On the road to learning about lettering: Ekaterina (Kate) Bakirova

1. ​What’s your name and title/business name? ​Where are you located, city, ​state, country?

Hi! I’m Ekaterina Bakirova, or just Kate. I am from Ufa, Russia — one of the few cities where [the] airport code and name are completely [the] same 🙂 

The Zeroth

This pic was completely drawn with Procreate app on iPad Pro

2. What’s your educational and professional background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?

I took some art classes for [a] short period of time [when] I was a child. Sometimes I regret that I didn’t study drawing properly. But I always loved to draw, write and craft.

I started to work as [a] web-designer in 2012 and was completely satisfied with my job, and then…

Then in early 2013, I saw a couple of videos on YouTube: one where TEOSONE aka Adam Klodecki did some magic with the pilot parallel pen, and another, where the man whose name I, unfortunately, forgot wrote copperplate calligraphy with an extremely flexible nib. I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep that night! The very next day I bought my first calligraphy starter kit at the nearest art shop and ordered the set of Pilot parallel pens online.

And this is how it all began. 

I kept buying new tools, tried every technique I could find anything about, and six months later got my first lettering job: to create a logo for a friend. I tried my best, I was so confident and assertive, but it was a total failure. I didn’t make anything that one could call a logotype, earned $10 for [my] effort (still thankful btw, any labor must be paid) and finally realized how many things I have to learn. Ha-ha, it’s so embarrassing to look at my old works it hurts 🙂 

So I started to work harder and even began 365 days of lettering project. Once I visited a workshop of Pokras Lampas, but there was nothing more about lettering/calligraphy in my town, and the Internet didn’t offer much back in those days, so it was the only class I got.

Most of the things I know about art and lettering I’ve learned by myself with the help from Youtube, Instagram and tons of patience. 

Practice Logo

Logo made for practice. Brushpen and Illustrator


3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

My all-time favorites are different kinds of brush pens, especially Zebra’s. They give you a lot of freedom and a very sharp line. I’ve tried a lot of different brushes: Pentel pocket brush, Pentel color brush, Faber Castell’s PITT, sable/squirrel/synthetic paintbrushes even IKEA markers. They’re all fine! Really, if you got the steady hand you can draw with any tool. Recently, I’ve won 10 pcs of Tombow ABT brush pens. Though they seem to be very nice, I haven’t tested them properly and here is why: I’ve got the iPad Pro just a month ago and it’s my second preferred medium!

I can understand why artists are so obsessed with it. I’m drawing every day and my Instagram profile is now back to life. I completely abandoned my offline calligraphy practice! Hopefully, I’ll be back soon — keep practicing is vital for any lettering artist.

And of course, I love Adobe Illustrator, for me, it’s an irreplaceable tool for logo design.

HOMwork Challenge

HOMwork challenge work, made with iPad Pro

4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?

For me, the best way to recharge is to stop drawing and maybe just play video games instead. Take a break and don’t feel guilty about it. I love to feel inspired, but it’s impossible when you pushing yourself to draw. 

When it’s just about taking some rest at the end of a tough week or a hard day, home spa works wonders for me! Clean the house, take a bath and finally use all those face masks. 

And of course, my family supports me: my husband always finds the words to encourage; my cat comes and purrs whenever I call 🙂 

Brushpen lettering

Brushpen lettering made during the journey. Written in Russian, it says “We are going home”

5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.

I am a PVE Balance Druid when I’ve got time.

Damage Dealers

DD is for damage dealers! Made with iPad pro

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