San Diego Letterers Roxy Prima and Phoebe Cornog are best friends and business partners. When not up ladders painting murals, the two can be found drinking and interviewing their favourite lettering artists on their Drunk on Lettering Podcast.
We sat down to find out how these boss ladies mix business and friendship so successfully.
Phoebe: I went to college for graphic design. I had an interest in it there but it wasn’t until my second big girl job that I had the opportunity to truly experiment with lettering. I fell in love and started posting on Instagram, where I met my now business partner—Roxy Prima.
Roxy: I started lettering when I got out of design school. I was burnt-out from being on the computer 24/7 while in school. I was craving going back to my art roots and working with pen and paper so I would draw letters in my free time. I started sharing them on Instagram and was getting likes and follows and people wanting to commission me to create pieces for them. I kept at it, started posting new work every day, and over the years it grew into something really big. When I met Phoebe we were ready to ditch our full-time gigs and go full force with our dream!
Phoebe: I draw every single day. When I’m not drawing, I’m soaking up inspiration from my surroundings. I easily get bored with a certain style, so I’m always looking for the next best thing!
Roxy: When I decided to start drawing every day, that’s when I really started to get good and find my style. Reading as many books on type and lettering, gathering inspiration all around me, connecting and meeting up with other letterers, going to conferences and taking workshops all helped me get to where I am today.
That’s hard. We are definitely best at drawing and painting, but we also like a challenge. We say “yes” to most projects that involve a new technique or idea in order to push the bounds of our own creativity. We love trying new things even if we don’t really know what we’re getting ourselves into. It’s worked out … most of the time.
Draw every day, use a ruler, and don’t get too worked up about not having a style … it’ll come eventually! Lettering inspiration is everywhere, but don’t get too inspired by other people’s work. If you want to develop your own style, you have to figure out what you like and do things your own way!
Phoebe: No daily rituals but I usually lay verbiage out very lightly first. Then I’ll go in with a ruler and measure the spaces in which I want the word or words to sit. I’m a little OCD in that way!
Roxy: I definitely draw every day, even if it’s just a quick sketch to get an idea out. I am constantly on Instagram, not just to be inspired by all the amazing work of my peers, but to connect with new people.
Switch it up! Work on a different project or try something “just for fun”! Our passion projects, like our podcast Drunk on Lettering get us excited and re-inspired. There are definitely days that we hate everything we draw. But if we take a time out to let our minds focus on something else, we usually come back feeling refreshed.
As designers, it’s hard to not give 110% to every project, but it’s worthwhile to acknowledge when certain projects aren’t worth it. You have to be smart with your time, especially if you work for yourself. We’re more creative and productive when we take care of ourselves. So spending time and energy getting a massage after a big mural, or having a good fitness routine, helps us manage our time and energy better.
We’re pretty basic … Square, Google Calendar, Google Sheets! If it’s not in the Google Calendar it does not exist in our world!
For the most part, we’ve been doing everything on our own, but there have been many people who have been helping us out along the way. Our parents and friends have been a huge support! We have a lot of friends that we’ve interviewed on our podcast that we’ve become very close with and who we can turn to when we need design or business advice. The biggest help for our business has been our business coach. We hired him about a year ago and it completely took our business to the next level!! We just recently hired an assistant as well and are very excited about it!
Outreach and Instagram! It’s amazing when businesses come to us through social media, but it definitely fluctuates and is hard to rely on just people coming to us. We are constantly connecting with new people and businesses. We do calculated outreach to target businesses that align with what we do.
The opportunity to connect and share our story with a whole new continent! We love travelling, meeting new people, and spreading inspiration! G’day mates!