Interview: Jessica Hische - Daily Drop Cap

Jessica Hische is making a drop cap (oversized letter used at the beginning of written works) every workday until she finishes 12 full alphabets…

How often did you make similar creative work before “Daily Drop Cap”?
Illustrative type is definitely something I do very often for clients, but this project was more of an excuse to experiment / challenge myself to not always work in the same style.
On average how much time are you spending on each piece?
Between 20 minutes and 2 hours depending on how crazy my schedule is on a given day.
What did you expect to get from this experience?
I was initially just hoping it would be a great way to stay motivated when work was slow, but I didn't expect it would get so much press and praise online. This project ended up making so many more people aware of me and my work and I would say it has launched my career in a way. I was busy and getting work before, but I was definitely not as well known before this project.

What have you learned about yourself in the process of doing this?
I learned a lot about keeping on a schedule. Ever since I left my day job and became full time freelance, it's been tough to wrangle my workweek and stay on task. This project helped me realize that if you set times each day to do specific things, it's much easier to get things done / not waste the day on one project. You have to give yourself mini deadlines throughout the day.
How do you stay inspired?
Really it's knowing that so many people read the Daily Drop Cap site that keeps me inspired. I feel terribly guilty when I miss a day and make up for it the next day.
In what ways did doing a year-long project transform your life?
Probably in more ways than I even know. One thing that has been wonderful is that because the project received so much attention at first, when I meet other designers / people in the industry and introduce myself they generally know of me. This makes the hugest difference in interacting with art directors and being able to just show up to design events and not be the one standing in the corner afraid to talk to strangers.
Do you think you will ever commit to doing another yearlong project?
I think so, but probably not within a few years of completing this project. I didn't really realize how much doing something every day would affect your life. Even if it only takes 5 minutes to do, it's still a major life change (Imagine taking two showers a day every day, even though it takes less than 10 minutes, it would make quite a difference in your life).
Any advice for people considering starting their own year-long project?
Pick something that you already enjoy doing in some way. If you're trying out something completely new, the chances of you stopping the project midway are much higher I think. Makes sure whatever you do takes you an hour or less, for the most part, per day. Twenty minutes doesn't seem like a lot when you're working for 11 hours on another project, but when it's 2am and you're about to go to sleep but you can't because you still have to do your "thing a day", you'll be happy that thing doesn't take 2 hours to do.

Jessica Hische is a typographer and illustrator working in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Tyler School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design, she worked for Headcase Design in Philadelphia before taking a position as Senior Designer at Louise Fili Ltd. While working for Louise, she continued developing her freelance career, working for clients such as Tiffany & Co., Chronicle Books, and The New York Times. In September of 2009, after two and a half years of little sleep and a lot of hand-lettering, she left Louise Fili to pursue her freelance career further. Jessica has been featured in most major design and illustration publications and she was named Lettercult's Person of the Year 2009.

1 comment:

Azurafae said...

I love being able to see all the different drop caps. I've loved type setting since I got to tour the history of printing area at the newspaper my dad worked at. I love that she is still using an old art form in such a creative way.