With a confident hand Tofer Flowers explores a range of lettering styles. Did I mention he is self-taught? We’re thankful Tofer took time from his work and family to answer a few questions for Lettering Guy.
1. Your name and title/business name?
The name of my business is Tofer Flowers Design. It’s not so much a business as it is a little freelance work I do on the side after my day job. (I do graphic design during the day at a church here in Albuquerque, NM)
2. Do you have a specialty or special style that makes you relatively unique? If so, what?
I don’t know that I have a special “style”. I like to draw inspiration from many places and like infuse those influences into the work that I do. I don’t want too much of my work to all look the same, I like variety. I guess my flexibility is what makes me relatively unique.
3. What’s your educational background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I studied communication and advertising at the University of New Mexico. There were a few basic design classes and fine art courses sprinkled in during my time in college, but most of my design knowledge has been self-taught. The lettering work I do (for the most part) was completely self-taught. I really began attempting lettering about a year ago and have been posting the work to Instagram ever since.
I guess you could argue that I began lettering when I was in high school. I didn’t know there was a name for drawing letters at the time, but I had notebooks full of lettered quotes, words and logos. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing or that money could be made from drawing letters, but I knew I enjoyed it. Plus it filled time in class when I was tired of taking the teachers notes.
4. Preferred tool(s) and medium?
The tool I use almost all of the time is a mechanical pencil. I have used water color before and some others, but nothing feels as good as the pencil. I actually started lettering with a ball point pen. It forced me to really think about how I was going to do what I wanted to do before I put pen to paper. It trained me to work with my mistakes and when I switched to pencil it became that much easier.
5. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
Recharging the creative battery has always been a challenge for me. Sometimes you just run out of gas and have to figure out how to refuel. Recently, I have been taking up a boxing class and that has been an awesome release and something completely different from what I am used to doing. It helps me just clear my mind. I love using design blogs to gain inspiration. Even though I don’t “break the rules” as much as I would like to, I really enjoy design work that pushes the limit of what we think we should do.
6. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.
I don’t know how shocking it is, but I love sports. I love the stories sports provides and it’s always new. There is always something to look forward to and someone to love and someone to hate in sports. It’s just fun. A little more about me… I have two children who are absolutely amazing and I am so lucky and blessed to have them in my life. My four-year-old son was playing with the magnet letters we have on our fridge and he noticed that by connecting two letters he could create another letter in the negative space. It was a very big moment for me haha.