typography copyright by jasmine dowling

typography copyright by jasmine dowling

I have been meaning to start this blog series for the last month since speaking at Typism. I had a lot of you asking if my presentation would be available online and since the film of it won't be I thought I would blab on a bit here instead. I hope this blog series doesn't come across as vain but by talking about how I became what people know me as hopefully it is useful to some of you or maybe let you in more. 

I know some of my readers were some of the first ever people to visit my website so for everyone who has no idea of my background or how I got into all this I thought I would start with that. 

So for some super old background information I thought back to my first "lettering" memories which was in primary. Not only was I the queen of bubble writing in my grade, I was the first to get my pen license & would often switch up my hand writing depending on my mood (I wasn't talented at sports so this helped get me through) Then I went onto attend an all girls' high school and took mostly art/graphics/business classes. I remember spending numerous art classes putting ink onto all of the paper hand towels and saving them in my diary (don't ask why) and spending lunch times and after school hours in the graphics room working out illustrator. 

Out of school I went and studied a Bachelor of Multimedia Design at UQ where I was one of maybe 5 girls in the whole degree and it was a whole lot of coding and one semester of graphic design. I stuck it out for 2 years until finding out the subjects were changed for my final year and realised I would finish in a year without any of the skills I wanted. So with 1-2 weeks before going into my final year my MD bestie bianca & I decided to try get into another course - in another university (not ideal since 1st & 2nd round offers had already gone out) Luckily for us, we both got in and started our Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) degree at the College of Art with just days to spare. 

This was sort of when everything changed. I was back to taking first year classes (fuck) and I was in a life drawing class which I really enjoyed but I really really sucked at it. I realised at that point that I had put myself in a computer rut. I was so used to going straight onto the computer with my design work that I had lost all sketching skills. It was at that point that I realised that I had to change my habits and get used to sketching and illustrating. So that is when I ended up starting some personal lettering projects. To be honest I felt it would be easier to start lettering then start on illustrating humans or anything else I had no idea about. This brings me to my first major point...


So that was it. While still doing uni and my part time job I started hand lettering in a calligraphy sort of style with a ball point pen (not ideal) ... and I was really terrible. But I stuck to it and practiced most days for the next 2 months or so (back in 2012). Then in an assignment at uni I really wanted to get a really good brush typeface for some editorial spreads but I spent weeks online trying to find something. There is so much more available online now but at the time there was nothing so I thought fuck it - I can do this. So I went and picked up some ink, found some random brushes I had around the house and started illustrating. 

For me it was instant love with the ink and brush, I think it was how quick it was to get something (whether it was terrible or not) and how expressive the flaws were in the end result. But from that moment, I never looked back and just kept creating.

Just starting can be so simple or so terrifying depending which side you are on at the moment. I think one of the things that really hold people back from starting is thinking versus doing. I know I am not alone in this so I am just going to set the scene..

You're in bed at night and your on instagram (mum don't read this) and you're flicking through all these awesome feeds of these totally awesome people doing awesome things and you think shit... I need to be awesome, why can't I be as awesome as that? I know.. I have this great brand concept and tomorrow I will email this person and reach out to collab with this person and then awesome things will happen to me too. Then you fall asleep all cosy in your bed because you feel accomplished.. in your mind you have started something..

But the next night you feel that same way because you haven't actually done anything! So now when I have that feeling I always start by writing it down and taking action right there and then. When you let things sit too long they never happen. So just start. 

Hopefully this wasn't too hard to follow, I feel like I am typing at a million miles per hour. I will be sort of going through what happened from starting to where I am now in future posts so let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to know.

jasmine  x