An Interview with Amanda of Wit & Whistle

I have a soft spot for stationery. I love notebooks, cards, colorful pens and pencils, just about everything! When looking for cards for friends and family I always choose funny over sentimental. I don’t like to get super emotional on birthday cards and things like that. Funny goes a long way! My first stop when looking for really funny cards is Wit & Whistle. (They have a lot more than cards by the way but I’ve been banned from buying any other form of stationery). Amanda Wright is the creator of Wit & Whistle and the woman behind the witty cards. Today, Amanda has agreed to answer a few questions for us about how she got started and where she’s going.
Wit & Whistle
TR: Tell Life in Sketch readers a bit about yourself. How did you get started in illustration?

AW: I’ve been drawing ever since I was little. I took every art class I could in school and focused on fine art through high school. I majored in Graphic Design at the NCSU College of Design, because I was afraid of becoming a starving artist. After graduating I worked at a design firm for three years before deciding I needed a bit more creative freedom than my clients usually allowed. My awesome husband encouraged me to find a career I could love, so I quit my job and started Wit & Whistle.

Wit & Whistle
TR: How did you turn your self-proclaimed design nerdiness (and talent) into a career? 

AW: While still at my day job I decided that I wanted to start a small business that would nurture my creativity. Initially I wanted to make jewelry. I took a few silversmithing classes but realized that I lacked the attention span jewelry making required. I’d make one earring and then I’d have no desire to make the exact same thing again for the other ear! After making a bunch of single earrings I realized that I should put my hard earned graphic design degree to use in my new business venture. I started designing and illustrating greeting cards, and when I opened my shop on Etsy and it slowly started to take off.

Wit & Whistle

TR: How long have you owned the Wit and Whistle shop?

AW: I opened Wit & Whistle in July of 2009, although I was tinkering around with card designs for 7 or 8 months before that trying to pinpoint my niche.

Wit & Whistle

TR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
AW: Clean, simple, and organic
Wit & Whistle
TR: I’m a huge fan of your work, and buy one of your cards for almost every holiday. How would you describe your design process?
AW: Aww, thanks! I mostly just sit around with my sketchbook jotting ideas and sketching thumbnails. I come up with a lot of terrible ideas in the process, but I keep them all. Sometimes when I read through the bad ideas later a good idea will present itself. When I can picture the design I want to make in my head, I’ll draw it in my sketchbook in ink. Then I scan the ink drawing into my computer and add color digitally. From there I either print it myself or send the file to the local printer I work with to have them print up a bunch for me.
Wit & Whistle
TR: Where do you turn when you’re having an off day / looking for inspiration?
AW: When I’m feeling creatively drained the best thing for me to do is to step away and work on something else for the day. I have an endless list of projects I want to get done around our 1971 home, I might try a new recipe, or I’ll wander around with my camera snapping photos for my blog. If I can just accomplish something I start feeling productive and inspired again, so I can return to my work refreshed and ready to create.
Wit & Whistle
TR: What designers, artists and/or illustrators do you look up to and admire / turn to for inspiration?
AW: I’ve always admired Rifle Paper Co. (who doesn’t?), because Anna Bond has developed such a recognizable brand. I’m striving to make Wit & Whistle’s branding that strong and identifiable. I’m not quite there yet, but I get closer every day. Lately I’ve also been crushing on Molly Jacques’ beautiful lettering and calligraphy. Someone should name her Queen of the Alphabet!
For inspiration I usually turn to blogs. Holly Becker’s blog, Decor8 (, inspired me to open my own Etsy shop in the first place. She regularly did an “Etsy Take 5 Tuesday” feature back in 2008/9, and I was so motivated by seeing other’s successful Etsy shops each week. I kept thinking to myself “I think I could do that,” and I finally jumped in and set to work.
Wit & Whistle
TR: What’s next for Wit and Whistle?
AW: I’m planning to add some notepads and spiral bound journals to my shop this year. I also hope to expand my line of art prints and even try selling a few original ink drawings and paintings.
Wit & Whistle
Thanks Amanda for speaking to us!
I love Amanda’s story. I love when people go after their dreams! Amanda’s talent shines through her work and her passion is easy to see. You can see more of her work at Wit & Whistle.
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  1. says

    Love Amanda’s work. Her blog is brilliant, too. Thanks for the great interview; it’s so interesting to learn about an inspiring creative’s work!

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