Melbourne lettering artist Eliza Svikulis paints, she vectors, hand letters, loves a good crafternoon AND she’s a member of The Letterettes. Is there anything this girl can’t do?
We sat down with Eliza to find out.
Letterer/Illustrator/Designer/Budding Sign Painter from Melbourne with a thing for vintage design and knick knacks, memory/nostalgia, a cheesy tone of voice and a tendency to over-embellish.
From childhood, I was fascinated with lettering and handwriting and always practised both in art, but didn’t see a clear pathway for it. After high school, I had a long stint in the wrong course but finally gravitated over to graphic design where my lettering passion was reignited. By the time I graduated from GD, hand-crafts were experiencing a huge resurgence and I was ready to jump in head first.
Work, work, work, work, work. The breadth of jobs I take on keeps me well practised from hand-made to computer-made … I love attending other workshops that are a side-step from what I do, and I love to see how new creative skills can influence my existing practice.
Jack of most? I have to maintain the balance between working with my hands and working at my desk … too much of either and I get restless.
Practice your letter shapes in a bunch of different styles. Look to old examples for the spacing and form. And when it comes time to throw your own style on it, dig into your own experiences and inclinations for inspiration.
I still use a desk diary and handwrite lists. I’m a compulsive labeler and love gift wrapping/writing notes and cards so I’m writing all the time. It’s not deliberate practice, but it’s little bursts of daily writing/drawing, and I think it helps to spark my creativity. (Physically crossing tasks off also motivates me, because I can be easily distracted). I share a workspace with a bunch of other freelance creatives, so if I need to get into the meditative-vector-work/calligraphy zone, I’ll throw the headphones on and carefully choose a podcast/audiobook. (Fellow podcasts fans—let’s share our favourites?)
I’m very rarely stuck for ideas (I suffer from the opposite problem), but I am often burnt-out from working/thinking too hard. Stepping away from the desk, fresh air/exercise or a good long drive always helps. And for the times when it’s ‘deadline city’ and I can’t step out, I’ve got a great bunch of fellow artists around me to help talk things through and share in the struggle.
Having multiple jobs (solo + group) on my mind at once (even when the thoughts are just timelines and logistics) is exhausting, and stops me from really focusing on the creative bits. So when it’s all too overwhelming, I’ll write both a big list of the to-dos that are buzzing around in my head to help clear my mind and also a daily list of tasks, so that I can keep track of how quickly (or not) I’m getting through them. I try not to let emails/calls interrupt my workflow, instead, I designate chunks of time to hit all communication at once … also, COFFEE.
With my solo practice, I’m pretty old-school and mostly organise myself manually. Within my group practice (with The Letterettes), we use ‘slack’ on a daily basis to organise our multiple threads of communication, ‘split wise’ for splitting group expenses, and ‘Dropbox’ for sharing files. Despite the new algorithms and ads, Instagram is still my favourite for the visual and creative community side of things.
All me, baby. *Insert gritted teeth emoji*. Within the letterettes we share the load, and also have our agent, The Jacky Winter Group for help.
Mostly word of mouth/return customers, some from Instagram and some overflow from The Letterettes.
Finding more of my people. Letter-lovers unite!