Mary Kate McDevitt is a freelance illustrator and letterer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has worked with clients including Chronicle Books, Sesame Street, Nintendo, Penguin Books, Nike, O Magazine, and Mental Floss.
Growing up, McDevitt was interested in art but was filled with doubt. Thinking her sketches were not good enough to finish, her sketchbooks housed the start of many incomplete drawings. She took art classes in high school, but the doubt followed her. She felt “rubbish” in comparison to others in her class.
Yet McDevitt’s interest in drawing led her study Graphic Design and Illustration at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Being accepted into Tyler gave her the seed of confidence she needed. Reasoning if they saw potential in her work, then maybe she could do it.
She graduated in 2007 and landed a job at a design studio straight away. However, designing flyers and brochures all day left McDevitt’s itching to work with her hands. She began creating personal illustrations, paintings and hand-lettered pieces outside of her nine-to-five and in 2008 opened an Etsy shop to sell them.
Seeing a good response to her work, she started to put more effort into the shop. Slowly losing interest in her design job she decided to quit and pursue a career as a freelancer. McDevitt moved to Portland, Oregon in 2010 and networked to get her name out there. She met people who happily passed her details on to publications and eventually carved out work for herself.
McDevitt has continued to grow as an artist and is keen to give back. Speaking across Portland and American, teaching at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Moore College of Art and Design, and at Tyler. McDevitt also teaches classes on Skillshare. This is how I stumbled on her work, after taking the class, Vintage Hand-Lettering: Styling Phrases for Timeless Appeal.
You can see more of Mary Kate McDevitt’s work on her website and Tumblr. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram; while you are there, check out her project, #100daysofpeopleandpets. You should also read this excellent interview on The Great Discontent.