Jaclyn Florescio, owner of Yellow & Lace, details why she enjoys hand lettering as a form of art and how working in a shared space inspires her.
By Sharael Kolberg
Artist Jaclyn Florescio has always loved creating and, in modern times, it’s only natural that technology would play a role in that. In an interesting twist, it’s the digital realm that led her to a career in calligraphy and hand lettering in the first place.
Using the digital drawing app Paper on her iPad, she started making cartoons and illustrating short stories to share with the children she worked with at her job as a behavioral therapist. Eventually, Florescio decided to study illustration at Fullerton College. “When I was little, I was … [always] staring at the drawings in books,” she says. “It’s a nostalgic feeling. When illustrations are paired with words, it helps people visualize what they’re reading.”
Now, Florescio produces fanciful art focused on letters for her one-woman design company Yellow & Lace. From wedding invitations and signage to personal stationery, her creations, all made by hand, are vibrant, colorful treasures that combine creativity, storytelling and stunning aesthetics. Read on to learn more about her passion for this dying art form.
How did you first learn about hand lettering?
Jaclyn Florescio: When I would go to the Philippines as a little kid, I would see businesses’ information hand painted on vehicles. I was impressed that somebody had the ability to write perfectly by hand. I thought you could only do that with a computer. Little did I realize that fonts that we use today were hand drawn first.
What inspired you to try your hand at lettering and calligraphy?
I write pretty decently and thought maybe I should try it out because it was becoming popular on invitation designs, which I was interested in doing. I was trying to teach myself through observing other people’s writing and trying to emulate it and understand how they did it. Then my friend handed me a book on calligraphy and said, “I think you’d really like this.”
Why do you think hand lettering is significant?
It adds a personal touch. … It feels like there’s a person behind the product, not just a computer. … Think about people writing you a letter—it’s one of a kind and made just for you. Handwritten things give you a sense of history. There’s a story behind people’s penmanship and the weight of the writing.
What types of hand lettering projects do you do?
My work has shifted from invitations to seating charts and wedding signage. Outside of weddings, I also do artwork for pop-ups, small businesses [and] restaurants. Lately, I’m focused on doing live art at events as a form of entertainment.
Do you ever create any illustrations?
For invitations, I illustrate a lot of venues. Couples want an image of the venue that they’re getting married at. I’m known for doing scenery and portrait illustrations. I painted portraits on wine bottle labels for Oscar De La Hoya’s birthday party. … I’ve also done hand-drawn illustrations for websites and signage.
What is your process like and what materials do you use?
I’ll set up a consultation followed by a proposal and then execute the project. I use mainly watercolor, acrylic paint, chalk markers … and ink.
What is it like working in the Sourced Collective co-working space amongst other creative types?
It’s amazing. It’s motivated and disciplined me. When you work for yourself, it can get lonely, especially if you’re working from home. It’s easy to not have structure. Having a destination to go to—especially a creative and inspiring one—and having officemates who are working toward … their own goals is a motivator.