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Interview with Courtney Shelton from HIBRID

Interview with Courtney Shelton from HIBRID

The talented Courtney Shelton is a hand letterer, graphic designer and founder of HIBRID.

I have been visiting Courtney’s blog for some time now and using her new iTunes messaging sticker app “HIBRID Talk”. The app enables the texting of beautiful calligraphy messages—you can tell why I had to download it immediately!

Find out more about HIBRID Talk here and or download it and read our interview below.


Where are you from? Tell us a little about your background.

I am from Kansas City, Missouri. I have lived in Kansas City my whole life, except when I went to college, which was in Savannah, Georgia for 5 years. There I attended SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design). I received my BFA in Interior Design, and my MA in Graphic Design. While there I was also a 4-year scholarship volleyball athlete.

How do you balance HIBRID and your full-time job?

Balancing HIBRID with another full time job + life is definitely hard. My off and free time is when things for HIBRID get done. You learn very quickly how to manage your time a lot more efficiently.

Explain your hand lettering journey.

From a young age, I've always loved drawing letters. In high school I drew them ALL THE TIME. Once I got to college and further into my interior design degree, we were taught to architectural draft (writing in all uppercase letters). So after that, I actually forgot how to write anything in cursive. 

After I graduated from grad school and moved back home, I decided to start doodling one day in a new sketchbook I had gotten. I lettered in every page, every day.

Once i got an iPhone, (yes, haha my first iPhone) I started an Instagram account. Soon after that, I discovered the Instagram hashtag, #handlettering. I had no idea really that it was "a thing”. From there—I just started posting my work using the hashtag daily.

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Tell us about HIBRID.

HIBRID is a design space with a passion for a variety of design fields including hand lettering, fashion, interior design, illustration, DIY and more. Collaboration projects are also a big part of HIBRID. Although I love to create things on my own, I think that great design magic happens when you collaborate with other brands and designers. 

What were some of the difficulties you encountered while learning?

I think the main difficulty I had, was focusing my attention on one style. I didn't want to do that because I love them all. It's a difficulty that is still with me, but I guess with all the other worse ones that could be present, I'll take this one :)

How do you find your graphic design skills help your lettering skills?

When relating graphic design skills to lettering, I think a sense of overall composition is the most important one that relates and helps to make the lettering successful. Once I've finished a lettering piece, graphic design skills will also help me add different, more unique treatments to it. 

What are your favorite mediums to work with and why?

When I first started, I used pens. To me, brushes were for painting, but little did I know that they were actually going to be my favorite tool to work with. Round brushes and Higgins Eternal black ink are my favorites.

A brush gives you precision, but also so much more character in your strokes which is a big reason why I love it.

Grumbacher brushes are a great choice as well as Princeton Select. 

Any advice to share with beginners out there?

My advice for beginning letterers is to not give up. Keep going, keep practicing, and most importantly, keep exploring.

Every person is different, and for some, it can take a long time for a designer to find their own personal/unique style. Even once you've found it, you will still need to keep growing and learning how you can evolve it as time passes. 

What does your set up look like?

My workspace is pretty typical I think. I don't have an additional studio space, so I just do my work in my office/living area of my apartment. I have a desk, chair, pegboard pin up wall area, printer/scanner, and some storage area for my supplies. 

Who are some sources of inspiration you’d recommend to follow?

I find inspiration in so many places, but here are a few that I really love:

What motivates you to continue to create?

At first, I never had a problem with motivation. It came from within. If you love what you're doing, then that is what keeps you doing it. But once you grow and get more work to balance with life and a full time job...you'll get tired eventually. (Really tired, haha!)

So when you do get to that point, its important to remember to keep balance in your life and your work. I think that's when people loose their motivation. They've worked themselves to death, and get to a point eventually where they're so tired that they just cant continue. So I've learned to keep the motivation flame alive for myself. 

Also, art is the most unique form of an occupation you can have I think, and, what a privilege it is to be someone who gets to do that everyday!

Any exciting projects coming up we can look out for?

I had a pretty busy late summer and fall season, so I am currently trying to recover [some] at the moment! There have also been some life situations that have taken much of my time recently. So as I do not have any projects here in the near future, I know there are going to be some great, amazing things in store for 2017!


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You can keep up with Courtney on Instagram @_hibrid and follow her blog where she posts personal updates, projects and inspiration.

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