Welcome to my Meet the Maker series where I get a chance to chat with makers who inspire me.
Today I introduce you to Joke of The Green Nib, a vegan lettering artist and designer based in the Netherlands. She creates unique, original letterforms and designs to help you sparkle with your story. This ranges from cards and logos to murals, window drawings and more.
What’s your why?
Lettering has always helped me to feel better and I would like to give back through my lettering; to spread some kindness and happiness into the world and I hope that my message resonates with others, to know you’re not alone. I love to make people smile through my lettering; to make the world a little bit happier and nicer. Good vibes 🙂
Who or what are your biggest artistic influences?
There are so many! But to name a few: Typism, Lauren Hom, Martina Flor, Natalie (Threeologie), Aurelie Maron, Pieter Snijders (Bold Statements), Hayley Barry (Type Affiliated), Jim & Tea (ShoutBam) and so many more.
In the Early Days
How and when did you get started in your craft?
As far as I know, I’ve been drawing my whole life. When I was 12, I designed a little booklet for my parents’ wedding anniversary; I decorated the cover with flourishes and script letters. Of course, back then, I had no idea that this is called lettering. As I grew older, I kept drawing, making Birthday cards and party labels and participated in several lettering challenges. Then, people asked me to create cards and other designs for them. Wow, that was amazing. I wanted to do more with this and took several calligraphy and lettering courses, which led me to start my creative business, The Green Nib in 2020.
How did you come up with your creative business name?
I eat plant-based and try to be as environmentally conscious as possible in all that I do, that’s where the ‘green’ part comes from. The ‘nib’ refers to my calligraphic background and to indicate my biz is into letters. And I just think it’s a cute word hehe. Also, I studied English and wanted a biz name that would make sense internationally as well :).
Stop Saying I Wish, Start Saying I Will
A quote by Charles Dickens. I’m a big fan of him and I actually wrote my thesis on him and A Christmas Carol. This piece is from when I just started my business; I created it as homework for the awesome Chalk Lettering course by Aurelie Maron (I used her brushes, they are amazing). The piece reminds me to keep working on it and go for it. Also, when I look back, of course I would change things in the piece but that’s just it; it shows my progress and it motivates me 🙂
It was so much fun to create this motivational quote! I loved every step of the process and the client was fantastic. The idea that this piece is still on someone’s wall in their home gym to motivate them, that just makes my heart smile!
The pieces you selected as your favourite pieces of my work (thank you thank you!) are actually also some of my favourite pieces. From those three, the ‘Funky Lettering’ piece is my favourite. It was for my weekly lettering challenge, and the brief was 70s vibe. I love the shapes and colours. It’s so fun! Actually, I love the playfulness of all three pieces 🙂
What does a typical creative session look like for you?
I keep a list of ‘Things to Letter’, on which I have all sorts of cool/interesting/inspiring quotes I heard or read. When I start, I either am on the sofa or at my desk, grabbing my iPad or pencil and sketchbook. It all depends on the mood I’m in because I like analog and digital equally. I then look at my ‘Things to Letter’ list and pick the quote I like for that moment. I put on some nice ‘Flow’ music (or a ‘binge worthy’ series on Netflix), have a mug of tea and some pieces of chocolate at the ready and I’m good to go.
Do you have a daily practice? What or how do you practice?
I try to sketch daily around the same time to get the routine in. This is usually on the sofa after dinner. I have my own challenge which is a weekly challenge (52 Weeks of Lettering), to keep me accountable to practice different styles and use the materials I have. So one week I practice a Western style lettering, another week it’s serif lettering.
Describe your favorite place to work in while creating.
Again, the sofa hehe. And my own studio is lovely too, though I’m looking forward to decorating it some more. Get some more colour in there. But yes, either place work for me, but my studio has all the materials out in the open, which really helps with just getting started. When I create on the sofa, I first have to think of all the tools I might need. You’ll see me carrying all sorts of tools back and forth, LOL.
What advice would you give your younger self about your creative path?
Explore more and be you. Focus on you. Don’t look (too much) at what others are doing and enjoy the things you’re doing. Plus, give yourself time.
What kind of artistic challenges have you overcome or are working through now?
What an amazing question! I would say that I am trying to find my own artistic voice. The struggle to not get overwhelmed by all the amazing artists and successful creatives out there; it’s real. Who am I? What is the message I would like to convey? And, is this really what I feel or is it something I do to be ‘socially accepted’? Being open about this is challenging. Mental health is a big theme for me and I’m finding more and more my wish / voice to create awareness around that and to support others.
What is your method for getting out of a creative rut?
Taking a walk through nature! I live close by the water and whenever I’m stuck, which happens every so often, I go outside and walk (without earphones in) for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, I’m usually refreshed and inspired. Also, with my list of ‘Things to Letter’, I usually have something to letter. When writing the quote / sentence down first, I can brainstorm ideas that come up, write those down as well. That also helps.
This or That
Cats or Dogs? Neither… I used to be a dog lover because I’m a little bit afraid of cats. But last year, I got jumped by a huge dog so now I’ve gotten a bit afraid of dogs too. Unfortunately.
Coffee or Tea? Tea!
Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl!
Tator Tots or French Fries? French Fries, yum!
Messy or Tidy? Well, I try to be tidy to create some order in the chaos in my mind hehe.
Fast Food or Health Food? Healthy fast food? But tbh, fast food…
Calling or Texting? Texting (WhatsApp for the win!)
Couch Potato or Fitness Fiend? Couch Potato…
Candy Corn: Yes or No? I had to look this up but they look delicious! I love sweets!
Do you have any hidden talents or skills not directly related to your creative career?
I can Hula-hoop for 30 minutes (both sides). LOL.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would love to heal mental illness. And fly.
What kind of hobbies or interests do you have or want to spend more time on?
Lettering more personal projects and learning more techniques. Also, I love to read, walk and play with my nephews.
Please share all the ways people can find and admire your work.
You can find me on www.thegreennib.nl where I have my portfolio, blog and more.
On the socials, I am mostly active on Instagram: @the_green_nib but you can also find me on Facebook: @thegreennib.nl. I am probably going to try Pinterest sometime later this year 😉
Joke was fun to interview, she turned the tables on me a few times and asked me some thought-provoking questions!
If you like this Meet the Maker interview, you can read about Jackie’s Comfort Cats and Artful Musings!