I’m a sucker for pages from artists sketchbooks and their creative process. Eric Friedensohn’s Instagram account is good place to get a idea behind the thought for his elegant letterforms and process. His sketchbook series which includes ‘Throwback Jack’ and ‘Lowercase’ are beautiful for their economy and elegance. Eric took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Lettering Guy.
1. Your name and title/business name?
My name is Eric Friedensohn, and I am a Freelance Designer / Lettering Artist working in my own studio called “Efdot” (efdotstudio.com).
2. Do you have a specialty or special style that makes you relatively unique? If so, what?
My specialty is custom lettering, but I don’t believe I have a specific style that I am known for, however people have told me in the past that I do. My work tends to be pretty clean and simple, and I get a lot of inspiration from 1970’s psychedelic artwork and advertising from that period.
I’ve been known to post a lot of pieces directly from my sketchbook, and I enjoy challenging myself to make a piece without the use of tracing paper. It’s really a medium but I suppose you can call it a “presentation style”.
3. What’s your educational background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I’ve been in and out of art classes for almost my entire life, taking lots of summer art programs and workshops in my teenage years. I went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, and a minor in Product Design at Drexel University. The GD program had a heavy focus on typography and I was lucky enough to take an advanced lettering course in my senior year with Professor John Langdon. That class got me totally hooked.
After that I moved back to New York and apprenticed for a short while under a few traditional sign painters. I continue to attend workshops and take online courses to sharpen my skills, and now I am starting to teach others the skills I’ve been working to master. It’s been super rewarding so far.
4. Preferred tool(s) and medium?
Pencil and paper are my go-to materials for the majority of my work. After that I typically use ink, chalk or paint, depending on the project. I also recently started sketching on the iPad pro and Apple Pencil, and I am liking it more than I thought I would.
I always love experimenting with different tools and mediums – sometimes I will even use 3-dimensional objects to make up the lettering piece – really whatever is is appropriate for the concept. Limiting yourself to one medium for too long is a recipe for burnout.
5. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
I’m really into extreme sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, as well as cycling and yoga.
Besides that, I take a trip once a year to a new place that I’ve never been before, for at least 10 days. Traveling is the ultimate investment in yourself, and I believe you can see the world even on a tight budget.
The last trip I went on was to India for my friend’s wedding just last month. While I was down there, I had the opportunity to paint a mural focused around social issues, which was a pretty impactful experience.
6. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.
Here’s a confession: I am partially colorblind. For this reason, (among others) I keep a heavy focus on working with letterforms in black and white, and only work with color if necessary. The colorblindness actually doesn’t affect me as much as it used to, but my friends still make jokes about it!
Thanks for taking the time to share your story, Eric!