Duration: Three years.
Location: Toronto, Canada.
Education: BDes in illustration from OCAD University, Toronto, Canada.
Career path: I have always been fond of creating art. It was natural for me to go to an art college. At the time, my motivation for pursuing art was in the interest of self-expression; OCAD has a strong focus on conceptual illustration, and studying there, I was exposed to illustration as a communication tool. My career as an illustrator started slowly and steadily; at first, I scarcely received assignments, which gave me ample time to experiment and analyze my work to find my own voice. I consistently sent out mailers and entered many competitions to promote myself, such as American Illustration, Society of Illustrators and 3x3. Slowly, work became more consistent.
Artistic influences: While my sources of inspiration change as I grow, I always gravitate towards strong narratives. As a child, I was immersed in the fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers. In my teenage years, I was profoundly interested in Japanese anime and artists of the surreal movement, like Salvador Dali and René Magritte. During college, I was introduced to both old and contemporary masters of illustration and design. Nowadays, I find inspirations from films, and of course, from daily observations.
Work environment: I have a studio at my parents’ house in the suburbs of Toronto, where I can look out on the woods and farmlands on the other side of the road. When I have a creative block or need a break, I take a stroll on nearby trails. My studio setup is quite simple: I have one table where I work with my brushes and paints and another with my iMac and Cintiq. I also have a pet cockatoo who visits my studio from time to time.
Aspirations: In the future, I hope to apply my illustration to a wider field and work on larger, longer projects in publishing and advertising.
Philosophy: Be persistent when others tell you “No.” Be critical of your own work. Always look for ways to improve.