PK 161: How to Navigate Your way to Artistic Success. Interview With Hand-drawn Lettering Artist, Sean McCabe

PK 161: How to Navigate Your way to Artistic Success. Interview With Hand-drawn Lettering Artist, Sean McCabe 2 pk 161 artistic success sean mccabe pencil kings podcast

How do you navigate your way to artistic success?

After all, the path towards a successful creative career can often be a tricky one, with all kinds of hurdles to jump before you can even get off the starting blocks.

And that’s exactly what happened to today’s guest – hand-drawn lettering artist and author, Sean McCabe.

For two whole years, his regular posts on social media went virtually unnoticed…until, one day, people finally began to really take notice of what he was up to.

So what made this shift happen? And how did Sean go from being a creative all-rounder with a day job to a successful freelance artist specializing in hand-drawn typography?

You’ll find out in this week’s podcast interview…

How Sean McCabe Found his own Artistic Success


“People who are motivated know that it doesn’t start with motivation – it starts with a commitment to show up. Because, if you wait for the motivation, it’s never going to come.” ~ Sean McCabe.

Interview Chapters:


Introduction and Overview

Your host, Mitch Bowler, introduces today’s guest, hand-drawn lettering artist and author, Sean McCabe.

In this chapter, he talks about his two-year-long journey towards artistic success – a journey that began with him holding down a day job while dedicating 6-8 hours a night to making art and posting everything he made online.

You’ll hear how he gradually got a feel for what people liked (and what they didn’t), and how Sean learned a valuable lesson about what kind of work to put online.


How did the big Shift Happen for Sean?

At first, Sean used to post absolutely everything he made online – from the user interface designs, logos, and illustrations he did in his day job as a web designer…to the hand-drawn typography he’d always loved to make since being a kid.

But sometimes, less is more…and it was only when Sean realized he was putting too much information out there for people to process that they started taking notice.


What Kind of Hand-drawn Lettering was Sean Making?

It was Sean’s hand-drawn typography or lettering that first got him noticed, but what kind of lettering was he making?

In this chapter, you’ll hear where to find his work online and check out many other examples of hand-drawn lettering from other artists working in this field.


Was Sean Really Working 6-8 hours a day on his art?

Spending 6-8 hours making art while holding down a day might sound impossible, but that’s exactly what Sean did to get his career going.

And, while he doesn’t think that’s what everyone should do, he’s a strong believer in having the commitment to show up every day and make something – regardless of how tired you feel or what’s showing on Netflix. You’ll find out what motivates him in this chapter.


What Made Sean Choose Hand-lettering as his Thing?

Like many artists and creatives, Sean tried his hand at lots of different things before finding his true niche of hand-drawn lettering or typography.

So, how did he decide this was his thing? And how he feel once he’d made that decision?

In this chapter, Sean describes the relief he felt once he knew he’d found his niche…and reveals how you can find yours, too.


How did Sean Know he’d Found his Niche?

Searching for your niche isn’t always easy, and Sean tried lots of different things before returning to the hand-drawn lettering he loved making when he was a kid.

Like many artists, he’d told himself there was no way he could possibly make any money from doing this, so his true passion lay dormant for years…until a chance meeting with a fellow designer (who also loved hand-drawn typography) changed everything.


A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skilled Sailor – one of Sean McCabe’s popular T-shirt designs

But How can you Turn Your Passion Into Making Serious Money?

As an artist, you’ve probably done the odd commission for somebody and wondered just how many of these you’d have to do to earn any kind of reasonable income or artistic success.

Well, that’s exactly what Sean thought, too…until he started to look more closely at how seriously successful artists generate their income.


How did Sean Build his Audience on Social Media?

Once Sean had thought more about what to post online (and what not to), he started to see an increase in the amount of followers he was getting on social media.

So, how can you learn from him and do something similar with your artwork? You’ll get plenty of clues in this chapter.


How did Sean Find out Who to sell his Work to?

Getting likes on your social media posts is one thing, but how can you find out what people are going to part with their hard-earned cash for?

In this chapter, Sean reveals how he tailored his work based on people’s reactions to it, why he decided to share what he’d learned, and how he reached out to those engaged customers who wanted to buy his art.


Why did Sean Decide to Write his Book, Overlap?

As his career began to take off, Sean started to get lots of questions from aspiring artists asking him how he’d done it.

So, he decided to write a book, Overlap, which is specifically aimed at people who work a 9-5 but really want to develop their creative career instead.

In this chapter, you’ll hear how he applied the same commitment to writing as he did to hand-drawn lettering, how he stayed motivated, and why his book struck such a chord with people all over the world.


What Advice Does Sean Have for Artists Ready to Take the Next Step?

Ready to take the next step towards artistic success…but not sure exactly which way to turn?

In this chapter, Sean shares stacks of useful advice based on his own experiences and reveals why figuring out the next steps in your creative career is all part of the process.


How can you get Hold of Sean’s Book?

If you’re interested in Sean’s book, Overlap, this section will give you all the information you need.

Plus, there’s a special introductory offer you won’t want to miss out on!



Mitch wraps up today’s interview with Sean McCabe and offers his own feedback on all the invaluable insights in Overlap.

We hope this week’s interview with Sean McCabe helps you find your own way to artistic success.

Did you enjoy this podcast? Let us know what you thought in the box below!

People on this Episode:

Links From This Episode:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and “save file as” for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

The Pencil Kings podcast is sponsored by Freshbooks – small business accounting software for artists and creatives.



PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

1 thought on “PK 161: How to Navigate Your way to Artistic Success. Interview With Hand-drawn Lettering Artist, Sean McCabe”

Comments are closed.