Monday Motivation with Colin Tierney

As a child, I used to ride my bike every single day. It was a way for me to escape and feel like I could do whatever I wanted within the confines of my neighborhood. I also grew up with a love for drawing. When I was inside—I was drawing and when I was outside—I was biking.
So you can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to marry these two passions into one weekly post by illustrating uplifting phrases for State Bicycle Co.
My name is Colin Tierney and I’m a hand lettering artist based out of Baltimore, Maryland. For the past 8 weeks, you may have seen some of my work grace beautiful photography in the form of a State Bicycle Co. post for their Monday Motivation series. Thanks to a recommendation from my good buddy and fellow lettering artist, Eric Friedensohn (@efdot), I was approached by Mehdi of State Bicycle Co. and asked to be their featured artist for two months. It has been nothing short of an awesome honor!
My goal for this series was to create authentic lettering phrases—each varying in style—that personally resonated with me. Thanks to the internet, we hear and see motivational phrases almost daily and often times these phrases can come across as trite; however, it’s difficult to determine the banality when all it takes is changing the course of just one person’s day who happened upon these inspiring words.
I decided to challenge myself and digitize each phrase from the series (with the exception of the Rise Up post—a last minute decision to honor Paris due to the tragic events that transpired a few days prior) so that I could practice the discipline that is required to complete a vectored piece within the constraint of a week. This was a difficult process for a perfectionist like me to accomplish. Since I can relate to “the artist is never satisfied with their own work” idiom, it’s easy for me to tinker with letterforms for weeks without a resolution.


It would have been much easier to scan my sketches and slap them onto a photo, but I wanted to better myself both personally (learning patience and efficiency) and professionally (all hand lettering artists have room to improve their bezier curve game) by creating smooth vector images through this repetitive 8 week series. Sure, I could have spent more time on each piece, but I’m happy with the outcome and as a result, I’ve accelerated my process from conception to completion. Much like riding a bicycle, to maintain balance I had to keep moving along.

Thank you so much for following along in this brief part of my journey. It has been a pleasure to work alongside State Bicycle Co. Feel free to follow the rest of my journey at or @TierneyStudio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.