We met up with Grace Frösen at her Cambridge studio to film an Instagram Live stream. We talked about her work, saw her ridiculous pen collection and discussed how the Procreate app has helped develop her from hobbyist letterer to the professional typographer she is today. You asked questions to us live and we answered them! In cased you missed them, here they are.
What are you using in your videos?
GF: The iPad pro is the 12.9 inch model and I use the Apple pencil (it’s wrapped in a skin to make it look like a real pencil) The software is, of course, Procreate.
What is Procreate?
Procreate is an illustrative app designed to help creatives design with their iPads. It allows you to create sketches, paintings, and illustrations wherever you are. It is available for $9.99/£9.99/€9.99 in the app store.
How long have you been using Procreate?
GF: I first downloaded Procreate in January 2016. Before that I was writing calligraphy in traditional methods and had no experience in digital software whatsoever. Not getting my head around the Adobe package I downloaded Procreate and taught myself. Fast forward 2 years and here we are!
How do you do you create your Ombre calligraphy style I’ve seen in your videos?
Are Procreate files Illustrator files?
What are the brushes like on Procreate and where can I get new brushes?
GF: Procreate comes with a ton of brushes but if you want to add anymore you can usually find more by googling. Karin at iPadLettering makes amazing brushes and I highly recommend you add them to your collection!
Is it easy to make brushes for Procreate?
GF: Although I have never made a Procreate brush, I have watched tutorials about how to make them and it looks like a straightforward process. Installing the fonts to your app is very straightforward too!
Can you turn off the sensitivity of the auto-correct style that’s going on with your lines?
GF: The sensitivity of the smoothness setting on the app can be changed to your requirements.
Can I get Procreate on Android?
Can you keep your palm on the screen and still type?
GF: Yes! The iPad doesn’t register your palm which means that you can write just as you would traditionally on pen and paper.
How easy is it to go from one brush setting to another and then back to the first one?
GF: Very! You can save brush settings so switching from one setting to another is really simple. It means that if you are creating a piece with multiple styles it is really easy to switch between.
What tips would give to someone who wants to be able to make their own typeface but has basically zero knowledge on how to?
GF: Just keep practicing. Everyone starts somewhere and eventually if you keep going you will start to see the results. When I first started I struggled to learn the digital software on the Adobe packages but soon after discover Procreate. The software allows me to create the projects that I want to at a really high standard. Soon I saw the results I was looking for and my work keeps progressing. I’m definitely not finished as a typographer and I am learning everyday!
What is the importance of social media to your work?
GF: Having a platform that I can share my work is why so many people have discovered my work. People like Ben at Typespire ensure that we have a platform to show our work on and allow us to grow. My followers will always tell me which of my work they prefer which means that I know when I am creating good work. This lets me develop in the right direction.
I notice the way some calligraphers really clutch their writing tool with the thumb wrapped around. Is that poor form adapted or a preferred hold for calligraphy?
GF: As a self-taught letterer, I have my own preferred way of writing. Sure there are ways that you are taught, and ways that help your work-flow, but I think it is important that you are comfortable working so if it means working in a way that is not considered ‘the correct way’ why not do it anyway!?
What did you do before you were a professional letterer?
GF: I was a school teacher! I taught English back home in the Philippines.
What are the perks of being a professional letterer?
GF: Since I left the Philippines, I moved to Finland as my husband is Finnish, and then to Cambridge, where I am now. Being a typographer has allowed me to work while I’ve travelled and put me in front of some amazing clients. I sell my work on etsy so I can be very flexible with my hours and where I am working from.