99designs recently collaborated with My Modern Met on a new collection of graphic t-shirts to help art enthusiasts (and pun-lovers) express their creative sides.

We sat down with the talented Andrea Stan—also known as Mky—who is responsible for this brilliant Expressionist Yourself design to talk about the creative and collaboration process behind the final illustration.

Andrea loves everything colorful, quirky and fun and believes that looking at the world with childlike curiosity is her superpower, and is truly necessary when it comes to creating art. When first starting out, Andrea mostly took part in 99designs contests to broaden her skill set and gain experience with a wide variety of briefs. These days, she balances one-to-one projects and commission work with an agency role, and even though she only started lettering in 2018, has grown quite the following on Instagram.

Name: Andrea Stan
99designs profile: Mky
Speciality: Graphic design and lettering artist

Can you tell us about the process of designing this shirt for My Modern Met?

Working on this project was truly fun and entertaining. The directions were clear, I received some helpful references which enabled the client and I to get on the same page which made the whole process of working on the actual design really smooth.

I am obsessed with adding dimensions, shadows and little decorative elements to my drawings, so the most challenging part was keeping it simple.

Can you tell us a bit about your design career to date?

By looking at my portfolio and the work I do lately you can tell I’m super into lettering.

by Mky

I actually only started to letter in 2018 but have been doing it ever since. It’s just so fun! Before discovering lettering, I worked on mostly designing logos for quite a few years as a freelance designer. Once lettering started to take over and my Instagram started to fill up with this new work I was doing, the nature of the commissions I would receive started to change as well.

Now I balance freelancing and a day job at a creative agency, High Contrast, which may sound a bit overwhelming but I am actually really enjoying it. As a freelancer I get to explore the artistic and organic side of lettering, playing with weird and quirky shapes. At the day job I am instead designing very well constructed, stable logotypes and brand identities, immersing myself more in the technical aspect of it all.

I am also starting to learn web design, which is exciting! It is truly fun to have these two completely different worlds at hand and to see how the things I learn at one end can be applied to the other.

by Mky
How would you describe your style in your own words?

I’d say quirky, free-spirited and colorful. But, if we’re talking about my other side (which you can’t see much of in my personal portfolio), I’d say technical, strategic and mathematical. There’s always two sides to everything, right? 🙂

What brought you to 99designs in the first place?

I started partaking in contests quite a few years ago with the intention of gaining some experience with clients and briefs. After a while, I started attracting more and more 1-to-1 projects, until I stopped participating in contests completely.

What does your creative process look like?

Regardless of the type of project, I always start with sketches.

by Mky

At this point everything is super messy and ugly and I just focus on getting all my ideas out of my head, exploring as much as possible. Obviously, most of these sketches won’t work, but I truly believe that you have to go through a lot of trial and error before you get to a final result that makes sense.

So, after making a mess, I choose one to two sketches that are the best choices and from there I just refine, redraw, add, subtract and polish until the piece is done.

Do you have any tips to offer other designers?

I don’t think there is one correct way of doing things, so the only and best advice I can give is that you have to have fun with your work. Make a mess, allow yourself to play, be prepared to fail and don’t be afraid to start over.

You can also view more of Andreaʼs work on her instagram @i.am.mky.

Love Mky's work?
Hire her for your next project.