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Conversations with the Inspiring Nicole Miyuki Santo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Miyuki Santo.

In 2013, Nicole took the leap from employed graphic designer to freelance lettering and watercolor artist. She began lettering after her 9-5 job because she needed an outlet and a way to decompress from her long day. While she majored in graphic design throughout the university, her hand lettering and watercolor skills are self-taught. She had clients in the wedding industry, sold at craft fairs, and began to build her online presence — primarily through Instagram. Today, in October 2018, she has released two traditionally published books, By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering and The Kids’ Book of Hand Lettering. Both books are sold online and in bookstores worldwide.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My advice for other women looking to start out on their creative journey is to know your why. And this may change as the years go on. Why do you want to do this creative venture, what makes your heart sing, and where is your curiosity leading you. Why?

It’s so easy, especially when we start out to get bogged down by comparing ourselves to others, shiny object syndrome where we think we need to do everything, be everything, and if not we are behind.

Remember your why and stay true to that in those moments of doubt.

Because it’s not easy to put yourself out there and start your own business. And it’s going to continue to be a daily practice every day. I can attest to that.

What should we know about your work? What do you do best?
I am a lettering artist, graphic designer, teacher, and author. But my “why” is connection. I believe that we are all striving for realness. For authenticity, for human connection. And I believe with no shadow of a doubt that hand lettering and even the simplest gift of giving yourself 10 minutes a day to write a card for someone, will make the world of a difference. I am here to invite others in to give hand lettering a try and whether it’s through my in-person workshops, online, my books, or if you’re a client of mine, I create, because I believe in building connections over barriers.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Know that it is going to mentally test you. And that is totally a-okay. You won’t have someone telling you what to do, telling you what is right and wrong, motivating you and keeping you on track. That is all you.

Surround yourself with people who are going to bring you up, and if you don’t have that at the moment, find other groups and communities either in person or online with other like-minded people!


  • By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering $22.99 available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target
  • The Kids Book of Hand Lettering: 20 Lessons and Projects to Decorate Your World $12.99 available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target
  • By Hand Mini-Kit $9.95 Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble stores

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sarah Ellefson, Carley Rudd, Annie McElwain, Jacqueline Campbell, Bailey Made, Pretty Branch Photography, Photo Flood Studio

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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