About Lily Yee

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects…is still the secret of great creative people.
Leo Burnett

Design Quest explores visual design concepts and features stories from my journey as a lettering artist. Thanks for looking. Perhaps something here will pique your curiosity and inspire your creativity.

The world needs to see more of your art.



Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will; it is always interesting.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When I was young…

Dad and Lily pose in front of her pencil wall art

Dad and I pose in front of my pencil wall art

I was a curious child who took to writing on the walls of our house. My parents let me draw freely—in pencil—on the bedroom walls; walls hidden from the scrutiny of visitors who might question such permissive expression.

I loved to watch my mom write aerograms to family back home—Chinese characters made with the quick strokes of a Bic ballpoint. My dad used a pointed pen dipped in sumi ink that made pleasant scratchy sounds on paper. Not careful about cleaning his nibs, each writing session would begin with a ritual—pen points flamed with a butane lighter to burn off the residual ink.

I couldn’t wait to learn how to write!

Decades later, I am still curious about anything to do with writing.

Now that I’m older…

Lily at WorkIn my earlier career, I composed text for precise meaning. I still love wrangling wayward texts to bring clarity.

In my role as an artist, I shape text in creative ways to bring delight and contemplation.

Using mixed media, I design artist books, sharing what I discover by teaching art workshops. This dichotomy of precision and experimentation sets me on a lifelong design quest.

Insomnia; mixed media on Arches 140 lb. watercolour paper

Insomnia. Mixed media on watercolour paper.

For over 30 years, words and letters have been my medium. Call me a calligrapher, a lettering artist, or a text artist. I may not be a traditional scribe, but I value the legacy of letters.

My preference is for lettering that pushes the limits of letterforms. The marks may or may not be legible; they become a design element. The function of the individual elements is not immediately evident, but upon closer examination may reveal their meaning and purpose.

It’s gratifying to create opportunities for viewers to experience those delightful “aha” moments when meaning dawns.

That is the quest.