As expansive as the world of lettering is, there are certain artists whose work cuts through the noise of serifs and ink traps to demand closer inspection. Noah Camp does just that with an atmospheric, typographic playground of 3D letter renderings immersive enough to reach out and touch— or even eat.
Camp first snagged our attention here at PRINT with his 90s Nibbles letter series last year. He’s a wizard when it comes to capturing texture in his 3D animations, and he has a particular specialty for food renderings. In addition to 90s Nibbles, Camp has flexed these skills in his impressive Idiyums project, where he interprets phrases like “don’t get it twisted” into clever pretzel and mustard letterforms, or spells out “holla!” with the golden braids of challah bread.
It’s easy to be enchanted by Camp’s comforting, nostalgic designs, which use lighthearted, bubbly figures and pastel color palettes to create a sugary world that feels like an escape. Camp answered a few of our questions about his journey and practice below.
How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
I like bold, vibrant, and playful, yet organized art. My default mode is pretty dark and scary, so my art feels like the opposite: joyful, fun, and bold. My art is my playground and therapy.
Where does your love of hand-lettering come from?
The most important event that led me to lettering and calligraphy was a jealousy I noticed for the artist Sean Wes back in 2014. I was doing graphic design at the time, working with any clients that would come my way. I didn’t understand why I was kind of angry at this hand-lettering artist with a podcast who was just trying to help people; turns out I wanted to do what he did. I took his online hand-lettering course, and I fell in love with all things letters. So always follow your jealousy.
Why 3D animation? What is it about this form of creative expression that pulled you in?
I’ve loved 3D animation for as long as it has been available to my eyeballs. The way an artist can express surrealistic ideas in such a virtually touchable medium has always fascinated me. Seeing some amazing 3D illustrations is what ultimately sold me on 3D design, especially the expressive 3D type of artists like Chris Labrooy, Peter Tarka, and Zigor Samaniego. I focused on lettering at first and expanded from there. 3D animation was the natural next step, as I love a challenge. I don’t feel comfortable unless I’m learning.
What tools and programs do you use the most for your practice?
You will mainly find me click-click-clicking in Cinema 4D with Redshift, or Octane to render. I use Zbrush sometimes for sculpting, and Adobe After Effects and Photoshop are used for editing. If need be, Illustrator is used for vectorizing, and Procreate on iPad is used for sketching, mostly.
You’re a master at creating the effect of touchable textures in your work. What’s your process like for achieving this?
Well, thanks! I think having an eye for textures is the key to getting good textures. So much of working in 3D is tweaking settings, so knowing when you’ve hit that sweet spot is key.