10 Questions featuring Kate Rodman
Kate Rodman is an award-winning designer and bordering-on-fine-art super gorgeous illustrative letterer. Her Living Lettering series showcases her extraordinary attention to detail, and precise and charming illustration skills.
Here are her responses.
Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, I'm asking letterers and calligraphers I admire to share their thoughts on success, frustration, personal experiences, and more.
What's your name and where can we find you?
What's your lettering / calligraphy background?
My formal education is in graphic design, but I've always had a passion for illustration and hand-drawn art. To me, custom typography is where those two fields overlap. Once I realized this was a skill that people were looking for, I knew lettering/custom type would be a serious hobby for me. It clicked! I've only been doing custom type for a couple of years, but I know it's something that I will keep coming back to.
When was the last time you surprised yourself?
I was recently surprised to find that one of my pieces was accepted into this year's Typism book. I didn't expect to get in because of the extremely talented competition (over 3,000 entries and they chose 192), and also because my pieces were very different from what they usually print. But, in the end, I think that's what helped me. So I realized I should worry less about making my work "fit" into what others are doing, and focus on embracing my own style.
What is your greatest frustration in the creative process?
I think I'm most frustrated with my own doubts. Unfortunately, I get in my own way pretty often (and I know I'm not alone in this, many artists fall into this trap). It's easy to overthink and underestimate yourself. You see all this great inspiration around you and you think you're not as good, so you don't post that thing you made. It's easy to be afraid to put yourself out there. But nothing good ever happens if you keep your work to yourself! So moving forward I've been trying to encourage myself to get out there and make that work, share that thing I'm not sure about, enter into awards, and reach out to new clients. Another great frustration is lack of time. There are so many things I want to do and only so many hours in the day (before I risk burnout)!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Honestly, just being able to make a career as a creative is a huge achievement to me. No matter what happens, if I'm able to continue to do what I love every day and make a living at the same time, I'm good. I would consider my greatest achievement to be: running my own freelance thing on the side of a full-time Designer job, and still managing to find time for personal projects (which, in turn, finds me new clients). It's a lot but so worth it.
Who are your favorite artists?
What is your motto?
I read once "good things come when you get shit done" and I really liked it. It helps motivate me to take action rather than just plan (I like to plan... a lot). It stops me from putting the cart before the horse. Just get shit done!
If you weren't a letterer/calligrapher, what would you be and why?
Anything in the art space... BUT, if that's cheating, if I weren't allowed to be in the creative world, I would probably work with animals or do something in environmental science. I love learning about nature and I adore animals (you can see this in my work).
What's your ONE piece of advice to people starting out?
The creative field is amazing for this reason: you have the ability to train yourself and grow your own portfolio. That's powerful! Not many other careers can do that. Find your niche (dream client) and target it with your portfolio. Personal projects are 100% valid.
Anything you'd like to add:
Creative success is a slow build. It doesn't happen quickly (if it does, that is rare). The best thing you can do is consistently show up and remind people you're there and awesome, and over time, people will start to remember you -- whether that's online or with in-person relationships. And don't forget to have fun with your work along the way, because isn't that what it's all about?