring about typography? For you personally? Why did you choose this graphic design path while there are so many others?
— I love working with letterforms as shapes – they remind me a lot of illustration. There’s a lot of beautiful moments in typographic form and function. A lot of avenues in typography play into illustration as well, which I always enjoy incorporating into my artwork. There’s something to learning such a rule driven specialty, and then spending time trying to figure out how best to break those rules to create new formations.
— Exclusive of typography, what can you say about other fields of graphic design? Did you try your hand in something else?
— I’ve dabbled quite a bit in digital design – I received a degree that was very focused in this style. I do enjoy vectoring designs and creating sleeker treatments with certain projects.
— Let’s make a short journey to the past. What was your first work like?
— It was like nothing I had ever felt. I love the adrenaline of jumping into the unknown, especially at the start of a project. A blank sheet of paper is like a journey into a different universe, so when I took on my first project it was like stepping into nature for the first time.
— How do you feel about entrusting us with a secret of your individual creative style?
— One of the biggest secrets that I’ve learned through design and life is that if something scares you, that means you should do it. Fear indicates a place you can grow through both creatively and personally. It’s a motto that I do my best to live by.
— Inspiration is the life force of creativity. From what kind of a source do you draw it?
— Nature is my biggest inspiration. Even if I’m working on a project that doesn’t relate to the outdoors, my environment usually has to include lots of plants and fresh air. I am always in awe of the natural wonders around us, and I think all artists draw from that energy in one way or another.
— And when you lose it? I mean the inspiration. How can an artist surmount these nasty obstacles?
— You have to know yourself as an artist. A lack of inspiration always stems from within for creativity, so finding out why your creative channel is blocked and then allowing yourself to breathe through it until your flow is back becomes crucial.
— Let’s switch to your other favourite activities. What do you do for fun?
— Gardening is a big passion of mine, and it bleeds a lot into my work. I love getting my hands dirty, and when I take care of plants it feels a lot like sitting beside Mother Nature (essentially the greatest creative teacher) and taking a lesson. There’s a lot of quiet beauty to discover both in a garden, as well as on a good hike or camp out.
— And what is your next step, Emilee? What do you have in mind for the nearest future?
— I’m eager to continue challenging myself. One way might be to delve into additional mediums for illustration, and then incorporate the new effects into my typography. I also want to dive deeper into projects and develop myself as an artist in general by working with new and unique business challenges.