After A Hectic Day Handlettering To Decompress: Kristen De Palma

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

My name is Kristen, and my business name is KDP Letters. I’m based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada!


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

I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Media and Communication. I also have a Diploma in Web and Graphic Design. I’ve been working in marketing and graphic design both as a freelancer and as my full-time job for the past 10-ish years! I am a self-taught hand letterer – I had always admired hand lettering and just wasn’t sure how to get started. I attended a calligraphy workshop one day back in June 2015 and I’ve been hooked ever since.


3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

I love working with pencil and paper the most. I use a Leuchtturm 1917 hardcover sketchbook, a Staedler 4H pencil and Micron pens. I also am obsessed with my “Gel Xtreme” gold gel pen, which I use for many of the details in a lot of my work. I’m just starting to practice sign painting because of a workshop I took with Mike Meyer in Providence earlier this year – I totally admire sign painters and I hope one day I can add sign painting to my list of preferred mediums!


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

Hand lettering is actually my go-to for recharging – my day job involves a lot of meetings and work at my computer screen, so when I get home I usually can’t wait to open my sketchbook and get completely focused while working on a detailed lettering piece. Social interaction is the thing that drains me most, so lettering is always a welcome “me time” where I can mentally focus and be my true introverted self. While I’m working or out and about, I’m always looking at and studying the different letters and words that I see around me on signs, presentations, packaging (I’m lucky to work in the beverage alcohol industry and so beautiful labelling is everywhere!) so usually I already am inspired before I get the chance to start once I get home. If I’m feeling drained of any inspiration or ideas, which totally happens from time to time – usually some true crime TV show binging is my next go-to.


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

I don’t know how surprising this is, but I love animals much more than people. I have been obsessed with dogs since I was a kid, and I’ve been volunteering at my local animal shelter since I was 17 (I’m now 31) walking dogs and taking photos of the adoptable animals to help them find homes. I’ve traveled to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah to volunteer at Dogtown (this heavenly place exists!!) as well as interned at the Animal Farm Foundation in New York. I have a particular love of pitbulls because they get such a bad rap and they’re the best dogs – one of my dogs Hercules is a pitbull, and they are pretty much the only thing that I am so passionate about that I will defend them til the end – even if it means participating in the downward spiral of an online comment thread. I also have 2 tattoos of pitbulls!