#NoFilter Interview w/ SC artist: Mye De Leon
Mye De Leon is our latest member that officially joined our team in early 2018. She is a professional lettering artist and an author of "Mastering Hand-Lettering" which is sold by multiple major online book retailers like Amazon and Book Depository. Read on to find out a little more about Mye's journey from working with an management consulting firm to being a professional lettering artist!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I personally believe that hand-lettering has always been a part of who I am. My fascination for beautifully illustrated letters began at the age of 10. I would join poster making contests in school, help decorate the classroom with quotes and it went on until highschool. Early college, I helped my uncle in his screen printing business so I was given the opportunity to do lettering for t-shirts, political campaigns and posters. When college was getting a little difficult and I had a scholarship to maintain, I had to focus on studying. I graduated, worked for guess what - multiple industries (and job-hopped for like every 3 years or so), got married, had children and moved to another country. Oh, I did graphic design as a side job while I'm working for an international management consulting firm. Somehow, I stumbled upon scrapbooking and managed to get an online job, which eventually became my full time job when I left corporate work in 2010. I designed digital scrapbook kit for seven years before I had my youngest child, who was born with Down Syndrome. His condition was one of the main reasons how I found my long lost connection with lettering. When you are dealing with a lot and you can only handle so much, sometimes, we turn to the very things that makes us genuinely happy. That to me at the time, was drawing letters. I started drawing the alphabet, one letter at a time and shared it in Instagram. A few months after, I was offered a coloring book deal by Mini-Lou kids, a US-based company designing books and children's toys. Everything just snowballed from there.
Is (or are) there any artist(s) that you admire, or may have influenced the work that you do today?
I admire a lot of lettering artists but Jon Contino (@joncontino) is at the top of my list. I love how his design aesthetic looks raw but it's super perfect down to the very tiny detail. His work resonates with me more because he keeps it more human and less computer generated (a.k.a. fully vectorized). Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with fully vectorized letter works. It's just simply not my style. Be that as it may, I still admire artists like Jessica Hische @jessicahische, she's kind of like the guru of the lettering world, Nick Misani (@nickmisani) and Dana Tanamachi (@dana_tanamachi). Lauren Hom (@homsweethome), I love her for her authenticity, playfulness and unique approach to her creative career. These are just a few of the people I look up to and has inspired me through the years.
Describe a typical practice session?
A typical lettering sketch day with me comes with a series that I have watched a couple of times already, Criminal Minds is my go to series. This allows my brain to not focus too much on the details of my work and allow myself to make mistakes because those usually turns out to be so much better than overthinking. When I'm on the inking and digitizing stage, that is the time to I switch to podcasts - like Drunk on Lettering, Creative Pep Talk, Gary Vaynerchuck, Perspective Podcast, Seanwes Podcast, Elise Gets Crafty. I like to just listen and be inspired and I work 10x faster when I listen to these people. Practice pieces normally takes a maximum of 1 hour so I still have time to work on my client work. Although sometimes, it gets the better of me and I spend most of my day working on it. I'm pretty anal like that.
What is the hardest aspect about learning calligraphy?
Anything that is worthy having is never easy. Like any other skill that needs mastery, hand-lettering takes so much time and practice. If you truly want to learn something, you must devote time and effort to hone your craft. It is a continuous process of improvement and every learning opportunity is a great way to help you grow.
Tell us one (or a few) unknown fact about yourself
I only started reading because of my daughters. I grew up hating reading books for reasons I don't know why. The library bores me, it's so quiet and I'm a loud person. When my daughters started reading books, I saw how their vocabulary improved and I liked it so I picked up some books, started reading and now I'm hooked!