Interview with Matthew Morse (@heymatthew) - Penman Extraordinaire

Someone who's work and outlook (so it seems) on life that I respect is a gentleman named Matthew Morse.  I've been following Matthew on Instagram for awhile and thought it would be fun to get him on The Clicky Post as a guest and he graciously obliged.

I'll let Matthew take it away from here:

1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m a graphic designer specializing in book cover design. I’m originally from Charleston, SC where I got a degree in Graphic Design and a few years experience with one of the largest ad agencies in the Southeast. I now spend my time in the tiny southern town of Sumter, SC. We have an Air Force base and a Starbucks and that’s about it. I love what I do and I love it even more when others see my work and love it as much as I do.

2. What prompted you to learn the skills you have?  Did you receive any formal training?

Funny thing about “formal training”… I originally went to school for civil engineering. I got about halfway through and into my 300-level math courses and realized that I absolutely hated math. I had a knack for photography and a student version of Photoshop and kind of got my start designing album art for local bands. Looking back now, it’s amazing anyone ever gave me a dime for that crap, but it was a start and I realized that while I hated math, I absolutely loved design and the process of creating. I switched my program and the rest is history…  

Book covers

3. How do you use your skills in your work and daily life?

As a graphic designer, I really try to go to analog tools before touching a computer. In my line of work with tight deadlines, I’m not always afforded that luxury. Especially when it comes to book covers. Regardless of how I start designs, I try to spend a little time each day putting something down on paper. Whether that be doodling or lettering or writing… It’s a way for me to disconnect from the electronic world I find myself living in 10 hours a day and clear my head through something more organic. 

Matthew's cool workspace

4. Analog tools are an obvious part of your work; what are some tools you use most? (pens, ink, paper, etc)

Right now, I’m absolutely in love with the Horizon Folded Nibs from At $7 each, I tend to buy them a handful at a time and just go to town. I’ve always got a couple handy and ready to scribble out an awesome quote or some such thing. They fit my style really well and give me a chance to break away from the monotony of on-screen typography.

And I have to have awesome paper to put that nib to so I typically use Rhoda No. 18 Blank Pads. They give me lots of real estate to work with and they’re relatively cheap. And the paper holds ink really well with little to no bleed through or feathering.

I’m a big fan of Iroshizuku inks. They have incredible shading and when mixed and forced to dry under high heat, you really get some special sheen from most of them. Momiji is a favorite of mine as it lays down this brilliant reddish pink but when dried, you get this amazing gold-green sheen reminiscent of Rohrer & Klingner’s Alt-Goldgrün.

I carry an Apica A6 notebook with me daily in a One Star Leather Hobonichi Cover (it’s not made for the Apica, but it works perfectly) and I always have my Nock Co. Fodderstack XL on me with a couple of pens, a notebook and some Nock Co. Dot-Dash Cards.

5. If someone wanted to work with you, how could they find you?

I can be found online at and on Twitter and Instagram @HeyMatthew.

6. What is your favorite work you've done thus far?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but right now I’d have to say it’s my personal website. I went for a long, long time without a proper website. I never really had an organized portfolio and I seemed to focus so heavily on my clients that my own presentation got lost in the shuffle.

Last fall, I decided to really get going on new branding and a portfolio for myself to showcase my work. So sometime early this year I officially launched I’m really proud of where it’s at and I think after probably 8 logos in the last 10 years, I’ve found an identity that showcases what I do best.


Special thanks to Matthew for taking the time to share his story a bit with us!  Please take some time to review his social media accounts and website.