I got a chance to interview one of my most favorite lettering artist, Dan Lee. Not only does he create some extremely awesome lettering pieces, they are also very motivational. He is a very humble guy and super kind-hearted. It was an honor for him to take the time to join me for an interview. Check Out his interview and work below.
Can you tell me about yourself?
I live near Philadelphia, PA, and work in the city for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as part of the in-house design team. In my (limited!) free time, I do hand-lettering and am pretty active in the online lettering community.
How you first got involved into lettering?
I’ve been doing variations of drawing letters since I could write — honestly, I’d approach penmanship like an art project every time. I only started creating standalone lettering pieces around July 2014, and have been cranking them out pretty regularly ever since! I discovered that instagram had a massive community of lettering and calligraphy artists and fans — I’ve been posting and hanging out there, and I’ve learned and grown so much from the experience.
What are your influences/Inspirations?
I love historical letterforms and how they evoke different periods. The ornate lettering of the late 1800s/early 1900s and the retro typefaces of the mid-20th century are by far my favorites. Hand-painted signage and really rad book covers are my go-to inspirational resources.
How would (someone) describe your lettering style?
Very flourish- and swash-heavy, and mostly light-hearted in content.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your not hand lettering?
Either graphic design work (most of which, funnily enough, also involves hand lettering!), eating, and sleeping. I am hand lettering almost constantly if I have a pencil and paper!
Is there anything new we can expect from you in the future?
I’m hoping to create some prints of original work in the near future, as well as attempt to crack the book cover industry. Also, more tees and stickers…if I can settle down my schedule and focus enough!
Two tips for hand lettering artist.
(1) Challenge yourself with new styles. As lettering artists, we get into ruts of styles that we prefer and it’s pretty easy to lose inspiration after a while. I try to keep things fresh for myself, switching up fonts, flourishes, serifs/scripts…even if I don’t end up loving a style, the fact that I’ve tried and practiced it will have taught me something that I can bring to my other work.
(2) Don’t be afraid to confront your inadequacies. In fact, be grateful that you can tell you have them! Being able to see your mistakes means you have an idea of how to get better. Practice will get you there. None of us are amazing overnight. Own your shortcomings and keep at it!