10 Questions featuring Ayla Peña

10 Questions featuring Ayla Peña

Photo by  Maricle Kang  

Photo by Maricle Kang 

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?

Hi, my name is Ayla Peña (sounds like "jalapeño") and you can find me on www.aylapena.com or on Instagram @aylapena or somewhere in Vancouver, BC perma-covered in ink and/or paint.

What's your lettering / calligraphy background?

My dad taught Typography in university and seeing all his typography books got me all curious about the art of letters. I took up advertising design and fine arts in university and fell head over heels. My first lettering job was at the coffee shop I used to work at, I kinda volunteered as I didn't want anyone to butcher our signs. I've always made greeting cards for everyone and after a bit of nudging by friends, I picked up my first calligraphy pen in 2014 and never looked back. I taught myself to be patient with the pointed pen (and at times, Illustrator!) and have picked up a number of wedding and event calligraphy jobs in the last few years.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?

I think I surprise myself a little almost everyday, but the biggest surprise (and accomplishment) for me is when I *finally* launched my calligraphy business.

What is your greatest frustration in the creative process?

I get so inspired by a lot of things so I get frustrated when I try to make something and it doesn't come out the way I was imagining it. Also, when I say yes to all the things and then later on realize that I will now have a tight timeline for some projects. I want to give each project with 110%, so I'm trying to remind myself more projects will come when I have to say no to some.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being able to share my work through beautiful letters is tops. Also, being able to juggle my full-time job and my calligraphy business is definitely a daily achievement for me. Oh and when I successfully convince people to not use Comic Sans for anything.

Who are your favorite artists? 

Lauren Hom,  Jessica Hische,  Fozzy Dayrit,  Karla Lim,  Jenna Rainey, Degas, Monet.

What is your motto?

Ask questions, work hard, be kind, and pet all the dogs.

If you weren't a letterer/calligrapher, what would you be and why?

I would be an aerial hoop performer; I love dancing, moving, and not worrying about my hands getting callouses.

What's your ONE piece of advice to people starting out?

You don't have to do everything all at once and it's OK to take breaks.

Anything you'd like to add: 

I'm currently working on semi-custom invitation suite designs that I can offer to couples who are in love with calligraphy, but do not have the time or the budget for bespoke invitation designs. I like making things work for people who appreciate the beauty of calligraphy. I'd love to go full-time with my calligraphy business sooner than later so I can spend more time with my furchild, hang out more often with my bae, and have no excuse of not reading all the half-finished books on my list.

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