Julie Wildman: her lively and gestural letters

I stumbled upon Julia Wildman in LinkedIn. Her work ranges from contemporary and elegant calligraphy to freeform letters. Julia talks about her path into the letter arts.

1. Name & Business Name

Julie Wildman, Wildman Designs

2. My Special Style

My special style is pointed brush, although I love all sorts of lettering–both traditional and non-traditional. I do tend more toward the gestural, livelier type of lettering.


3. My background:

Graduating in 1987 with a BA in graphic design from Columbia College in Chicago, I began my career with a small design firm and worked
there until I went on my own as a freelance graphic designer in 1995.

In 1998, I had the privilege of taking a year-long master class with world-renown calligrapher Reggie Ezell, thus beginning a passion to make beautiful letters. That passion continued when I became a member of the Chicago Calligraphy Collective (CCC), a group of professional and amateur lettering artists whose desire is to promote the “art of beautiful writing.”

Through the CCC, I have studied with numerous artists and calligraphers, and have exhibited my art in their All Members’ Shows, as well as the juried shows at the Newberry Library in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. In 2007 and 2014, my pieces titled “Psalm 117” and “An Alphabet Book” respectively, both won the Newberry’s Purchase Prize Award and are now in their permanent collection. My work has also been purchased by private collectors.

I’ve had some work published in the 2011 and 2012 Annual Juried Issues of Letter Arts Review, an internationally-recognized and award-winning publication for calligraphers and lettering artists. And my article titled “An Alphabet Book” was featured in the Volume 11, Number 4 of Bound & Lettered, a magazine for artists’ books, bookbinding, papercraft and calligraphy.

I began teaching calligraphy in 2003 and since then have been actively promoting lettering through various community organizations and schools in the Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana area, and as of 2014, have begun teaching in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.


4. Preferred tools and medium

Pointed brush, ruling writer, “cola” pens and other unusual tools such as seashells and pens made from broom bristles. I use sumi and walnut inks, gouache, watercolor, colored pencils, and whatever else interests me at the time–or fits the project.


5. How do I recharge?

Time alone in prayer, or just walking quietly through the woods. I believe that God is the magnificent Creator of the universe and that He loves to express Himself in and through His creation. And all that I have I owe to Him, so I love to share what He’s given me with others. Sharing my talents through teaching others totally energizes me. I love to learn, so when I teach, I feel that I am also a student.

I love to hike at the Indiana Dunes with my husband and son, and go on long bike rides with my husband. And when I can get to them, I LOVE hiking in the mountains.


6. Something that would surprise or delight:

I am a tea fanatic. Long ago when coffee became all the rage, I fell in love with GOOD tea after a trip to the U.K. Basically, I was ruined. Ever since, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect cup of tea. And I love to host Afternoon Tea parties.

Also, at 50 years old, I started taking Taekwondo. Have been doing it for over a year now and I love it!