David Foster Wallace, Julia Child, Harriet Tubman, Leo Tolstoy and Socrates — they said a few quotable words in their lifetime. And they’re the kind of inspiring sentiments that you’re going to want on your coffee table, just in case you want to look at them everyday of your life.
And you’re definitely going to want to look at them once you see what Oakland, California-based illustrator Lisa Congdon has done with them. She’s done work for the likes of The Obama Campaign, the MoMa and Urban Outfitters. And now she’s released a new book of expressions, titled after an Abe Lincoln quote: Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.
You guys know how we like some good inspirational wall art, and we’re pretty keen on hand lettering as well, so we were super pumped when we saw that recently Chronicle Books published this collection, combining those two things from some of the most quotable writers, artists and thinkers ever.
We’ve featured Lisa’s artwork before in the best nursery art of all time, but in 2011, she decided she wanted to experiment more with hand lettering. Since practice makes perfect, she dedicated her blog, Today is Going to be Awesome, to one new piece for the entire year — all 365 days. In fact, it was even called 365 Days of Hand Lettering.
She started with simple letters, maybe a word or two here and there. Once she had a few posts under her belt, she eventually started peppering in quotes. And those got big responses from her followers, like whoa. Huge. People were roused by the combo of her work and uplifting quotes — that’s what Lisa heard from the emails that came pouring in after each hand-lettered and illustrated quote was published on her blog. So she changed her focus and started dedicating all 365 days to words of wisdom from wise men and women. And the people rejoiced. And Lisa developed a special font (you can buy on MyFonts for $38). And Chronicle Books took note and approached Lisa about publishing 100 of her favorites.
The impossibly charming and timeless quotes on how to live well, combined with impossibly charming illustrations, can be sitting in your home for $15. Not into tangible books anymore? Oh you know, you can get what’s basically a modern-day “Calendar of Wisdom” in tablet form for under a tenner.
And if you’re crushing on Lisa as hard as we are, (Fangirl Alert!) you’ll want to buy some of her prints on her Etsy shop. All run between $18-36.
Got a quote that inspires you? Lay down those words of wisdom in the comments below.