Lettering Galore

This past month or so has been chock full of design and lettering projects for me. I enjoy the technical process of this kind of work, but I try to pull more towards imagery because that's where I get the most fun and satisfaction out of a job. I've been lucky that these projects were pretty interesting and different from each other, but all the same I'm looking forward to some more image-based projects in the near future. 

Here's the rundown of the design and lettering that I've been cocooned in recently: 



Na Nin (Studio + Shop) : Na Nin is a simple and sweet (and waaaay out of my price range) little clothing store near Lamplighter on Addison. The proprietor needed some signage, which was about as simple as could be because her logo is so spare. (I painted just the "NA NIN" at the top. The window stuff is vinyl stickers.)

Now, normally the simpler something looks the faster and farther you should run from it because its challenges are just harder to see. In this case the challenge was that we didn't have access to the original paint on the shop front, so if I dripped or smudged or miscalculated I'd be in trouble. I'm not sure if I could've done this with any confidence a year ago, but it ended up being almost as easy as it looked :)

The sandwich board was much less risky since I had all the paint colors I needed, and could take the whole thing to my studio (a rare luxury that I try to stay away from for a bevy of reasons). Chalkboard paint makes another appearance on the whole bottom half for that trendy 'dipped' look. 


Sefton Coffee Company : Sefton is my new favorite coffee shop in which to hole up with my computer or sketchbook. On my first visit I actually did what many people have recommended from day 1 of HerrSuite: I sat around and sketched something that I thought would be a nice mural idea, brought the drawing to the owner, and asked if she'd like something along those lines painted on her wall.  Honestly I didn't expect it to work, but Jennie (the owner) was immediately on board and didn't even want to change anything about my sketch. I look forward to working with her on some future projects too...!

In addition to the mural, I painted a little storefront signage for them - I'd done a house address before, but this was my first big reverse glass-painting job!


Kitchen mural on Boulevard : A mom of two wanted to emphasize some house rules (pulled from Brené Brown's work,) so I painted a giant chalkboard in her kitchen with the rules front and center. All of the black is chalkboard paint so they can write notes and draw all over it. This was another one where I didn't have the original wall paint (it had actually been faux-textured) so I had to be really on top of my drips and measurements. This page has the original poster I was given to work from. 

I've also been working on a website re-design for the construction company Alex & Son Contractor LLC, but it's not quiiiite done. While I would not profess to know how to actually build a site, I did design my own site using the tools in Squarespace, and flexing those muscles again has been fun. 


Finally, I'm still tooling around with that calendar idea... I've really enjoyed having a year-planner to lay out the grand scheme of trips or projects and mark far-off dates, so I think other people would too.  I'm printing a few of them as a test and as gifts, but I probably won't be selling them for real for real until next year when I can plan on getting my act together a little sooner.

HOWEVER if you might be interested in buying a calendar for 2015 please let me know! I can do one-off orders for $45 for a 2' x 4' repositionable wall-sticker print (if you don't want it stuck to your wall, simply leave the backing in place and use thumbtacks ;) They'll have hand-painted signatures ("hand-painted by herrsuite") and big red markers to cross off the days. 

Painting on 300-year-old wood is awesome

Catch-up Post time.  At the end of October I got to do a lovely project alongside my cousin: the fabulous interior designer Kirsten Floyd.  Her client Millwrights Restaurant needed some artful direction to lead diners downstairs to the bar.  

For this project I got to paint directly on the raw wood of the stairwell, which may have been original to the construction of the mill house in 1680, which the restaurant and bar are themed around... whoo!

This was really exciting for me not only for the risk-factor (no splatters, no drips, no corrections...), but also because I think this is the best and purest form of mural painting - interacting directly with the architecture, not constrained to a background or expected to fill the rectangular 'canvas' of a blank wall. Letting the raw wood show through and around the painting integrates the image with the rest of the space. 

I even got to expand beyond the stairwell (and if you know my other murals you know this is becoming a habit of mine) - adding little motifs from the main mural around the larger space. In this case that meant a scattering of other stars hidden around the bar area.

Design-wise this was similar to my project with Halcyon Vintage and  Social 52 - a mix between original design work and a pre-designed logo. It's becoming a fun little trend that allows me to work with commercial clients and still have some creative flexibility. Small businesses like there are on my 'ideal clients' list, so it's pretty cool that I've had a handful of them now :)


That finished, I am now back into "planning and scheming" mode, putting out feelers for new leads and building some designs and plans for a few personal projects as well. I'm also flexing my organization muscles as project manager on a commission of Sterling Hundley's for Capital 1, and researching residencies and grants for next year.  Planning mode is a really comfortable place for me, and I look forward to larger projects where I can really make use of and hone those skills.  

Meanwhile I am building a tent/space-heater nest in my unheated studio to make a warm place to work in the winter, but until it gets there I am spending a lot of time in coffee shops... 



I believe that when we last spoke I had just collapsed after RVA MakerFest, my first event representing HerrSuite to the general public... and speaking on-stage about it (oh my god).

Since then I've hopped from event to event in a small whirlwind - Arts on the Grove (a booth), Virginia Native Plant Society (a solo talk), VCU (a panel), and back around to RVA Makers in my own studio. It was a nerve-wracking two weeks, but good! I've learned that I'm much much better at answering questions than speaking in monologue, and that I don't have the guts to make small retail-style products.

For the time being I'm back in the studio - no more upcoming events for me :) I definitely need some focus-time to really settle down and draw and paint and plan things, so I'm eager to get back to that. 

While all that was going on though, I did finish another project: PROJECT FIRETRUCK. This awesome family is the same one for whom I painted a nursery full of clouds (blog link, project page link). Their son Thomas is really really into firetrucks. 

He was well on his way to having a firetruck themed room before I came along, but a giant firetruck mural was to be the pièce de résistance.  This project was extremely awesome not only because it was a firetruck mural (inherently awesome), and not only because the Carleys are so nice (<3), but also because I got to go on a whole firetruck adventure in the name of Research.


from this...

to this!