Happy new year all! Starting off twenty twelve, I’d like to introduce everyone to a super talented lady, whom I met summer 2010, and she’s been inspiring me ever since, Rachelle Letain is a self-proclaimed “designustrator” (see: a graphic designer/illustrator hybrid). A current intern at Toronto-based studio Sovereign State, Rachelle enjoys hand drawn typography, cohesive colour palettes, nostalgia, and visual puns. This spring, she will complete her second degree (her first was accomplished after a 4-year stint completed at Sheridan College’s Illustration BAA program) via OCAD University’s Bachelor of Design program. She looks forward to greeting the “real world” with honesty and creative eagerness, and plans to continue uniting her two passions and bridging the gap between illustration and design as best she can.

I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?

R: My earliest memory of being involved in a creative activity was probably in junior kindergarten. We had a “drawing center” that I spent a lot of time in. From what I can remember, it was kind of this sectioned off area in the middle of our classroom that had a few long tables with plastic containers of crayons grouped in the center. I recall drawing what I thought was exactly a humpback whale, and I remember it being the first time I was ever really proud of anything I’d made. I thought it looked spot-on, and in my memory of that day… it does. I’m sure if I still had that drawing I would realize it was barely reminiscent of an animal, let alone a humpback whale! Junior kindergarten was also the year that my teacher told my parents that she thought I might be a bit of an artist because I did something that none of the other kids in my class did: I apparently decoratively ‘framed’ every piece of paper I was given with an illustrated border.

I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?

R: I’m not sure, to be honest! Probably something to do with animals. Or maybe a therapist… or a teacher? (Clearly, I’d be undecided.) Actually, those were all career paths I considered delving into during my last year of high school. However, illustration and design clearly won the race luckily! (I guess my kindergarten teacher was onto something all those years ago!)

I: Inspiration, who? what? where?

R: I’d say I am inspired generally by life; just plain’ old living and being alive, and I guess too by the experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have, and no less by the conversations that sometimes accompany those experiences. I also probably spend way too much time on the internet and while it can kind of be a bit of a time suck, I feel grateful to have stumbled across beautiful work there to admire. Although my list of favorite illustrators and designers seems to change often, I have been consistently inspired recently by the works of Jessica Hische, Jillian Tamaki and Doublenaut. Additionally, I am lucky to have many incredibly talented friends in my life who continue to be a constant source of inspiration to me on the home front.

I: Share any of piece your work, recent or old and talk about it.

R: This piece was created during a printmaking course I took over the summer. The project outline  (which involved producing a screen print edition of at least 15 with multiple layers) was largely free of any type of real constraints and so I chose a favorite quote of mine to visually represent. I found the lack of limitations in the project brief to be incredibly freeing as well as the tactile nature of the creation process overall to be captivating. The outcome of the print itself – while experimental ­and exploratory – was something that I still feel resulted in more of a gain than a loss.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.

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Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Creative,
currently based in Toronto.

Welcome to my blog.

Art Direction / Alignment / Colours
Cooking / Design / Folding
Illustration / Paper / Printing
Ping Pong / Type / Walking

are some of the things I tend
to obsess over constantly.
Find out more about me here,
or check out some shots from my
travels around the world here.

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blog@ibraheemyoussef.com

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