Little Slovak Stars With Great Sparks – Gabriel Melaga’s Hand Lettering
„Many people have told me I would never make a living with graphic design and that the Slovak market is not ready for it, but they were wrong. “
He has been interested in graphic design ever since he was little. Starting with a spray can in his hand he continued with drawing letters and graphical shapes on paper. He kicked off his business with designing logos for companies and ended up doing hand lettering. Gabriel Melaga. One of the sparks of Slovakia, which has the potential to burn very bright.
He had a clear reply to how he found his way to all of this: „I have always had a special liking for drawing and graphic design”. In high school he spent his monotonous lessons by sketching inside of his notebook. That had been a little starting point for his future in graphic design. As time passed by, his passion for graphic design grew. Gabriel started to draw different kinds of letters and graphic shapes on paper to step up his technique. „I did an online test about graphic arts one evening and it turned out I had a great sense for detail and that I would be suitable for creating hand lettering “. And that’s when it all began.
Gabriel read many books on this topic, kept on drawing for at least 4 hours daily and attended different courses specialized in hand lettering. The latest course he completed this year was oriented on theory of hand lettering. „I sat down to the lessons every single day and trained”, he says. He himself wanted to improve his skills and work as much as he could. He took pleasure in that kind of course, because he could communicate with the teacher directly and always got a feedback on his work. This way he could improve faster and more effectively.
Of course Gabriel’s way also had some thorns. In the very beginnings he came with an idea to promote his work in a creative way. „Since I was not very famous and advertisements costs some money, I decided to release my own advertisement papers to promote myself. “, Gabriel told me and laughed at my surprised expression. I had to admit, such kind of self-presentation is very brave and creative. „After some time people started to contact me and I got my first offers. “ Little by little his business started to work out.
Even though he still had to face some obstacles, Gabriel managed to gain the attention of some serious prospective clients for his work. Now he can afford to take only offers he finds attractive. „Quality is more important than quantity. I don’t want to be someone’s rival in prices, I will find something that is mine and will try to improve this something as much as I can. “That’s the philosophy Gabriel follows. His goal is to always rather learn something new and original than to copy the technique of others. That’s a very positive feature of his work. Whatever he does, he does it conscientiously and the result is a quality product.
And what does the whole process of creating a hand lettering look like? From the customer to the finished product. „Firstly, to see what the customer has in their mind they fill out a short questionnaire. “ Then Gabriel can start to work on the right font and other details of the given logo. Once he comes to an agreement with the customer on what the final design should roughly look like, he can finally start drawing. „I begin with faint lines and then draw more visible lines over them. “ Gabriel draws on fine carbon paper. He redraws his work multiple times until he is completely satisfied with the outcome. „The whole process of creating a logo can take four weeks“, he says.
It’s not an easy job. For hand lettering, it’s important to have a great sense for detail. „The straight line has to become gradually thinner, for example when you’re drawing a cross. “ People sometimes don’t realize how much effort he puts into his work. „When you’re drawing a straight line, you have to push the pen away from you “, advices Gabriel. He also mentioned he would not improve that much if he hadn’t studied the theory. It is also important to practice a lot, but without knowing how to draw a straight line correctly you won’t get very far.
One of his favourite job offers is the one which lead him to hand lettering. „A company producing clothes for children asked me to create a hand lettering logo for them. “Gabriel found it very interesting. „Even back then I broadened my views on all different means of creating such kind of a logo and I learned a lot about hand lettering. “Gabriel takes every offer as a chance to improve his skills. He became fond of hand lettering to that extend, that he started to specialize on it. „I look for new information on this topic every day and I’m trying to enhance my knowledge. “ he says.
It can be often very interesting to know what drives the artists and graphic designers the most. What inspires them the most. What is Gabriel’s biggest inspiration for his works? „Usually, I get inspired by everyday life. My motivation comes from young people and their troubles they face every day. “ Gabriel revealed. „In my studio, there is a board where I write down words or quotes which impressed me. “ he adds. Besides that, his greatest motivation is to show the people around him it is really possible, foremost to those people who doubted him. „Many people told me I would never make a living with graphic design and that the Slovak market is not ready for it, but they were wrong. “
„I was trying to find more people who work on hand lettering in Slovakia, but I wasn’t successful. I would like to contact people, who found their passion in typography, to exchange experiences. “ If you’re reading this article and are interested in hand lettering, don’t hesitate to contact Gabriel on Instagram, Facebook or on his own homepage.