The Q&A: Lisa Gorham

By Peggy Roalf   Monday December 7, 2015

Q: Originally from Ontario, what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Maryland?

A: I was born and raised in beautiful, cosmopolitan Toronto, Canada, surrounded by museums, galleries, parks, and countless phenomenal gastro destinations. In 2004 I moved to quaint historic Frederick, Maryland, an hour from both Baltimore and Washington DC. I absolutely love the friendly, arts-rich character of historic downtown Frederick. I live and work steps away from galleries, parks, fabulous wine bars and restaurants—always great for inspiration.

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between the art you create on paper versus in the computer?

A: Definitely, I have three sketchbooks going right now. I start my design projects with pencil on paper and take those sketches to the computer where I refine and finalize. The same is true for Illustration projects, there’s just a lot more time in sketch phase. 



Beethovan and Bach drawings

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: Honestly, my brand new iMac. I do so much of my work on it. It’s where I refine my sketched ideas, build out options, and create final work. Second most important item, my sketchbooks, where the ideas are born.

Q: What do you like best about your workspace?

A: My sweet little Boston Terrior, her name is Shiraz. She keeps me company while I work. (Or maybe she’s art directing me.)

Do you think it needs improvement, if so, what would you change?

A: I wish my workspace had more natural light. I wish I had floor to ceiling windows.

Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: I’m not sure I’m ever finished. But if the story is there and it feels right, then I know it’s ready. 

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: The Legend of the Three Sisters. My dad, who’s Australian, used to read this mythological story to me as a child. (When he would read it to me, I wanted to grow up and be the one who saves the three sisters from being trapped inside the mountain.)

What is the best book you’ve recently read?

The Brand Gap by Mary Neumeier. I love working on brands and this is a brand bible to me.


Schubert and Mozart drawings 

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: Pencil and paper!

Q: If you could time travel to any era, any place, where would you go?

A: The roaring 20’s looked like such good fun. I wonder what it would have been like to live, work, and party in NYC in the 20’s.

Q: What is preoccupying you at the moment?

A: Currently, I'm working with a new client on a start-up brand identity project. This particular project requires that I work outside of the "typical" and push the boundaries of the “usual,” creating the cornerstone of a truly magnetic brand.

Q: What are some of your favorite places/books/blogs/websites for inspiration?

A: I'm constantly perusing Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest, Google Images, and Instagram for reference and inspiration.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art?

A: Gosh, there are so many. But if I had to pick just one, it would be Cubism. It helped me to see a breakdown of shapes, details, and color in a subject.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Unlimited lobster and king crab legs with unlimited bottles of 2010 Trius Grand Red to wash it all down. (And pumpkin New York-style cheesecake for dessert, of course.)

Lisa GorhamI'm an advocate for creative, clean, and thoughtful design—passionate about the world of design, illustration, typography, color, and communication problem solving. My gainfully-employed design career began in my hometown of Toronto, 20 or so years ago, working for both large and small studios. After moving to the US in 2004, I continued the creative journey in print and interactive solutions serving as Art Director at Garbo Design House and most recently, Jean Peterson Design. Now I'm freelancing, creating and collaborating with some fantastic clients. 

Giving back has always been important to me. I've been lucky enough to serve as an American Advertising Awards judge for some fantastic American Advertising Federation (AAF) clubs; Volunteered my time on the AAF-Greater Frederick (AAF-GF) board of directors; Since 2005 I've served on the AAF–GF’s American Advertising Awards committee (including co-chairing the event, twice... It's that much fun!); And each year I serve as a portfolio reviewer for AAF–GF/AIGA's Student Portfolio Boot Camp.

When I'm not being all-design-like, you can find me out and about. I've explored 22 Caribbean islands; Climbed Gros Piton mountain; Became a certified open water diver; Got my motorcycle license and a motorcycle (I don't ride anymore. It scares me.); I'm a proud chartered member of Firestone's Ale & Lager Club (you have to drink 70 unique beers to get on the wall...not all at once); Love tiring out my Boston Terrier, Shiraz; and having as many adventures as possible with my family and friends.




LinkedIn: Lisa Gorham