Passion For Her Craft Drives Aline Kaori

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

Hi everyone! My name is Aline Kaori and I am a freelance calligraphy and lettering artist based in São Paulo, Brazil. 

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

Drawing has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid, and it only kept growing throughout the years. My interest in typography sprung somewhat early—in my high school/technician course in Multimedia I had a Graphic Design teacher who thankfully introduced us to the universe of type. I like to say that since then I’ve been “infected by the type bug”—and there’s for sure no turning back from that! haha. At that point, something inside of me clicked, and I just felt like I’d really found myself in making letterforms. 

Although I am currently a last year undergraduate Design student at Universidade de São Paulo (USP), throughout these past 6 years I have been practicing obsessively and taken numerous workshops on the side with local and international masters in calligraphy and lettering such as John Stevens, Julian Waters, Luca Barcellona, Ale Paul, and Cláudio Gil. 

I’m also really lucky to have a supportive and active letter arts community here in Brazil, something we owe to a combination between our local type designers and our predecessors and teachers of calligraphy as an art form: Andréa Branco and Cláudio Gil. I’m also stoked to be part of a newborn letter arts collective alongside Lygia Pires, Diogo Delog, and Guilherme Menga, in which we work on commercial and personal projects together, exchange ideas, studies and feedback, and keep pushing each other to practice and grow. The interactions that happen when you’re a part of a thriving community are something extremely invaluable for me, and they play a big part in keeping myself motivated and pushing the boundaries of my own work.

3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

Hard to pick…I’m not much of a stickler to specific tools, so I’d go with anything by hand. But I’ll say that any pencil and paper can do wonders if used just right 😉

One set of local tools that I can strongly recommend, though, are the Dreaming Dogs ruling pens, which are finely made in Brazil. The quality is unprecedented and the variety of results you can get with them makes exploring the possibilities of the tools all the more fun! They have an online shop and partnerships with international suppliers so they can be found worldwide too 🙂

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

I guess when you’re so passionate and obsessed about your craft like I am, in a way the craft itself is what keeps you sane and calms your soul. Calligraphy is a sort of meditation for me. When you’re writing, your thoughts, your feelings, your whole mindset pours through your movements and are echoed in your strokes. You need to be fully into that moment, present, focused, alive. 

Still, when my mindset is just not right or anxiety takes over, taking a walk outside alongside some good music really gives an energy boost and helps freeing the mind. I feel that when I’ve been working too long and I get stuck at some point or if there’s something I just can’t get right, the best remedy is a good night of sleep and a fresh pair of eyes. When I wake up the next day I’m much more energized and ready to tackle the problem through a different angle.

Having a supportive community is also important because you can always get someone else’s perspective on your work. Sometimes we’re working on something for so long or so focused on the details that we lose sight of the bigger picture. So having another set of eyes that are unbiased can be really helpful and positive for the work. 

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

Lately I’ve been revisiting drawing other things than letterforms, and trying to figure out ways of fusing letters and illustration in my work (which, for some unbeknownst reason to me, are two passions that have been disconnected throughout all this time). This has motivated my year-long final project at university, a research about the ins and outs of this integration and the elements at play in the process. The end goal is to come up with exercise proposals based on my findings through interviews, case studies and analysis of works that fuse letterforms and illustration seamlessly. I’m really excited about it, and hope to share it with the community next year when it’s done! 

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