Reading: “In Progress” by Jessica Hische

on Books, Lettering  

One of the first people to come to mind when asked who inspires me has to be lettering artist Jessica Hische. Her book In Progress is more than just pretty pages of inspiration (although it has that too) – it tells her story, her process, and gives a lot of invaluable advice.

Jessica begins by sharing how she grew from an art school student, to a graphic designer and illustrator, and finally to a lettering artist, with a ton of hard work and general life tips along the way. She then gets into her tools and process, with lots of tips and explanations for those less familiar with lettering and graphic design terms.

The second part of the book focuses on individual projects from various categories – editorial, books, advertising, logos – along with some details about the client brief, and sketches along the way. Her work is hugely varied, both in style and application, but always with the same base process behind it.

I love seeing how other people work, because whilst it often reaffirms some of the things that I do myself, there’s always something in there that I didn’t think of or place enough importance in. Jessica’s beautiful, detailed sketches are both inspiring and humanising – you can see many of the redrawn or not-quite-erased parts, whilst also seeing the incredible level of precision that can be presented to a client and translated into the final artwork.

Also interesting were the noted challenges with each project – working with fussy art directors, to a tight deadline, or for an unusual medium, and how these challenges were overcome. One of my favourites was a series of quotes hand lettered for a Dove Chocolate advertising campaign, which were then cast in real chocolate before being photographed!

The design of the book itself is of course beautiful, with a vector drop cap theme running through and the use of a silver spot colour ink, which gives all the sketches an almost real look.

This is definitely one that deserves a place on the shelf of any designer or lettering artist! I know it’s one I’ll be keeping on hand to refer to when I need a little inspiration. Don’t even think about getting a digital version – this one needs to be held and admired in all its printed glory. I got my copy via Book Depository, but you can also grab it on Amazon or through Jessica Hische’s website.

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