Letter News Newsletter
Forging a Force of Freelancers
freelance poster
The first group I located and  joined when I moved to Kansas City a few years ago was the Freelance Exchange (KCFX). What a great idea: a group of local independent creatives--writers, photographers, designers, etc.--who meet for lunch and an informative presentation once a month, and which offers online portfolios, annual awards, and more.

So imagine my excitement when I saw the poster above for a
Freelancers Union on the New York subway a few weeks ago. When I got back to the hotel I went online, found there was no charge to join and signed up right away. It appears to be a politically active group, as well as providing information on things like group health insurance.

Freelancers Union

There are significant differences between the various organizations catering to the freelance artist and a lot of overlap as well. I've relied on the Graphic Artists Guild and their Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines for years. I've derived pricing, legal and contractual knowledge and, most important, backbone from them.

An even more amazing and valuable asset for the freelance artist that I recently discovered is a local resource: KCVLAA, Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts. KCVLAA is a nonprofit organization that provides pro bono legal and accounting assistance to qualifying artists and arts organizations from all creative disciplines. They have seminars in arts law to help artists avoid common pitfalls in their professional arts careers. If you don't qualify for their assistance, they provide referrals to professionals who are knowledgable in this area. I don't know of any colleagues who haven't been plagued by an increase of contracts, work-for-hire agreements (never in our favor) or who haven't had problems with copyrights, trademarks or licensing.

While an actual union of all the independent creative spirits is probably optimistic and perhaps impossible (I'm really not a joiner) we can certainly use all of the help we can get. The internet is a great resource for locating local groups such as these, as are the helpful people you meet through these organizations.


This great t-shirt is available from Freelancers Union (click on it!)

There's alot more of my lettering work
to be seen!
Luxe Papiere
Original lettering, logotypes, fonts
and more.
Take a look.
Issue 4             
Scorpio 2008 

Happy Halloween!

It's been great seeing a variety of Disney Fairies halloween costumes in the stores with Tinker Bell (no relation ;-)  and other copy set in my font Swank. The Fairies logotype features lettering I did for Disney as well. The Fairies line is vast: everything from color markers to movies. I sure wish they had cool costumes like this when I was a kid.
Swank (and Swank bold)                  Released by Monotype
After the people at Disney began to use my font Swank in the process of developing their Fairies line (above), the creative director looked for it's designer to create the lettering for their logotype as well. Nice way to get a job! Fairies is based upon Tinker Bell, her neighborhood and friends. It was an adventure going to the Disney studios and seeing their developmental process where rooms were filled with the various characters, their individual color palettes and habitats as well as all of the applications---a process I seldom am part of other than receiving a few comps or a brief via e-mail. It was an inspiring experience.
Zen sho, Zen show
John Stevens Dragon
In September I had the good fortune to take a Zen calligraphy workshop with one of my favorite people, John Stevens. I'd bought his book Sacred Calligraphy of the East when it first came out and plunged into making Siddham letters (I'd studied Sanskrit in college and knew a little about devanagari) and learning kanji. While I haven't continued those studies, a love of Buddhism sunk in and stayed. Shown here is a "dragon" John made during the workshop. Want to see mine? It's there on my site. Included are shots of some of the pieces by renown Zen calligraphers from the show that opened the same day there in the gallery at the Aiko Institute in Claremont, CA . They also have an online gallery, Budo Zen Art.
Sho is writing.
Note from Jill
I'm glad it's Halloween, my favorite holiday. I just re-watched the fabulous Rocky Horror Picture Show and have been singing this lyric to my very hopeful self during this not-so-hallowed election season. It's been pretty dismal last eight years...oh, if we could just do the time warp again ;-)

In the velvet darkness of the blackest night
Burning bright
There's a guiding star
No matter what or who you are...
There's a light,
There's a light,

There's a light in the darkness of everybody's life.

Get out and vote!


Back issues archived online
Letter News Newsletter

Issue 1   A Little Drama in Letters: the Clay Cart
Custom Fonts, Zapf's Archives, Robert Rauschenberg
Issue 2   Saavy Swoap: Stephen Swoap Studio
Tattoo Typography, Rongo Rongo, Morley Music Manual, The Daily Heller, The Type Studio, Mark Making
Issue 3   Fall Arrives: Random House Fall Catalog
Gigi, Madalena Showcards

Jill Bell Brandlettering provides distinctive,
one-of-a-kind lettering solutions
tailored to your individual needs.