Scotty Russell is the man behind the expanding Perspective Collective empire. On any given day he'll be hard at work on one of his many creative outlets. Take in his site/Instagram/podcast and you'll be swept up in his infectious work ethic. There is a phrase that comes to mind when we think of Scotty - "Putting in work".
We wanted to know more about what makes him tick and got to ask him a bunch of questions.
What city do you live in?
Cedar Falls, IA
What is your background? (education, training, apprenticeships, etc)
Bachelor in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Wartburg College
Where do you work?
Day Job – Web & Graphic Designer for Viking Pump
Side Business – Letterer, Illustrator, Speaker & Podcaster under the name Perspective-Collective
When did you first start pursuing art/typography?
The first time I remember drawing was in kindergarten and I drew a sick dragon with neon crayons… I was hooked.
I’d also grown up always trying to write my name and others in cool letters. I feel that interest as a kid sparked my obsession of hand lettering 4 years ago. I’ve been finding ways to combine both illustrations and lettering ever since.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished up two back-to-back murals. Now I’m going to take a month off freelance and focus on building the podcast and stepping up my digital game now that I swooped the iPad Pro with the Procreate App.
What was your first commercial job, how did you get it?
I’ve been doing some type of $50 logo or tattoo for friends and family since I was in high school. However, my first real commercial job would have been two years ago when I did a publication magazine spread for an issue of the Teaching Tolerance Magazine.
They found me because I was sharing my work religiously on Instagram and things have taken off from there as one job has led to the next.
What do you want to be better at/what are you not good at?
Working digitally makes me extremely uncomfortable as drawing by hand is second nature to me. Definitely want to push the boundaries and see where digital art on the iPad can take me into 2018.
What can’t you live without?
My Fieldnotes sketchbooks and a pencil. I have these with me 24/7.
How do you stay productive when client work is slow?
I’m a big advocate for pursuing side projects and creating the type of work you want to get paid to create.
However, I hold down a day job along with podcasting and public speaking, I don’t find too many slow moments and have to force myself to take a break.
What is important to you?
Sticking to my guns and creating what resonates with me. I’m a believer that opportunities show up when you consistently show up, get uncomfortable and pour yourself into your work.
Shit will happen if you roll by these rules.
Opportunities show up when you consistently show up, get uncomfortable and pour yourself into your work
What do you wish you had known when first starting as a designer?
The importance of being consistent and not getting caught up in perfection. It takes a lot of shitty work to stumble across your best work. In a sense, quantity over quality will lead to quality.
Looking back on your design career, what is something you persisted with but should have stopped?
I finally claimed that I was an artist / designer / creative in my early twenties. I spent the previous portion of my life scared to share these things because I didn’t want to get judged, scrutinized and have people not like what I created.
I wanted everyone to love my work but you can’t please everyone because you are not pizza.
If I could go back I would’ve stopped being so caught up in comparison and got to work on my dream much sooner.
How do you cope with a creative block?
Not to sound like a pompous ass but I really don’t deal with creative block.
My secret weapon is to constantly journal, thumbnail and collect any idea that comes around. That’s why I keep a Field Notes sketchbook with me everywhere.
Whether I get an idea from Instagram, Dribbble, Blogs, Podcasts or Audiobooks. I’ll stop what I’m doing and jot that shit down.
That way I’m banking all these ideas and can cash one of them out when the time comes to throw down and get to work.
What book (or books) would you recommend to someone you just met?
I got book recommendations for days on my resources page: PerspectiveCollectiveResources.com
However, below are some great ones to start with.
Creative Personal Development:
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
Art & Fear – David Bayles & Ted Orland
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
Start – Jon Acuff
Finish – Jon Acuff
Design & Lettering Related:
Logotypes & Letterforms – Doyald Young
Dangerous Curves: Mastering Logotype Design- Doyald Young
What is the most important lesson you have learned?
Building your creative empire is a slow and steady grind. Stick to what you enjoy most and do best. Be consistent and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
Hypothetical scenario: Someone has 6 months to go from amateur to as competent in typography design as possible. Aside from lots of practice, what do you tell them to research and work on?
- Read every book by Donald Young or any type related book.
- Find workshops that you could attend that covered the basics, intermediate and advanced.
- Take online courses that are available on the topic (Skillshare, Lynda, Creative Live, etc.).
- Soak up every free resource online like YouTube or related articles.
Take us through a typical work day from when you get up to when you go to bed.
Since I work a day job, I have to be intentional about every minute in the day in order to juggle a podcast, freelance and husband duties.
Wake up and write, edit, and schedule for the podcast
7:00am – 4:00pm:
Work from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm with an hour lunch which I’ll either draw, follow up on emails and social, or do product fulfilment.
4:00pm – 5:30pm:
Get off work head to the gym for an hour or so to relieve stress and get my mind right.
5:30pm – 7:30pm:
Shower of course then put in another 1–2 hours of freelance, drawing or recording.
Plan out my next day and the top 1–3 important tasks that I need to attack. I never want to approach a morning having to guess what to work on.
Describe yourself in one word.
“Creative” is too easy so I’m going with “driven”.
See more Scotty at these internet places:
Join the team at: Perspective-CollectiveTeam.com
Check out drawing tips, tools and book: Perspective-CollectiveResources.com
Shout outs and thanks.
- Type Gang for sharing my work over the year to every corner of the earth
- My wife Emily (@TheOilShelf) for always supporting my dream.
- My family and friends for constantly encouraging me.
- My Mastermind Group for always ripping my work and not letting me settle