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An Interview with Cindy Guentert-Baldo

March 3, 2020

Cindy Guentert-Baldo is a multi-talented lettering artist, teacher, and content creator. She hosts a lettering tutorial series on YouTube called Llamas Love Lettering and has a fabulously uncensored website and social media presence. We sat down with Cindy to learn more about her creative process, the inspiration behind Cute Hand Lettering, and her advice for creatives just starting out. If you want to learn how to letter like Cindy Guentert-Baldo, pick up a copy of Cute Hand Lettering today!

Tell us a little about your background. What inspired you to start hand lettering?

I’ve always been a fan of playing with my handwriting – I learn best by taking notes and I would spend a lot of time rewriting my notes, color coding, all of the things. I’ve also always been an artist, but I hadn’t found the medium that really resonated with me. About 15 years ago I was working at a Trader Joe’s grocery store and there was an opening in their sign artist department. (Each TJ’s has in store artists to do all of their shelf and display signs!) I had neat handwriting and some drawing ability, so I was able to jump at the opportunity. Once I got started, I realized how important hand lettering was to that job, and I got off and running!

What was your biggest challenge starting your YouTube channel/online platforms?

I didn’t think anyone would care about what I had to say!

What advice would you have for other creatives starting out in our social media driven world?

Be yourself. It doesn’t matter how good your creative work is – there is a ton of great creative stuff already out there. People connect with people, so be yourself and have fun!

Cindy's workspace

You are explicitly yourself on your website and social media platforms. How do you stay true to yourself and your craft.

I’m terrible at acting. Any time I try to be someone else, it’s both cringey and transparent. I’m most comfortable with just being myself, doing what feels right to me, and trying to make honest and real connections with the people who follow me. I spend a lot of time flying by the seat of my pants, but that’s who I am – I don’t know how to do it any other way!

What was your biggest inspiration behind Cute Hand Lettering?

I’ve always really enjoyed seeing that spark of confidence in someone who was convinced they’d never be able to hand letter. My hope was that anyone who was scared to try could pick up this book and feel like they made progress.

What was your favorite and least favorite part of creating Cute Hand Lettering?

My favorite part was holding it in my hand when it was done. That was a TRIP! My least favorite part was being up against the final deadline while also having an upcoming surgery looming. I was really stressed out.

Could you give us a breakdown of your process for writing the book? How much research went into writing it, etc.?

Honestly, when I went into this project I had no idea what I was in for. Thankfully my editor and team helped me really map the book out ahead of time so I could set up pages and knock them down. Most of the deep thinking and research happened at the very beginning – when I actually started writing I was about 90% certain of what the book would be. The biggest hurdle for me was translating how I teach in-person to the page. Figuring out how to communicate different ideas or motions would stump me for quite some time!

If you had to choose one style of lettering from the book, what would you choose and why? (Yes, I know this is a difficult question for you!)

Bubble letters! When I first figured out how to do them back in my sign artist days, almost every single sign I worked on had bubble letters on it for months. I was that excited. To this day, they make me smile whenever I use them! I know modern calligraphy is the king of the internet right now but I swear, bubble letters will be trendy at some point.

What's next in your career after Cute Hand Lettering? Do you have anything in the pipeline or perhaps something that you've dreamed of accomplishing?

This past year was a year of firsts for me. I wrote the book, opened an Etsy shop selling watercolor art prints, and began teaching on Skillshare. This year I hope to build on all of these things while also prioritizing my health. And, of course, I hope to write a second book someday!

Find Cindy online: Website | Instagram | YouTube

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