Bailey Rivera • Antiquaria

I feel so very lucky yo be able to bring you Bailey Amon’s interview, she is one half of the very talented duo known as Antiquaria. Unless you have been living under a blog rock, I am pretty sure you have heard or seen their gorgeous work. Bailey is the lettering artist and Emma James the illustrator. Together they create work that makes you want to shout ‘Brava’ at the top of your lungs, it’s just that good!

Speaking of good, between Bailey’s interview and her new calligraphy tutorial series you will find so many resources and such good information for your calligraphy adventure that you won’t know what to do with yourself! To make this interview even better I have another copy of Molly’s book to giveaway (a resource that Bailey mentions in her latest tutorial, I’ll choose from the comments).

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out The Antiquarian Post, Bailey's magazine!

Where are you located?

In beautiful Pasadena, CA!

How did you get started in lettering?

My background is in visual design & merchandising. When I graduated from college I worked doing store windows and styling mannequins. I eventually moved into a position with an event planner and he introduced me to his calligrapher. When I found out that she offered evening classes, I signed up and have been hooked ever since. I honestly didn’t really expect to stick with it, I just figured it would be added to the long list of hobbies that I’ve dabbled in, so the fact that it has become my livelihood is kind of funny.

What are some of your favorite supplies?

My everyday stuff is Sumi InkNikko G and Brause EF nibs and Rhodia paper. I just recently got back into practicing brush lettering so I’ve been playing with a ton of brush pens. My biggest advice for supplies is to buy nice stuff. You can very rarely go into an art store locally and get anything that you’ll have success with-even the papers labeled for calligraphy are terrible. Your lettering will never look good if the paper bleeds. I learned this the hard way.

Can you name some of your inspirations?

I am inspired most by my visual surrounding and things of the past. I love historical costumes and vintage signs. When I travel or walk my neighborhood, I stop to record minute details that others may miss, like a gate pattern on an old fence or the leaf shape of a tree that I walk by. You never know when some small thing is going to set off an “aha” moment!

Can you go a little into your process of how you work on a project?

It really depends on the project. I mostly work with stuff for reproduction these days, so I start on white paper with a pencil or black ink (depending on how complicated the design is). I do lots of different options for the lettering, including any flourishes or additional components that I may want to add to the design once it’s digitized. Then, I scan it all into the computer and bring it into Illustrator. From there, I manipulate the lettering and design elements until I’m happy with the final product!

Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?

I remember really wanting a fun & whimsical style that was all my own when I first started out in calligraphy but it alluded me for a long time. It wasn’t until I really focused on very technical aspects of lettering and was hired to do jobs in a traditional Copperplate hand that my own style really began to develop. Focusing on basic fundamentals is never what a new student (i.e. forms, spacing, connections, x-height, etc.) wants to do but it really is what will get you there. If you merely copy a style of another calligrapher that you admire, you may not develop to your full potential as a lettering artist. Understanding the structure of each letter, how to connect them together effectively and how to balance each word are the keys to developing your own style. From there, you can let loose and be free!

Any recommendations of books or classes for lettering enthusiasts to further their studies?

Besides my initial class in pointed pen, I used the book  and Dr. Joe Vitolo’s videos on IAMPETH in the beginning. I still use that book from time to time for letter form ideas. Both resources are very traditional but offer a wonderful foundation for pointed pen lettering.

I also took as many calligraphy classes, from as many teachers as possible when I first started, through my local calligraphy guild. It didn’t matter the topic or tool that was being taught, each one helped me further my understanding of lettering.

We’ve just started a tutorial series on our blog to help new folks with their lettering practice. We’re keen on spreading the calligraphy love!

Do you have some favorite projects you would like me to mention?

A few come to mind, although I really do have fun with every new challenge. Most recently, I was asked to contribute calligraphy and photo styling to the book, Mastering Calligraphy by Gaye Godfrey-Nichols. I was asked to create an illuminated piece and the process was photographed. It was really fun and out of the norm for me.

What is a dream project you hope to work on one day?

I’d love to teach workshops (which we’re working on for 2014). Ever since I learned calligraphy, I knew I wanted to share my love for calligraphy with anyone who was interested. I’m excited that so many young people are becoming interested in calligraphy and hand lettering. It make me very happy!

Any advice on what ‘not’ to do?

Don’t give up. Starting calligraphy can be a test of your patience. If you really love it and are keen to learn…stay with it!

Name one random talent you have that people may not know.

Not really a talent…but I can fold my tongue into the shape of a clover.