Q&A: HIBRID’s Courtney Shelton on Insta-crushes, art degrees, and finding inspiration in everything

March 10, 2016

Our love of Instagram and its wonderful inhabitants is well-documented. Like, really well-documented … OKAY, we might be addicted. But who isn’t? You can scroll for days in complete bliss and not even begin to scratch the surface of the myriad talented artists out there.

One such talent: designer and hand-lettering extraordinaire Courtney Shelton, who popped up on our radar a few months ago when she beautifully lettered a John Legend quote from our recent documentary, Why Not Us. 

Since then, we’ve developed a bona fide Instagram-crush, and subsequently fallen in love with her blog, HIBRID, which is a delightful smorgasbord of design eye-candy, all tied together by Courtney’s bright and colorful aesthetic.

Hybridization (get it?) of talents and interests is kind of our jam here at Roadtrip Nation, so this week, we decided we had to finally reach out to Courtney and talk to her about the holy trinity: art, Instagram, and avocados.


It seems like you’re always working on a million different awesome projects—do you have an “elevator pitch” that you use to describe what you do?

Oh man, haha! I kind of have one?! I need to get a better one since I’ve recently been asked this a lot! But to sum up what I do: I run a blog by myself called HIBRID. I do a lot of hand-lettering work and collaborative projects, while also sharing my other design interests such as home decor, fashion, graphic design, DIY, painting, and more.



What does your average day look like?

Every single day is different for me. Most weekdays, I go to my day job and get home around 5 p.m. or so. Then depending on the day, once I get home, I’ll work out, make dinner, shower, do some HIBRID work, take some downtime, and/or finish any errands I need to get done (not always all of that, or in that order).  


When did you realize this was what you wanted to do with your life? Have you always been a creative person/had an eye for design?

Yes—I’ve been drawing, coloring, painting, and designing since kindergarten! My mom was always a very good advocate for evolving my artistic abilities. She was always positively pushing my talents and getting me involved in creative things she knew I would be good at. Once I got to be 15 or 16 years old, I really couldn’t see myself pursuing any other career path other than one in design.    


Where do you find your inspiration? 

I feel highly receptive when it comes to getting inspiration. I can look at almost anything and my mind starts to create…it’s crazy. I find it in other blogs, Instagram accounts, Pinterests, books, web articles, and in nature. I also get inspired simply by meeting new creative people.



You have a B.F.A. in interior design and an M.A. in graphic design under your belt—do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing similar degrees in the arts?

I think it depends on the individual and what your interests are in. These happen to be my interests, but as time passed and I got further into studying interior design, I didn’t have as much fun doing that work as I did doing graphic design work. I started to get jealous of all the projects and work that the students in the graphic design department got to do. Having multiple degrees will never hurt you, so I think it’s a huge advantage to be able to add a new field into your studies.


Putting your art out into the world via social media and receiving instant feedback has to be intimidating at times—how do you push past moments of insecurity or self-doubt?

Sometimes it is intimidating, especially if it is something new. One thing I live by, though, is: “If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” I hate the feeling of regret, so I’d rather give it a try and have it fail than never know the outcome. There are also times where the feedback I get is unexpected. Sometimes I’ll post something and get a lot more love for it then I was expecting it would get.


Do you appreciate and embrace what new outlets like Instagram have done for art, or do you see participating on social media as more of a necessity in your field?

I absolutely love what social media platforms like Instagram have done. It has connected me with so many unique people and projects. I can easily say that I wouldn’t have most of what I have done without Instagram. It’s my favorite platform, hands down!



Is there anything you wish you’d known when you were first starting HIBRID?

I wish I wouldn’t have been as scared/nervous as I was.    


Do you have a go-to soundtrack that you like to listen to while you’re hand-lettering?

Most of the time I think best in peace and quiet. So if I’m really trying to concentrate on something, I need silence. But if I’m just in production mode, I’m cool with a simple Top 40 list playing. Music is one thing I love, but it always gets put on my back burner because I have so many other things I need to worry about first.  


Coffee or tea?

ALWAYS coffee!  


Is there anyone you’d kill to collaborate with right now?

Oh man, there are so many, but I will ALWAYS want to be a contributor to the Ban.do agenda that is released each year!  


Favorite food?

I LOVE avocados! I eat one almost everyday and on almost anything.  


What are you currently reading?

Right now I am reading Wired to Create by Scott Kauffman & Carolyn Gregoire, and Creative Truth by Brad Weaver.  


If we handed you the keys to the big green RV right now, where would you go?

I would go to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, Joshua Tree National Park in California, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon!  




Which Instagram accounts are you currently crushing on?

I love candyminimal, acolorstory, workshop.pdx, coralandherb, alimakesthings, shopbando … okay, I’ll stop now!


Do you have one final piece of advice for readers?

Life is short. Do what you want and do what makes you happy—even if it’s scary. It’s better to have tried than to never know.


You can find more of Courtney’s work on her Twitter, Facebook, and online shop!

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