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Southern Draw

Illustrator Lucie Rice designs with a Southern sensibility.

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Early in her career, Lucie Rice designed concert posters for a music promoter in Indianapolis. Soon after that, she took a job with a T-shirt company. “I tend to combine my two passions, illustration and typography,” said Rice, who now runs her own design business in Nashville.

Those two passions, combined with a keen eye for detail, give her work its unique appeal. “I kind of created my own brand,” Rice said. 

A Kentucky native and graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Rice’s love for the South has also played a role in her creations. “I’m drawn to the gritty, country feel,” she explained. “I like a simple color palette. I think this comes from my screenprinting days, and is influenced by [Nashville’s iconic music-poster printshop] Hatch Show Print.” 

Rice’s process has evolved over the years, as well. “I used to hand-render a concept sketch and use that as a blueprint for everything else,” she said. “But now I’m at my computer all day and just jump into a project, blocking things out and then getting into the details.

“I like to tell stories and incorporate details that add to the layers of interest.”

And many of those details include words. “Murals are becoming more popular these days,” she observed. “I always hope there is some text involved, and I use that as a springboard to figure out how to arrange the imagery and to create a focal point.”

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Although Rice has done many branding projects, seeing her logos turned into signs has changed her approach. “I have to start thinking about my designs in 3D,” she said. 

And, as a professional artist, she added a word of caution: Price your work based on usage. “If they want to use it on everything, they have to pay more. My contract specifies what the design can and cannot be used for.”

Putting that pragmatism aside, Rice’s designs serve as an example that if you’re talented and do the kind of work that you love, everything else can fall into place. In Rice’s case, a Southern place.

See more of Rice’s illustration and design work at lucierice.com.

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