Creative Conversations – Gillian Dinh

The Marker - Gillian Dinh

Gillian Dinh started her business, The Marker by Gillian Dinh, just two years ago but she’s already amassed quite the collection of fans – myself included. She is a hand lettering artist from New South Wales who creates everything from bespoke hand-lettered names to wedding invitations and wall art. Gillian is super talented and I’m so grateful that she took part in this week’s Creative Conversation. Enjoy!

When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I’ve always known I’d work in a creative industry as it’s been a passion of mine since I can remember. I’m an Artist by trade, but self-taught Designer and Letterer. I think it first clicked when I would constantly practise my signature in order to perfect it. During high school and university, I almost always re-wrote my study notes if my hand-writing appeared even the slightest bit messy, I was an absolute perfectionist when it came to that.

What artists do you admire most?
With lettering, design and murals in particular, I admire the works of Claire Foxton, Georgia Hill and Gemma O’Brien. But I’ve always been inspired by Australian Photorealistic artist, CJ Hendry since day dot. Her work encompasses so much beauty with seemingly simple hatching and scribbling techniques. It honestly blows my mind how someone can capture such intricate detail so accurately using a single medium and technique. She’s perfected her own unique style and sold an art piece to Kanye… which she presented to him in person! I mean, c’mon, she’s my idol on that achievement alone!

What is the hardest part about being an artist?
The fine line between inspiration and comparison.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a creative career?
The creative industry is a great big world! So don’t wait. The time will never be right, and you’ll never be completely ready. I took the dive because I thought I’d much rather take risks than live my life with regrets.

What project or design that you created are you most proud of?
I’m proud of all my works, but I’d probably say my ‘All Night Dancing’ mural at The Grand Hotel, Wollongong is my favourite so far. A lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) went into that project. The harder I work, the more rewarding the end product is. I hand-lettered the design, and due to projector failures I had to hand draw it onto the wall and then hand-painted it. I never realised how much patience and resilience I possessed until that particular project.

What are your words to live by?
Great things don’t come easy.

If you could be anywhere else in the world where would you be?
On the Amalfi Coast devouring olives, cheese, cured meats and drinking wine. Sign. Me. Up.

Follow Gillian on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

[Image credits: Alana Taylor Photography and Gillian Dinh]

Creative Conversations – Teresa Watts

Creative conversations: Teresa Watts

It’s always very interesting to sit back and watch the artistic growth of someone. That sounds a little creepy but I promise it’s not. Today’s CC guest, Teresa Watts, is a fellow Perthite who I’ve been following on social media for ages. She’s an accomplished graphic and digital designer but she recently turned her hand to calligraphy, brush lettering and hand lettering. And WOW what talent she has!

Here’s what Teresa has to say about incorporating hand lettering into designs. “Hand-drawn elements and typography give a tactile element to an otherwise clean and simple design, grounding it in the real world where ink splatters sometimes happen and not every ‘e’ looks the exactly same,” she says. “The attention to detail and organic feel can be completely tailored to speak to your target audience, imbuing your brand message with visual interest and authenticity.”

Read on to learn more about Teresa’s creative process.

What’s on your desk at the moment?
A million pieces of paper with ink and painted lettering on them. Ink splatters. A collection of pens and brushes. My desk is always a bit of a mess, except when I have to clear a space to take photos and pretend I’m less messy than I am.

Do you have peers who inspire you? Who are they and how do they inspire you?
I’m really inspired by printmaking artists, especially the team at Beau Est Mien and Ann from the Whitman Park Print Shop. Traditional printmaking techniques are so fun, tactile and messy, and always add unique texture to type and lettering. I like seeing how creative they get with it, and their efforts to share their knowledge with the community.

What project/design/book/etc that you created are you most proud of?
I recently made a zine for learning brush pen calligraphy, which I use in my lettering workshops. Everything is hand written/drawn, including a special font I made for this project. It’s the result of a lot of feedback from previous students and has all my best tips, so I’m really proud of it! You can see it here.

When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I always dabbled in art but never seriously considered pursuing a creative career until in university, when I found out that design was a career option. In retrospect, my habits of rearranging things in colour order an doodling in textbooks should have been a clue.

What is the hardest part about being a designer/artist?
The hardest thing is paying just the right amount of attention to social media – not enough to be distracted or emotionally invested in like/follower metrics, but enough to get your stuff out into the world and get noticed.

What do you do if the creativeness isn’t coming?
I like to go for a walk, or at least get up to make a cup of tea when I get stuck – I find the movement and getting away from the screen or blank page helps bring ideas out. My other trick is to just get something on the page, even if it’s scribbly and unusable – one bad idea leads to a slightly less bad idea, and then the good stuff comes after I’ve gotten into the swing of things.

You can follow Teresa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Creative conversations – Anna Blandford from Able and Game

The creative process has always intrigued me. As a writer, I rely on lots of different tools to help me stay focussed but there have been moments in the recent past that have made me doubt my ability to be creative and productive. Working solo is definitely a draw back in times like these. Without people to bounce ideas off or just engage with it can be difficult trying to move past the block. So I wrote down a list of makers who inspire me and they’ve agreed to share some insight into their creative process. I’ll be sharing a new creative conversation every Friday until December 29th so be sure to pop back in each week.

Let’s get to it shall we?

I’ve written about Able and Game lots and lots of times on the blog over the years. I’m a big fan of their funny cards. I love the illustrations and the messages – they are always quirky and unique and fun. The team behind the brand are Anna Blandford (illustrator) and her husband Gareth Meney (technical stuff behind the scenes) and judging by the followers and reviews they have on their Etsy store they make quite the team. Anna was kind enough to take some time out of her busy day to give us a quick peek into her creative world.

What’s on your desk at the moment?
A new book I have illustrated that is out later in the year, a breast pump, hand cream, phone pumping out white noise for a sleeping baby, sticky tape, our catalogue, Keep cup and drink bottle, piles of paper and mess.

When did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I’ve wanted to do it since I was really young. When I was a teenager, my sister and I had a market stall at a little country market selling stationery made from handmade paper. We also sold sheep manure. I think the manure outsold the stationery.

What do you if the creativeness isn’t coming?
Push through. Write down things that are coming into my head, keep working even if what you’re doing is crap. Later when I come back to this crap work I often see a seed of an idea that I can turn into something really great.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a creative career?
Just start. Start and then work out problems. Often you think you need to have everything all perfect before you start and I don’t think this is true, I think you need some things worked out, but you don’t need everything.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?
That being a designer is only a really small part of the whole business. You have to do so many other jobs, and be motivated to do them. Taxes are not fun, book keeping isn’t fun. To be fair I don’t actually do these things, but my partner does. I think he enjoys them more than I do though.

You can follow Able and Game on their website, their blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy.