THE TOP COAT: Elizabeth of @thegraytergood

13th Feb 2021

Liz Gray is a lettering artist, illustrator, and muralist, but she’s better known around the internet as @thegraytergood. She lives in Virginia with her husband and her cat Emmy, and enjoys creating content and client work from the comfort of her home studio. Her style of work is usually characterized by the use of a black + white color palette and is detailed, modern, playful, and legible.

Elizabeth Gray

Do you remember when you got into nail polish?

I actually can’t remember not being into nail polish. The earliest evidence I can find is from my 2014 Instagram where I slapped a heavy sepia filter over some pink polish, but I also recall being very frustrated with my food service job at the time specifically because it was nearly impossible to have nice nails.

Elizabeth Gray

When did you start lettering and how did you get into it?

I attempted lettering first in early 2015 but didn’t pursue it regularly until 2016. It turned from posting on IG a few times into participating in challenges and opening an Etsy shop, and further into expanding my skillset/style to client work, content creation, and collaborations with other businesses. Looking back now, I can see that I was always interested in art and typography but didn’t know the word for it or that you could even make a career out of playing with letters.


What has your favorite lettering project been so far?

It’s so hard to choose, but it’s probably the giant sketchbook mural I did for the Love Letters Museum in 2019. I’d created several sketchbook murals on the floor in my apartment just for fun, which led to me being contacted by someone I admire so much in the lettering community and they asked me to create one and participate in this interactive museum. Knowing that something I made hung next to the work of brilliant and successful artists still makes me tear up on occasion.

Elizabeth Gray

What’s your favorite kind of content to create?

I think it’s a tie between a time-lapse of the artistic process, and the styled quick-cuts popularized by TikTok and now IG Reels. Watching a few hours condensed into 30-ish seconds is extremely satisfying but is more difficult to capture, and shooting just a few seconds of your workflow at a time is definitely easier but the editing time increases with every angle you add. I enjoy creating video content more than photography at this point and am excited to finally try my hand at Youtube this year.

What’s one way you treat yourself?

Spending a lot of time doing my nails is some of my favorite me time, but when I’m not filming content or lettering for clients you can find me trying to catch up on my TBR pile, crocheting like an amateur, using my culinary background to bake some delicious, or adding songs to my many Spotify playlists.

Elizabeth Gray

Top 3 Cirque Colors products?

Definitely the Crystal Nail File because that’s been a gamechanger for me and taken my nails from peel-prone to pristine. The Looking Glass Top Coat is a holy grail product and it’s so good that I can’t use anything else now (I currently have 5 bottles on hand). And last but certainly not least, Chiffon is the sheer pink base that I use for all (and I mean all but it’s the perfect tone for my skin) of my negative space manicures.