Artist Interview: Jude Landry

AUG 14, 2014
How’s this week of hand-lettered drawing going for you so far? For those of you on the SpoonChallenge journey, this week we’ve been exploring adding text and words to our drawing themes. See what others have been drawing and sharing with the hashtag #SpoonChallenge! If you haven’t joined in on our August quest to draw your way to beautiful surface design, it’s not too late to jump in! Sign up for our SpoonChallenge email and you’ll receive daily prompts to guide your creative journey. We’re sharing design inspiration and tools, interviews with top designers and illustrators, and tips for creative working habits throughout the week. Follow the link after today’s artist interview to sign up!
Meet Jude Landry, a graphic designer specializing in illustration and lettering and a professor of graphic design at the University of North Texas. 
   

Check out the video after Jude’s interview to see how he created this Drop Cap Alphabet!


Do you create art or design full time?

I’m a college professor in graphic design, and it’s a great job for a creative person. Teaching gives my career a lot of variety, and I enjoy the balance of helping students to learn about design while also continuing my own creative work outside of the classroom. I have been teaching full-time for eight years, and as part of my job, I do freelance work. I also do a lot self-directed creative work. I don’t stop making things if I have no client work in front of me.

What’s your favorite medium for creating art?
Most of my work is digital– I love drawing with vectors in Adobe Illustrator. Ultimately, though, I like a pencil and paper over anything. I can’t paint, but I can draw, and I will often use pencil or pen drawings in my digital work as well.
Describe your creative process. What’s a typical day like for you?
I like to wake up early, get some coffee, and read a little bit to ease my way into the day. I’m usually at my office by 7:30 getting ready for class. I teach anywhere from 3 to 6 hours depending on the day. I also spend time holding office hours for students who need help outside of class. Beyond those duties, I’m in my office drawing on paper or on screen. You might also catch me screen printing some posters or t-shirts.
Do you like to create repeating surface patterns? What’s the coolest thing you could imagine seeing covered in your artwork?
Though I don’t use them often in my prints, I think my illustration and lettering work could easily work for surface patterns. I think the coolest thing I could imagine seeing covered in my artwork would be in the form of giant banners on the exterior of a football stadium, or maybe an airplane.
How many times do you revisit a design or artwork?
It depends on several factors, especially if there is a tight deadline. I usually edit a design 2 or 3 times after showing it to a client, if they aren’t satisfied with the original version. However, before that, I will have made dozens of ideas or varations, especially for things like logos. In my personal work, I often find that taking time to really look and think about what I am making will often reveal the best solution. There have definitely been times when I will have finished a project, only to realize a week or two later that I could have made it better. I try to explore every option so that does not happen.
What does design mean to you?
Design means communicating and connecting with people through visual means. To me, the most fascinating thing about design is the way that it combines words and pictures, using language and vision to grab a person’s attention. Typography is especially adept at using this dual communication. We read words and can understand their meaning, but the choice of typeface or lettering will also affect how we absorb or interpret that message.
What song would best describe your creative process?
Hey Jude by The Beatles, of course! Just kidding, how about Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.
What’s in your toolbox?
What, like hammers, screwdrivers and stuff? Oh, you mean my artist toolbox! I have an iMac with a mouse and keyboard. I also have an Epson scanner and printer for input and output. For drawing I keep regular printer paper, along with a slew of mechanical pencils, Micron and brush pens, and brushes and ink. When working outside of the computer, I like to keep things black and white.
Who influences your work? 
I’ll start with my wife Alisha, who is a really good critic. She’s always honest and full of good suggestions. I really love the work of screen printers like Aesthetic Apparatus, Methane Studios, Jay Ryan, and all of the artists doing movie posters for Mondo in Austin. My favorite lettering artists are Ken Barber, Jon Contino, Seb Lester, Jessica Hische, Eric Marinovich, and Ryan Hamrick. I’m also in love with illustrators like Alex Pearson, Rich Kelly, Charley Harper, and Tom Whalen. The work of all these contemporary artists is at a very high level, and they motivate me to be as good as I can be.
Dive Bar Art Print | DKNG
Good Work | Brent Couchman
 WWII Poster | Print
If you were a protagonist in a novel, who would you be?
Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
There are great American cities that I have never visited but would love to see. I really love history so I want to see old cities along the east coast like Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia.
If you could only create art with one tool, what would it be?
I think a pencil and a sketchbook are just fine.
What’s a favorite tip you’ve learned for making art or design, or staying motivated and inspired to create? 
I’ve heard this advice many times and said in many different ways, but my friend and colleage Jamie Mixon said it in a really great way to me one day. She said something along these lines: “You have to really care about everything that you work on. When you care about it, you will make it great.” It doesn’t matter if you are making it for yourself or if you are getting paid a million dollars by the world’s biggest client. The desire to be great is the single most important factor in your career. If you have that desire, you will do whatever it takes to succeed.
For a peek into Jude’s process, watch this video about how he created his Drop Cap Alphabet print. 

Need more inspiration for the rest of your text + typography-inspired drawing this week? Snag one of Jude’s free wallpapers with beautiful lettering for your computer or mobile screens, and visit Jude’s site and blog to see more of his amazing typography-infused work.


Want to join in on the SpoonChallenge to receive daily drawing inspiration for the month of August? If you’re just getting started, catch up on the daily drawing prompts here, and follow the link below to sign up!

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