Our champion today is Sean McCabe. He is a great designer from San Antonio. He make amazing, cute and pretty fonts.
He specializes in typography and brand design.
So, welcome him!
1. Hello, Sean. Tell us about yourself.
Hey, I’m Sean McCabe, a hand lettering artist and type designer in San Antonio. I produce and sell tshirts, prints, and other products with my lettering designs and also work on commission basis to create custom lettering for various clients in different industries.
2. How did you get started as a designer?
I started freelancing web design 8 or 9 years ago alongside running my full time IT business. Eventually the freelance work got busy enough to where it was taking over. I then started a web firm with my partner, who is a developer, and we have worked together for a few years. We recently have scaled back the business to a part time pursuit, taking a much more selective approach to taking on new projects. This has in turn allowed us to focus our full time attention on other pursuits. While lettering previously was something I did in my spare time, it is now my primary vocation.
3. Describe your workspace. What instruments you use in work?
My workspace is a rather humble one. I am excited to be upgrading to a dedicated office in a couple weeks, but until now it has been a small nook which I use as a desk for my iMac and for lettering sketches.
My primary instruments are a good 2B pencil, and an assortment of Microns. I like Microns because of the control they provide in detailing. They don’t bleed, and they give a consistent line at almost any angle you hold them.
4. Tell us about your first design project.
My first projects were self initiated. I think it’s a great way to start out when you don’t have any clients. That way you have something that shows what you can do. My early works were certainly nothing to call home about, but we all have to start somewhere.
5. Usually, how do you planning your work schedule?
Great question! Typically I’m pretty flexible, and work my schedule to fit my wife’s so I’m able to work at about the same times as her so we are able to have similar time off. I love what I do, so I enjoy working whenever. It sounds unstructured, but really I’ve gotten to the point where I can very systematically snap into work mode to get things done. Whenever I’m not able to get into that mindset, I work on administrative tasks, such as email, or engaging with people who comment on my work on various social networks.
6. Where do you find inspiration for new projects?
Honestly, I’m inspired most by things outside of the typographical niche. There’s a lot of regurgitation with people recreating what they see online, and it results in the same thing being made over and over. Lately I’ve been super inspired by the 5by5 podcast, Back to Work. I’ve been going through all the episodes to catch up since I’m late in discovering it, but it is always such a boost. I’ve been listening to it as I do my lettering lately and am loving it.
As far as literal inspiration, I try to let the words of the content I’m using speak for themselves. I let their forms dictate the composition and merely wrangle them into something cohesive. 99.9% of the time I’m creating from something in my head. I almost never look at another’s work directly as I create. I pull ideas from my head that I’ve been exposed to in the past, and while one style might have been inspired by a piece I saw, it’s never a direct replica because it’s different when I recall it. It’s also been jumbled around with many other styles that I’ve seen over time, and usually comes out as something that is unique.
7. What advice would you give to beginner designers and artists?
1) Diversify your source of inspiration.
2) Imagine a number of portfolio items you should have that would be a good amount. Double that number. You’re getting close.
3) Practice. Practice every day, 2–3 hours a day minimum, and don’t stop for at least 6 months. You can read tutorials all day, but you’ll only get better by moving your hand.
8. Lifehacks, tips and hints.
Create and don’t stop creating. Make bad things even. Tell yourself you’re going to make something and you know it won’t be that good. It helps overcome the initial apprehensiveness in feeling pressured to make something perfect all the time. The important thing is that you’re creating. Bad things are beneficial because you know they are bad. In recognizing this, you can make your next thing better.
Another mental trick I use is to tell myself I only have to spend 10 minutes. Say you have 40 very time-intensive emails to respond to. Collectively, it’s an overwhelming number, and that fact alone can often discourage you from doing anything. You then might procrastinate and go on Twitter or Facebook out of avoidance. By telling yourself you only have to spend 10 minutes working at something, you free yourself from the pressure of feeling like you have to get the whole thing done. The key is that it gets you to start—and really starting is the hardest part. More often than not, I usually end up spending much longer than 10 minutes and getting lots done, because I only needed the initial boost to get started.