Show & Tell – Q&A with Elza

A fun part of blogging is getting to know people as they share tidbits about their experiences, lifestyle, and unique taste. Since I’m approaching 200 blog followers this Spring, I decided it’s high time to do something of a more personal nature. Who’s ready for a Q&A?

Q&A with Elza, Spring 2020

I asked my friends on social media to get me started, so let’s dive right in!

Q1: What does your name mean?

Elza is a diminutive of my first name, Elizabeth! I’ve always preferred my full name to common nicknames like Lizzy or Beth… even before I could actually say it. Apparently when I was a toddler I introduced myself to an elderly man at a grocery store as Elza-Bozza-Bess and was really mad when he didn’t understand. When I decided I wanted a shorter penname for work, I chose to pay homage to the frustrated mini-me.

Fun fact: this is also why my business is called BumbleBess!


Q2: What are your favorite hobbies?

You may have noticed that I like to stay busy. My numerous projects and interests range from purely recreational to serious side hustle, but I always find pleasure in whatever I’m doing. My favorite non-productive endeavors include:

  • playing (and often losing) video games
  • sending snail mail to friends and family
  • doodling in my sketchbook
  • walking around the block at sunset
  • collecting pretty things like pins, and mugs, and art prints


Q3: Why do you like words so much?

As the daughter of an author and a professor, I have never been without words. I grew up knowing there was a perfect word for every situation. Something appropriate, meaningful, or elegantly nuanced. To this day I’m still in love with words and the things they can do, and always on the lookout for new ones.


Q4: What tools do you use for your art and design work?

For those not in the know, I am a graphic designer, lettering artist, and newbie illustrator in addition to writing, blogging, reviewing, and quote curating. I recently created a Behance profile to showcase some of my work.  Go ahead and sneak a peek!

My main software for design and lettering is Photoshop, mostly because it’s an industry standard. For the rare project when I need vectors, I rely on Inkscape because it’s free.

When it comes to more illustrative work I rely heavily on my printer/scanner for the base because I can’t draw super detailed with a computer mouse! I upgraded to the Epson ET-2750 about two years ago and it’s been a dream for my home office needs.


Q5: If you could only create graphics using three colors for the rest of your life, which three colors would you choose?

First of all, how could you? I thought we were friends.

Under the assumption that I can use any range of shades within those three color categories, I would have to pick:

  1. Gray, giving me the full range from black to white, without which I could do naught.
  2. Blue, which is universally pleasing and can be cheerful or moody, fun or professional.
  3. Yellow, which is a good contrast to blue and is necessary to the branding of my website.

It breaks my heart to choose blue over green because I’m particularly good at working with greens. Maybe you’ll let me bend the rules and mix the blue and yellow together?


Q6: What are some of your all-time favorite quotes?

Another hard one! I have so many favorite quotes, so I’ll limit myself to five that have shaped how I approach creativity:

“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting.”
Marc Jacobs


“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.”
Fabienne Fredrikson


“The best way to be original is to not copy anyone.”
Sebastyne Young


“It’s not the lack of resources that cause failure, it’s the lack of resourcefulness that causes failure.”
Tony Robbins


“There are three responses to a piece of design—‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘wow!’. Wow is the one to aim for.”
Milton Glaser


I think collecting quotes is a really powerful thing to do. Words that resonate with you make it so much easier to understand yourself, what you want, or who you could become.


Q7: What are some things that inspire you, artistically or otherwise?

For me, inspiration is something that exists everywhere. Look closely, and you can find it. Sit quietly and it comes. Work thoughtfully and suddenly it’s on the page. I live for those moments. In a way, I’m inspired by inspiration. Knowing that I’ll feel that way again is what keeps me moving forward.

Because of this, a lot of my eureka! moments come from raw materials. Words and emotions when I write. Colors and shapes in design. The idea that I can take something like that and transform it into art never stops being exciting.


Q8: Which authors/artists inspired you to become a writer/designer?

As a writer, my early influences have been Gail Carson Levine, Cornelia Funke, Lemony Snicket, Diana Wynne Jones, and Jane Austen. Although their body of work is vastly different, I’m drawn to their books and can see clearly how they’ve shaped me as a person and creator. That being said, I’m a writer because of my mom. She is an amazing author and writes so well it scares me a little!

I discovered graphic design thanks to an early obsession with fonts and typography. With a little talent, a knockoff Photoshop program, and some very patient online friends, I taught myself how to recreate looks I liked, eventually became skilled enough to do my own thing, and turned a former hobby into my day job. I can’t point to any specific graphic designers as a source of inspiration, but my obsession with packaging, typefaces, magazines, websites, illustration, and photography is ever-present. It fuels me to keep trying new things, grow as a designer, and find little ways to make the world a prettier place.


Do you have more questions for me? Add to the conversation in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Show & Tell – Q&A with Elza

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