ADC’s Illustration Month cheerfully soldiers on! We’ve been showcasing an awesome collection of creativity from our Members, whether they’re professionals, students or amateurs, and it’s been such a hit that we’ve expanded the “month” into February. It’s been a great joy to be able to show you all just how much talent there is from the illustrators in our community.
Wrapping up this week of Illustration Month is an ADC Member and Big Apple newcomer who is looking to meet others in the illustration community.
Just about every kid can draw, but not every kid is particularly gifted at it. Where did your childhood artistic inclinations come from?
I always liked drawing as a child. My family was always supportive of what I liked and they never pushed me to do something I didn’t like. I don’t have a genius art kid story, I just kept drawing while other kids stopped.
When did you discover that “Hey, this could actually be a career”?
When my teacher told me that money will follow if I do something I really like.
“I don’t have a genius art kid story, I just kept drawing while other kids stopped.”
How would you describe your illustrative style? Do you fight against having a particular style, or do you embrace your style as your “brand”?
Style comes just as a natural way to work for me. I would describe it textural and colorful. I try not to have a particular style in mind. I think that it is dangerous to constantly worry and have pressure to work in that way.
Walk us through your usual creative process.
I love exploring with the medium. I work in watercolor, gouache, color pencils, and whatever I can grab around my desk. I don’t plan a lot before I start, and many times I restart or repaint on top.
Tools of the trade: do you have any specific pens, pencils or other instruments that you swear by?
-I still use the same watercolor paints I got from Korea five years ago, I think I am now so used to controlling its thickness and saturation levels. For my other favorite palette, I have Sennelier watercolor paints. For the paper, I use Arches watercolor paper, and for my sketchbooks, I use Canson XL Mix media paper.
What is the most challenging thing about a career in illustration?
For me, being social and networking with other people is very challenging. Maybe it is because I just graduated and moved to a new city, but I found it very hard to meet new friends and new illustrators around. I think as I meet more people in the industry, I’ll feel safe by having a support group who shares similar goals.
Is there a particular project of yours of which you’re especially proud?
I worked as an illustrator at BuzzFeed, and I collaborated for the article called “How People Treat Mental Illness vs. How They Treat Physical Illness.” The article itself reached one million views on the site and spread out to blogs and mental illness organizations. I received many supportive emails and messages from people who have or had mental illness. Mental health is a topic that I care about and wanted to be involved in, so it was a meaningful work for me.
Cocktail party talk: how do you describe what you do to someone who isn’t in a creative field, and what’s the typical response you get from them?
Most people don’t know what illustration means when I introduce myself as an illustrator. I tell them specific fields such as children’s book or editorial, magazine and so on. I feel it would be easier to say that I have a regular job and work 9AM-5PM at a particular company. However, people usually respect my career as something that I really like and believe in.
“I feel it would be easier to say that I have a regular job and work 9AM-5PM at a particular company. However, people usually respect my career as something that I really like and believe in.”
Where do you seek out creative inspiration?
Going to galleries, seeing different types of work (not just illustrations) is always inspiring. Just experiencing new things and going outside gives me a good motivation.
At the end of the day, what do you love most about being an illustrator?
Illustration makes me feel like I’m a very happy little child again.
Illustration Month continues throughout January and February, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!