10 Questions featuring Rachel Costantino
Rachel Costantino is a product designer and fellow Passion to Paid alumna. She can also jump higher and stay upright in a handstand longer than you. Probably. 'cos she's a gymnast.
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?
Rachel Costantino — physically, I'm in Brooklyn :) // digitally, IG: @rachelanncost and an additional IG, exclusive to lettering, is @littlelady.bigpen (still want to change that but haven't gotten around to what yet!)
What's your lettering / calligraphy background?
A general passion of mine! I studied graphic design in college and took an immediate liking to letterforms (especially via Louise Fili's work). Once I joined the working world, I would spend my evenings doodling my to-do lists + thank you notes to my neighbors and it has just evolved since then!
When was the last time you surprised yourself?
Very recently, actually! I had an idea for a book for my family (an ABC's of inside jokes + traditions) and I illustrated/lettered it over the span of about 3 weeks. It was the first time I've ever actually illustrated anything and I'm very proud of 1. finishing it and 2. how it turned out!
What is your greatest frustration in the creative process?
I think I have two equal frustrations — one at the beginning of the creative process and one at the end. I tend to find myself with an intangible need to make something but I might not know what. I might want to build something out of Legos, knit, letter, paint, make new furniture for my apartment, or illustrate. Sometimes I fuse a few of those together. But feeling stuck with an urge to make but no clear idea of what to actually create is a very large frustration of mine. My other frustration with myself is finishing projects. I am a classic case of getting about 90% of the way through something and thinking of something new I want to do. Looking back on so many half-finished projects really irks me. I should combine them somehow...
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My gifts that I've made in the past. I didn't realize, until recently, that I've been a maker for years. I made homemade videos + montages for Christmas gifts in high school, I've made custom playing card packs for my grandparents and artwork for my brothers. I love my family and friends' reactions to customized work that speaks to what they love and what's important to them. The most recent iteration of that is this ABC book for my immediate family members and their families.
Who are your favorite artists?
In the lettering world, huge fan of Louise Fili, Jessica Hische, Lauren Hom, Mark Caneso, Kelly Thorn, Spencer Charles, Nick Misani, Becca Clason, Dana Tanamachi, Frances MacLeod, all the people at Friends of Type [Erik Marinovich, Aaron Carambula, Jason Wong, and Dennis Payongayong], Tobias Saul, oh man — I could go on for a bit... Illustration-wise, I love Christoph Niemann, Malika Favre, Libby Vanderploeg, and Mary Kate McDevitt (and her lettering, too). I also LOVE Fran Solo's animations — they're awesome and adorable.
What is your motto?
Never judge yourself on where you've been and have good humor about what you've made in the past. If you happen to cringe when you look at old work, remember how proud you were when you made it and how far you've come since then and how far you might go in the future.
If you weren't a letterer/calligrapher, what would you be and why?
Eitherrrrr a gymnastics coach (I was in the sport for about 18 years) or maybe a chef?
What's your ONE piece of advice to people starting out?
Start! Just start, go, draw, try, take the risk. You'll never know what can come of it and what joy you might find just in taking that first step.
Anything you'd like to add:
I love cats :) + lettering is my therapy.
I'm in the midst of a 365-lettering project that began on January 1, 2018. I started this project because I'm chronically missing out on the present moment. I'm either obsessing about something that happened a few days ago or determined to figure out my week next week and before I know it — a month passes. As a self-prescribed remedy, I am determined to celebrate every day through lettering.
Please check it out, follow, comment, suggest fun days, this is a project of celebration and recognition!!! It's being posted exclusively to my Little Lady IG account and it's intended to be a daily post but as I've already learned, life gets in the way! I promise, every day will be accounted for though. Name is still to come, but I'll keep you posted as it evolves! <3