illustration for Yue Hui magazine, about MAC lipsticks goetting popular in China since 1930s. 6/5/2015

1.Tell us about yourself what makes you tick?

I am a freelance illustrator who is currently located in NYC. I was originally from China, moved to the US about four years ago for the illustration graduate program from Maryland Institute College of Art. The reason for me to create such amount of works is really simple and straightforward; I want to have a healthy lifestyle, to find a balance between artwork and living. Creating works make me cheerful while the income can keep me traveling and buying more good books, and that is so important for me to not sit in front of the computer all day and all night without any rest. And I always want to believe that illustration is a naïve and pure approach to spread the feelings without hesitate, you cannot hide anything from your work. What you think reflect on your work. That reason can keep me working and share my thoughts through art to every audience.

2. How did you first get into illustration?

The moment I start reading comics I guess, I start to imagine owning an island when I was 5, drawing all the details and trying to arrange the location of trees and houses makes me wonder if I could create more and more to make the imaginary world a better place. Drawing at that moment is the most beautiful memory I have ever experienced, I was even looking forward to the summer because the clouds are in a better shape so that could create magical world on top of them. Drawing makes everything from my brain comes true.

3. How would you best describe your style of illustration?

I would say whimsical, simple, optimistic.

4. What have you been doing since you graducated?

I have experienced probably the most difficult time after graduated from the grad program. I start publishing works, stories, comics on magazine in China since 18 years old, and have several books out too, when I decided to come to the US, I was like a piece of blank paper with nothing on it, no one knows you, no one wants to work with me. And after I moved to NY, I have 3 months without any jobs. I was too shy to send out promote emails to art directors until I got an email from the NY Times. I missed their jobs for 3 times because the timing of the email is too urgent, I replied 30 min late and the job was not mine. I finally got it the fourth time, and got more jobs from others. Now I am thankful to have a routine, and the memory of working with the NY Times taught me well. Now I am mostly working on editorial illustrations and book illustrations.

Asiana Airline. 12/2014

5. What publishers have you worked with so far?

United Nation, New York Times, HSBC, Warby Parker, Abrams Books, Monocle, Medium, Atlanta Magazine, Mr Porter Magazine, Wissen Magazine, Scientific American, Travel+Leisure, Nautilus Magazine, CIMA FM, ELLE MEN, Huffington Post, Modern Farmer, Bust Magazine, Asiana Airline,Explore Magazine, Corporate Knghts, Wired, The Glenlivet, Lohus Magazine, Firewords Quarterly, Hyphen Magazine, Time Our New York, Time Out Kids, GREY, Yue Hui Magazine, Fast Company Magazine, Life Magazine, JESS3,  PLANSPONSOR, Chief Investment Officer, Digiday, Children`s Literature and so on.

The New York Times

6. Do you have side projects you work on?

Yes, I am working on some zines and some of my own stories, and do doodle for fun daily.

7. Please take us through your design process, Where do you start?

I really like to start from thumbnails, a small tofu size sketch, and start doodling bigger size on computer. I also like to doodle sketches on my ipad on the go.

8. What tools do you use for your work?

I mainly use Photoshop. I still do hand drawings but digital media can make changes faster. That is the only reason I kept most of my working process in computer.

Travel +Leisure. 2015

9. How is your personality reflected in your work?

I myself is a happy person, and I do know some part of me is filled with emotions and sensibilities. I like to draw illustrations that have mood in them, and characters are often interactive with the environment well.

10. When Illustrating, do you sometimes get blocked for ideas? if so, how do you overcome that?

Some editorials for heavy themes such as government decisions and economic problems. When I get these jobs, I will think very hard to draw sketches far away from those key words, but somehow it has connections with the theme itself in a softer way. A good way for me to practice is listing keywords from the article and pick the one that is easy for me to picture in my mind.

11. Are there particular illustrators or designer that have influenced you?

I really like Dadu Shin and Tatsuro Kiuchi, also Keith Negley`s art is so beautiful.

12. What is the best/worst piece of advice that you have ever recieved from someone within the industry?

Best: Don`t draw too hard to show off skills while illustrating. Treat it as playful process.
Worst: Play a role into the article as an actor/actress instead of leading the project as an film director.

This series is for the Chinese translated version of the famous novel When Marnie was there, written by Joan G. Robinson. 

13. Is there anything that bothers you in this industry?

A lot of illustrators they are trying too hard to mimic other peoples style, and I think the word style is too over rated in the industry.

14. Where do you see yourself going or where do you like to be right now?

I want to be a better person rather than being a better illustrator, I always believe that you show who you are and what you think in your art. Learning new things and be happy is way more important. I use to be bad at managing my time. As for my work, I want to create loose works like my sketches.
I always do sketches very loose but tight on finals. I am thinking about changing that.

15. Your #1 art tip or word of wisdom?

Don`t trying to get on the magazines and books too hard, it will come when it should. Push it too hard may get you something, but your works won`t be the same.


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