Duration: I have been working as a freelance illustrator for almost two years.
Location: Queens, New York.
Education: BFA in painting from Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea, and a BFA in illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida.
Career path: I’ve been interested in putting narrative into my work since I first started college back in Korea, when I tried creating sequential images through painting. After graduation, I worked as part of a movie production design team for a short time because I wanted to see the different ways they handled stories. Working in the movie industry was fun and affected a lot of my current thoughts and processes. It also made me realize how much I like drawing. Eventually, when looking for colleges outside of Korea, I discovered that there was a major called illustration. I am still figuring out how to incorporate story into my images, but at least I now know where I can start.
Artistic influences: I read a lot of Japanese comics and watched a lot of Japanese animations when I was younger. I don’t read or watch them as much now, but it definitely influenced the way I make images and stories. Fine art also affected how I create my work. I am inspired by Saul Leiter’s and Roger Deakins’s methods of creating mood, composition and scenes. I aspire to be like David Hockney; his drawings and paintings give me excitement every time I look at them.
Favorite project: I am still proud of an assignment I worked on back at Ringling College—a book I designed about Orpheus and Eurydice in printmaking class. For this project, I focused solely on drawing, and I enjoyed the whole process. This experience is precious to me because whenever my work starts to feel overwhelming and joyless, I can look back, retrace that project and enjoy illustrating again.
Work environment: I work in the basement of my apartment, so it is hard to get sunlight if I don’t have time to go out. In 2019, my wish is to go outside more often since I live in New York, where there are so many things happening every day.
Approach: I focus on crafting stories from mood. I draw the set in my mind and think of the space that fits the project or the mood I want to draw. After that, I think about character placement and lighting, like how a movie studio would.
Aspirations: I would like to animate more images—either GIFs or short moving comics. Since I grew up watching animations, I really want to challenge myself by creating moving images. Also, one of my goals is to illustrate a short comic in a zine.
Philosophy: Don’t be afraid of the blank page; it just means you have the freedom to do whatever you want.