James. L. Lewis
James L. Lewis is a freelance lettering artist, based in Cardiff, UK. As we discuss his journey till date, his innate passion for creative calligraphy is evident. Starting off as a student working diligently on his handwriting, James moved on to calligraphy and perfect hand drawn letterforms. Throughout, it has been his pursuit of perfection and a desire to push his own limits.
When James was in school, he took up classes of graphic design, and was pretty determined to take up the course, in the university. While working on his initial designs, he was intrigued by the typefaces, and the art of creative calligraphy. This influenced his style and inspired him to blend in the two.
The work he shared on Behance and Instagram received significant appreciation. This prompted James to join Group Ligature Collective, where they helped him and pushed him to better himself to realise that his work could be turned into a full fledged career. James now runs all operations of the Ligature Collective and is giving back to the community by developing a platform to help other hand lettering artists grow their talents through interviews and tutorials.
Instead of being hired as a designer, he is more recently hired as an artist, which gives him full creative freedom which he thrives on. The typographer in him pushes towards creating more hand lettering techniques as he enjoys drawing and painting more than vectorizing or doing it digitally. He seeks inspiration online, and his Instagram feed is filled with art from Indonesia, London and New York.
In love with design magazines, James plans to work with publications more often. This, in addition to showcases and exhibitions which are on schedule to be rolled out, have ensured a consistent spotlight on his art. One of his biggest ongoing projects is an installation of a huge living lettering piece. It is definitely a step towards taking his typography off the page and onto a bigger canvas.
A workaholic by nature, James inspires a certain awe in local communities built around art, creative calligraphy, typography and design. We asked him about the best way to get better at hand lettering techniques. “Start with creative calligraphy,” is his earnest reply. “Understanding the fundamentals is very important, start with a single hand drawn letter, then work your way up to words.” His fondness for basic elements is endearing.
We believe his passion goes all the way back to his childhood. His sincere efforts in school. His desire to choose a certain course in college. And his love for his mother. “Find a passion and push it as far as you can,” she had told him. James carries these words with him every day.