Caroline Lee


Hand Lettering/Graphic Design

Favourite song being played on repeat: 

10000 Emerald Pools by BØRNS 

How’d you get started in hand-lettering? 

Hand-lettering began as a creative outlet when I was going through depression in high school due to the confines of traditional Asian education which forced me down a path I couldn’t get out of. I’d always loved expressing my thoughts through writing, but I felt like it was lacking something. I just started doodling some song lyrics (which I still do), giving them a typographic layout, and slowly got better at it throughout the years. I didn’t even know hand-lettering was a thing when I first started! I’ve never been very consistent at other things, but I continued lettering because it made me happy and gave me a sense of purpose. 

Tell us a bit about your creative process! What influences or inspires your work? 

I’m not going to lie, doing this for so many years and not really getting anywhere much has definitely taken a toll on my creativity. However, when I need a kick (which is pretty often), I always go back to basics and start with quotes from song lyrics, poems or movies because words always motivate me to create. Sometimes I look at other artist’s works that have a style similar to mine on Instagram or Pinterest and take note of how they execute their piece. I try to apply the same techniques to my work, but I never blatantly copy. Typically, I go from thumbnail sketches to the actual sketch, then inking and adding finishing touches. 

What do you love most about creating? 

I’d say creating gives me a therapeutic feeling and allows my restless mind to wander while my hand keeps at work creating beautiful things. It lets me tune out of my life when I need to and just do what I want. Being able to share my work with the world is also a plus. 

Favourite project that you’ve worked on so far? Why? 

If I had to choose, I’d say my favourite is a commission for a non-profit Baha’i organisation in Singapore. I was hired to design a hand-lettered quote that would be printed on posters and merchandise. It read “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”. I loved it because it pushed me out of my comfort zone of just drawing with pen and paper as I had to further digitise the artwork. I was also pleasantly surprised at how well my drawings behind the lettering turned out as I wouldn’t consider myself very good at drawing. It gave me the confidence I needed to start implementing more graphic elements into my lettering. However, looking back there are definitely things I would have done differently. 

What does the future hold for you? Do you have any special projects you’re excited about? 

I’m definitely excited about some career-based new year goals that I’ve set for myself, which includes revamping my current logo and finally creating a professional business card for myself. Hopefully I’ll also be able to set up an online shop and sell some of my work as passive income soon, but at the moment uni work and building up my portfolio definitely still comes first. 

Got anything you just want to share with the world?

Because I’m not the best at concentrating, I seem to want to do lots of things at once and expect results on all of them. But I’m trying to make myself focus on hand-lettering and design for now, and not take up other unrelated projects I want to do. I’m learning to prioritise my work until I have a stable future and not take social media numbers so personally, which has always been a struggle for me. I guess I just wanted to say that I will keep on doing what I love regardless of what other people (and the darned Instagram algorithm) thinks, and I encourage other creatives to never stop loving what they do as well! We will all get there eventually. A quote I always bear in mind is to never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle/ end because you never know what they’ve gone through to get there.