Little Artist Series / Joanna Walters 

Welcome to our Little Artist Series, a little blog where we take a deeper dive into the art and artists we love dearly. 

Next up: Joanna Walters!

Joanna is an artist from New York that we recently had the pleasure of discovering! She has trusted us with her beautiful designs and we will be releasing two of them as pins later this week (YAYYYY!). But first, we wanted to introduce you to the girl behind the talent. If you are unfamiliar with her work now is a great time to look up what she creates! Go ahead, we will wait right here while you check her out… 

Instagram :@jopeydopes  Red Bubble: www.redbubble.com/people/jopeydopes

Isn’t she great? We love her typography so much, and the messages she shares are even better (if that’s possible!). I (Amy) am also a huge sucker for color so Joanna sure knows how to grab her attention! 

Joanna's Wood Carvings

Now that you know the work, let’s talk to the artist and learn more about her and her process! 

Joanna, thank you so much for being on our blog! Jason and I are both so thrilled that we came across your Instagram and now we are collaborating together! We have so many questions for you so let’s dive right in!

LSoP: When we look at your work we can totally tell that you have a love for lettering. How did you first get into typography?

Joanna: I have been enamored with fonts since I was a kid making birthday cards set in Curlz MT on my dad's very old black and white Macintosh computer. I spent a lot of time doodling in high school, took a calligraphy class in college as an extracurricular, and then once Instagram made its way onto my smartphone, the endless source of inspiration out there got me hooked. What started as a hobby, lettering fluffy phrases like "treat yoself", turned into a kind of spiritual practice. I found that the process of drawing letterforms and creating compositions was incredibly calming and helped me meditate on meaningful words that helped me get through periods of struggle or growth. You can visit the 52-week project I completed back in 2018 for a very specific example of how the creative process helped me get through some tough times: joannawaltersdesign.com.

LSoP: How long does it usually take you to complete a piece from beginning to end?

Joanna: It really depends on the length of the quote and the final form factor. Some compositions come out exactly right in the first sketch, and sometimes it takes hours of drawing and erasing and redrawing and reconfiguring, all in a sketchbook. When I'm set on a composition, I usually carve it into wood. My first woodcut piece took about 6 hours to finish but by now I've got it down to a smooth science - usually only a couple hours of carving time.

LSoP: How do you like to create? Outside among the trees or maybe inside by a fire? What’s your perfect art nook look like?

Joanna: I love this question but unfortunately don't have a romantic answer. It's honestly usually after my daughter goes to bed, in front of the TV with 'The Office' on in the background, or just at my desk in stolen moments between conference calls.

LSoP: What influences your design choices? 

Joanna: This might sound weird, but my biggest influence is a good boundary. I have found that my compositions turn out better when I have literal walls to bounce off of, which is why my quotes are usually confined to, and aim to fill, either a circle or a rectangle. I'm a big believer that restrictions breed creativity so I find that limiting where my pencil goes often results in a better piece of work. I'm also very inspired by the work of Dan Lee (@dandrawnwords on Instagram) and many other brilliant lettering artists out there.

LSoP: We are super excited about turning your “Helpers” piece into an officially licensed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood pin, sticker and magnet (will be available soon - follow our Instagram stories to stay up-to-date on all of our new releases). Now that was a huge piece to carve! {see image above of her holding the sign} How long did this one take you and why did you choose this quote? 

Joanna: Ahh, this was a fun one, and definitely one of my favorite finished pieces to date. This piece was commissioned as a gift from the graduating class of 2019 to the faculty in the social work department at California University of Pennsylvania. It is now displayed in the lobby of the department. The quote was chosen by my cousin Anna, a Mr. Rogers-loving Pittsburgh native, who is pursuing her masters degree in social work at CalU. I think she made an excellent selection - who does more to help than social workers?!  

LSoP: We are also turning your “Brave” design and “This Too Shall Pass” design into pins as part of our new Mental Health Awareness series. Both of these pins will be available on our website August 19th. We will be donating 10% of the proceeds from your two designs to The Loveland Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about this organization and why you chose it?  

Joanna: I'm so grateful that two of my designs will be part of your Mental Health Awareness series, especially since my lettering practice began as a way to invest in my own mental health. One thing that I should have done, but didn't, was to seek professional counseling or therapy. I was embarrassed and thought that I didn't have a good reason to be depressed and that it was too expensive. I now know that these are absurd reasons to avoid seeking medical help, especially for mental health afflictions. That's why I'm particularly in awe of the work that is done by The Loveland Foundation. The Loveland Foundation makes it financially possible for Black women and girls to receive therapy support. We all deserve access to healing, and TLF is bringing that to a woefully underserved segment of society.

LSoP: Joanna, thank you SO MUCH again for being part of our blog series, and sharing your story and beautiful art with our audience. Your journey of self-discovery and healing through your own art is such a great lesson for us all. Our mental health is so so important and we must continue to talk about our struggles so we can continue to also talk about our triumphs. The quotes you have designed and carved not only helped you with your own demons, but will live on and help others overcome theirs. You are a beautiful light and thank you again for sharing your story. 

The Sun Will Rise and We Will Again

Please be sure to read Joanna’s blog about the 52 Week Art Challenge she did in 2018 to help her overcome her own struggles with depression, anxiety, miscarriages and (finally!) motherhood. If you or someone you know is suffering from any mental health issues, please know that you are not alone and there are things you can do to strengthen your mental health.

Share your love for Joanna and her art in the comments below. Be sure to tell us which designs of Joanna's you would love to see in a pin!

Check out these inspiring and uplifting accounts to follow!

Below are some Instagram accounts that help with overcoming your own anxiety and depression and can also motivate you out of the funk. Sometimes a simple quote while scrolling through your IG can lift you out of the fog and through to the other side. Please know that you are not alone and there are many people and support groups to help. Be well, everyone. 






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