Meet Our Honesty Illustrator: James Lewis
It has been a tradition at CreativeMornings to work with an artist in our community to create an illustration for the monthly theme.
A monthly theme inspires new conversations and ideas that we otherwise wouldn’t think about. At our events, speakers are invited to share a story around the theme and what it means to them. After a month, we are excited to see the kinds of talks and inspiration that are born out of the theme.
The global theme for October is Honesty.
Given that these monthly illustrations are at events all around the world, it’s only right that we get to know the illustrator.
Meet James Lewis
James Lewis is an accredited lettering artist and type designer who has over six years of typographic experience working with clients around the world on projects from logo design to typographic mural painting. With a degree in graphic design and a passion for typography, James creates letters that are known to stand out. He’s well known for his three-dimensional typography which he showcases on his Instagram to millions of people around the world. Since going freelance only two years ago, James has traveled and taught his lettering workshops in Europe, Asia, the US, and colleges in the UK.
How did you get into illustration work?
My journey into illustration began with calligraphy. I came across videos of talented calligraphers showcasing their skillset at 16 and it inspired me to learn as a way of improving my (still) terrible handwriting. After practicing many different styles of calligraphy I progressed onto hand lettering and began my journey into illustrative typography.
At what point in your life did you realize that illustration was your calling?
I felt I was going to be an artist from a young age but I didn’t come to find my own style and unique voice until I studied graphic design at university. As much as I loved learning invaluable skills and historical design theories I began to realise that it wasn’t quite for me. Around the same time, my lettering career was taking off as I had a large influx of followers on my Instagram (@jamesllewis) which inspired me to pursue that full time.
How has your work evolved over time and what were some influences that caused it?
My style has developed a lot in the seven years I’ve been working with letters. Beginning with calligraphy, I was merely replicating what I saw others do until I realised to be successful I would have to stand out from the crowd. I began exploring adding depth to my lettering, drawing reference from sign painting and combining that with my calligraphy skillset. This combination of styles differentiated my work from others resulting in people around the world requesting to learn my self-developed techniques. It’s now come full circle as I share my techniques and teach others with videos and workshops.
How does ‘Honesty’ mean to you?
Honesty is a big part of my creative process. I always showcase transparently my creative process and it’s this honesty that people relate to. Sharing your highs and lows is a great way to show there’s a person behind the illustrations going through similar issues to everyone else. I often share my story with hopes to inspire other via podcasts and public speaking events such as CreativeMornings (talk here)
What are you currently working on or excited about?
I’m writing this just a week before I go on my second workshop tour. Traveling, teaching, and meeting likeminded people is one of my favourite things to do and I’m so blessed that today my art allows me to regularly do this. I’m going to be teaching my 3D lettering workshop throughout the US in October and then Singapore & Australia early November.
What’s something in your industry that deserves more attention?
This year I started the ‘Our Time Has Value’ campaign which directs attention towards the fact that many creative people being taken advantage of and working for free/ exposure. Resulting in many losing hope and becoming filled with self-doubt because they lack the mental strength, creative inspiration, and business knowledge to turn their lives and careers around. The campaign got international recognition within the lettering community, with over 700 creatives creating an artwork/ illustration to raise awareness of the issue.
Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.
I have a mild burrito addiction and dream of the day when I share my recipes with the world at my own burrito store. (drools thinking about burritos)