I happened upon Katie’s work on Instagram when I was perusing intricate art designs, lettering, and calligraphy. I was inspired by powerful quotes and words that I have come across in small shops and bookstores. Enraptured by motivational and magnificent words, I knew I wanted to savor these words I’d seen. I reached out to Katie, and she was more than happy to accommodate working on three different lettering projects. To make this all happen, we scheduled a time to talk on Skype, went back and forth via email several times with questions, ideas, a signed, and a couple of text messages. In between everything, I organically asked Katie if she would be willing to be featured on my blog, and of course, she said yes! Below you will get to know a bit about Katie and her work!
One lucky winner will win a set of 5 unique greeting cards designed by the artist. All you need to do is call, text, or message me on Facebook to let me know who you’re inspired to send the cards to, and I will be sure you receive them! And yes, without a doubt, Katie’s work and these cards are nothing but amazing!
OK, time to dive into the interview…
1. Where are you originally from?
I was born in Texas but grew up in Boulder, Colorado. I attended the University of Washington in Seattle. I moved around a bit after that (including time in France, California, and Denver). I finally settled back in Seattle in 2012. My family still lives in Denver, though, so both Colorado and Washington feel like “home.”
2. What are your favorite things to do on a rainy day?
I love spending rainy days curled up with a book and a tasty beverage (water, tea, wine, chai. I’m not too picky). I am a voracious reader and would love to have an excuse to read all day! Of course, my dogs would have to be curled up with me, too! I have a 13-year-old Shih Tzu Schnauzer named Yoshi and an almost-one-year-old Mini Schnauzer named Zelda.
3. What is your favorite color?
Bright yellow! I’ve loved yellow since I was a little kid — it’s just such a joyful color. Oddly though, yellow looks terrible on me, so I have zero yellow clothing!
4. What is one word that describes you the best?
That’s a hard question! I am going to go with self-assured. I’ve become much more willing to be myself, both from getting older and from my time working with kids. They are so unabashedly themselves, and it is fun to be around.
5. How did you first get into lettering, and what drew you to it? What do you love about it? How long have you been lettering?
I always had an interest in lettering before it became a thing. I took my first official hand lettering class in April 2015. I continued learning on my own after that through books, online guides, and courses. I found it soothing, so I would practice when I got home from my stressful teaching job. I left my teaching job in June 2018, at which time I took lettering on as my full-time gig.
6. How do people usually find out about you and your work?
The vast majority of my customers are people I know. I’ve done projects ranging from card sets to wedding signs for my friends and family. For my in-person workshops, I’ve had followers from Instagram attend. And my business clients have been a mix of me reaching out to promote my services and business owners talking amongst themselves and sharing my information.
7. What is your all-time favorite project that you’ve done so far?
Oh, it’s so hard to choose! I love making cards because each one can become a little work of art on its own. I am proud of the menus I did for a local biscuit shop, though, because it was the biggest project that I had taken on to that point. It’s also still exciting to go in and see my work there.
8. Who inspires you?
Cliché, I know, but I’m going to say, my mom. She is endlessly curious, and I’m always impressed with her desire to learn new things. She is a true Renaissance woman. Her hobbies, passions, and interests have included beekeeping, biking, making soap, watercolors, rock climbing, sewing, knitting, scuba diving, gardening, spinning wool, computer engineering, and playing the piano. I am often nervous about trying new things because I know I won’t be very good when I start (hello again, perfectionism!), so I admire my mom’s willingness to be a beginner.
9. Is lettering therapeutic for you in many ways, and if so, how?
It started out being therapeutic but has become less so, and I turned it into work. I still love doing it, but my perfectionist tendencies mean that I’m rarely delighted with what I create. I try to focus on progress over perfection, although it doesn’t always work.
10. What is your life motto?
I adopted the motto, “Done is better than perfect,” when I was in grad school, and I try to apply it to my work. I always try to make things the best I can but keep from being obsessed with the tiny details that nobody else will notice. Also, the imperfections are what make it handmade.
11. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I want to be still making and enjoying art. I know that if I hustled harder (worked more hours, stayed up later, pushed my brand, did more marketing) that I could make more money, but I take it slowly because I don’t want to ruin it for myself. I worry about setting big lettering dreams because I don’t want to take that fun out of it.
12. Do you believe, as a whole globally speaking, we should view the world as one world? If so, how come?
Let’s view the world as one world and work together to fix or alleviate global problems, like climate change & world hunger. This planet is the only place we all have, and I hope we can come together as a world community, working together to create a better future.
13. Before you got into lettering, what did you do?
Oh man, where do I start? I was never someone who had a plan, who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I studied French in college because I had great French teachers since middle school and ended up loving the language. After college, I tried studying translation and interpretation, but it just wasn’t for me. I ended up working at a big bookstore, running the kids’ section, where I realized how much I liked working with kids. I had young cousins at the time, so I started volunteering in their classrooms on my days off and eventually decided to pursue teaching! After four years as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant and four years as a second-grade teacher, I decided to transition to lettering full-time. While I still love kids and (mostly) enjoyed teaching, the job demands were just not the right fit for me. Now I get to use my teaching background for my lettering workshops!
14. What does happiness mean to you?
I aim to be content rather than happy and look to find it in small ways. Things that make me material: a warm puppy in my lap, a quiet house so I can read, crunchy leaves, and celebrate my birthday.
15. If you were granted three wishes, what three things would they be, and why?
- I don’t want to be selfish, so my first wish would be to solve all the world’s big problems.
- I want to be completely refreshed after only 4 hours of sleep. I can sleep more if I choose, but I don’t have to. As is, I need a lot of sleep to make my body happy, and it’s not always possible.
- I wish there were libraries for art supplies. (Side note, I love the library. I currently have four books checked out and a bunch more on hold.) I want to be able to try out supplies before I invest the money. Then I could return the supplies that aren’t for me and only invest in the ones I will genuinely use.
16. If you could write a letter to your 16-year-old self, what would it say?
Try new things and be yourself. Don’t put up with that dumb boy. Don’t do things because you “should.” Find what matters to you and double down.
17. Do you enjoy traveling? What are your favorite places to vacation?
I like to travel and see new things, but planning everything stresses me out. Most of my trips are either to Denver to see my family or somewhere to visit with my family. The next big trip I’m planning in Iceland for my honeymoon in March!
18. Some say laughter is the best medicine. Can you share a relatable and funny story with the readers?
When I worked at the bookstore, a customer asked for an illustrated guide to Audis (the car). Still, I thought he said “outies” and replied earnestly, “Bellybuttons?!” He was not amused, and I could not stop laughing.
19. Favorite song right now, and why?
Anything by Andrew McMahon (he was also in Something Corporate & Jack’s Mannequin). At live shows, he used to light the top of his piano on fire and dance all over the keyboard. His punk rock attitude and piano rock style have always spoken to me, mainly since I played piano growing up. I still played pretty classical music, so I loved seeing the piano in such a cool way.
20. How can readers find you online? What is your price range?
Readers can find me on Instagram @letteringbykatie or my website www.letteringbykatie.com. I also love to work on custom projects, so if you have an idea for something that you don’t see listed, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices start at $3 for stickers and go up from there, depending on the project's time and complexity. I recommend checking out my website and my Instagram feed to get an idea of my past projects range.
21. The topic of loneliness and depression is a newsworthy topic and a statistic that increases daily globally. Why do you feel the figures are growing with anxiety, loneliness, and depression? What do you think can be done to inspire change to this drastically changing statistic?
I think a lot of the problem is the growing use of social media, where people show a perfect snippet of their lives without showing all the chaos behind the scenes. Seeing those ideal little squares all day can make you feel like your life doesn’t measure up. However, I’m seeing people do two things to counteract the loneliness. One, people are more authentic in sharing their real lives and acknowledging that nobody is perfect. And two, people are working to counter the stigma attached to mental illness, making it easier for people to talk about these issues. I think being more open with mental health will make a difference for people getting help when they need it.
23. What are some tidbits about yourself you can share?
I live in Seattle with my fiancé, Drew, and our puppies. I love my birthday with the enthusiasm of a small child. Halloween is my favorite holiday because I find it magical that everyone has just agreed to dress like weirdos for the day. Dad jokes are my jam, and my favorite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.