Hello ✎ Trappist Monk

Interview of an illustrator who’s in love with crazy vectors.

March 11, 2016

Ok, so… This week, we were quietly cruising on Instagram, like, you know… like when you are too busy to keep working… and then we fell on this dope:

What, WHAT!? Someone is actually using #Fontself Maker !!??? Gotta know who’s the crazy ba&%#rd who called his font ACAB & got a hold on our tool ;-) Luckily, we finally got in touch. Here’s what followed:

[Us] — Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you do as a creative? And how much does lettering have an impact on your work & lifestyle?

[Him] — Hi, my name is Julien aka Trappist Monk. I am a graphic designer based in Paris. My personal work is mainly composed of illustrations, cover art for music artists and maybe 10% of font design. I work with Corel Painter, Photoshop and Illustrator. I have started font design because I needed it personally. The first font that I made was for my own logo. I loved the final result so I wanted to create a full typeface. You can not ignore font design because a good message with a shitty font is useful. Same thing for a good illustration with a shitty typographic work.

I really love « thick » fonts. Blackletter with a lot of details if possible. I am inspired by tattoo art, west coast cholo style, graffiti handstyle, calligraphy, gothic lettering… but I have no limit for my creativity.

NOIRE font

- What previous experience did you have with font creation tools?

When I started to shape fonts, I used Illustrator for design and Fontlab to build it. I have always been frustrated because Fontlab is a complicated and heavy software with a lot of options. And especially, it’s not in Illustrator. You have to got two different softwares opened at the same time. Even if you can copy/paste your shapes from Illustrator to Fontlab. It is not really useful. I spent a lot time to adjust all of my fonts so that’s the mainly reason why font design is just a small part of my art. When I discovered Fontself, I immediately thought that it would help me to create faster. And it is really important for me because I hate spending too much time to create something. I need to bring it to live very quickly or I get tired of it and never finish it. I built ACAB this way.

DETER — a rather cryptic font by Trappist Monk
(us: look at ‘em lowercase, we iz in luv)BOMB — Blood On My Blade

- And how did you first learn about our project?

Three or four months ago, a friend of mine shot me a Kickstarter link. I watched the video demo and I immediately loved the concept. So I gave few bucks to support the project and patiently waited a release (yeah, we confirm, our Kickstarter backers have been pretty patient… & supportive).

Then, when it became available, I bought Fontself and two days after I created ACAB.

- Ok, so what about that ACAB font, how did you come up with this project? And what was your creative process, did you make any initial doodling, on paper or straight on the computer?

Basically, ACAB was just a test. I wanted to test the plug-in, so I decided to do what I love most: an agressive, blackletter, massive font. Something that I would love to see painted on an old dirty brick wall during a riot. That’s why I called it ACAB (nothing personal). That’s the concept.

ACAB — All Colors Are Beautiful (… I tell you, we love this guy =)
{Background photo - copyright Josefine Stenudd}

Then I created A, B and C uppercase with the pen and some basic geometric shapes in Illustrator. In this case, I loved the result so I keep designing other letters and numbers. I always start a font creation with uppercase A,B and C first, then numbers, at the end lowercase if I really love the font that i am making. ACAB is an uppercase only font available for free but I will probably complete it with a lowercase version.

I always make my fonts or any other artwork straight to computer. Nowadays, the rendering qualities of graphic software gives me the same visual feeling that when working on a piece of paper. I skipped that step a long time ago in order to gain time.

- What would a killer capability that you would love to have in any creative software?

Actually, existing tools already allow you to do a lot of things. Creativity is the true limit. But a unique and LIGHT software that allows you to do EVERYTHING could be cool. A mix between Painter / Photoshop / Illustrator for me with cool plug-ins like Fontself.

- Anything else you’d like to say?

You can check my art and my fonts on my website www.trappist-monk.com. Some are free, some are not. I am also o Instagram.

Keep creating guys and buy this plug-in, it helps a lot !

(Note: we didn’t bribe the Trappist Monk to say that… really! But, … you know, since Julien is really advising you to do so, you should now just go ahead and check Fontself Maker — our super fun & easy tool to create fonts in Illustrator).

PS: Many thanks Julien for allowing us to post this interview. And you, dear reader, right after you recommend this article, go check out Trappist Monk’s website, it’s got really great illustrated portraits and unique typefaces!

PS1: Hey ❤︎ reader, do you know a creative talent who would deserve to get under the spotlight? You know, like, not a big lettering superstar but a hidden gem, the type of person who’ll do wonders in his/her basement but doesn’t get much exposure yet. If so, please let us know, we’d love to hear about her/him & send him/her a copy of Fontself Maker. Who knows, she/he might enjoy it…

PS2: This is our very first user story, so if you have any comment, feel free to select the text of interest/debate and comment as needed. Thx!

PS3: That’s about it for today, now get back to work ;-)

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