Hand-Lettering Artist Kate Forrester: An Illustrator Who Thinks Big

Our August 2022 cover celebrated this year’s crop of Best of the County winners, all chosen by you, with an equally joyful illustration by UK-based hand-lettering artist Kate Forrester. In addition to magazine covers like ours, Forrester’s work has graced book covers, product packaging and advertising pieces as well. Here, we asked her how she got her start and what projects she’s most proud of.

Marin Magazine (MM): What inspired your lovely cover design for our August 2022 issue?

Kate Forrester (KF): “I’m blown away by Marin’s beautiful, diverse countryside and beaches, so my enthusiasm for the great outdoors was a starting point for my cover design.”

MM: How did you get interested in illustration, and what jumpstarted your career?

KF: “Since I was a kid, I’ve always drawn and painted. It was a huge passion growing up. After studying design and illustration through to degree level, I took a step back and did some other things for a while, but then got a big break designing illustrated invitations for Harvey Nichols, a high-end London fashion store, and it all evolved from there.”

MM: How would you describe your work and artistic style?

KF: “I work a lot with lettering and combining hand-drawn words with intricate illustrations to create a visual flow.”

Marin Magazine August 2022

MM: Where has your work appeared/been published?

KF: Many book covers, magazines, biscuit tins, billboards, giant plant pots, chocolate bars, a ping-pong paddles… the list goes on and on.”

MM: Are there any projects you’re particularly proud of?

KF: “My favorite project to date was for Hachette in London, which commissioned me to hand-letter the names of about 4,000 authors (all those published with Hachette) as a giant river mural flowing along the black glass walls of the building and spanning five floors. It was a logistical challenge but a good one!”

MM: What are your goals going forward?

KF: “More large-scale murals and unusual products.”

MM: What is your best advice for others pursuing a career as an illustrator?  

KF: “Find a niche and talk to people. The former because it is a competitive industry and it’s better to have a special skill or medium you can offer that makes you stand out from the crowd. The latter because it’s easy to hide away as a freelance illustrator and just let the work do the talking, but my best and most successful collaborations have always come from meeting in the flesh!”

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Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.