Instagram: @christina.illustrates


1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I was born outside of Davis, California, spent my childhood in Seattle, Washington and my adolescence in Singapore. My mom and dad are from Taiwan and Hong Kong respectively, so semi-annual visits throughout my life also play a big part in my personal identity. I’m currently based in Brooklyn, New York and have been for about 6 years now, after initially moving here to go to college.


2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

My aesthetic is heavily linear and pattern-based. I gravitate towards creating work that is sensitive and narrative, detailed but restrained. For me, it’s important to find a balance between creating a piece that’s aesthetically pleasing but still serves its purpose of telling a story.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I love working digitally because it gives me freedom to explore and make mistakes as much I want or need. Since the first time I worked digitally four years ago now, my work has evolved enormously and I’ve been able to really flesh out my visual identity as an illustrator. Of course, even as technology evolves it still can’t perfectly replicate the feeling of working traditionally. From time to time I still enjoy working in ink and graphite in my personal sketchbooks when I’m on the go.

4. What is your artistic process like?

My artistic process relies on an intense thumbnailing and sketch phase. I’ve sussed out my process enough to know now that I have to keep brainstorming until I reach that ‘eureka’ moment to create a piece I can truly be happy with, even if that means sitting at my desk all night waiting for the right idea. I’ve been working fully digitally now for about 7 months, and my process can be broken down into about 60% linework and shading, and 40% coloring, adding textures and making final adjustments.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I draw inspiration from flora and fauna, as well as East Asian art, religious iconography and textile design. I’m also inspired and influenced by the works of Victo Ngai, Yuko Shimizu, James Jean, Ray Morimura, Kay Nielsen, Alphonse Mucha and Henry Clarke.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art for me is a necessity, something that I need to exist, be it through experiencing the work of others or creating it myself. If I stop creating for too long, I get an itch to get back to it, and I’m very fortunate to be able to make a living off of satisfying that itch!

Being an artist and a visual person frames the way that I view the world. It allows me to appreciate it more in some ways, but it can be a nuisance when I notice a very badly designed subway ad on an hour-long commute.


7. Where did you study?

I studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, majoring in Communications Design with a concentration in Illustration.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

In five years I hope to still be a freelance illustrator, comfortably making a living off of what I love to do most in the world.

9. What about in ten?

In ten years, maybe I’ll have closed the New York City chapter of my life. I’d love to try living in Paris, Berlin or Taipei. In terms of illustration, I’d hope to write and illustrate my own children’s book!

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

My hope is that my work can be a transportive experience for others–a distraction from real life, if only for a moment, in the turn of a page.


11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

My favorite food is Taiwanese stinky tofu, which is unfortunate, as it can only be found in its true form on the streets of Taiwan. I’m currently counting down the days until my next trip back.

12. Favourite book?

It’s cliché, but The Great Gatsby.

13. Favourite genre of music?

I don’t have just one, I bounce back and forth between Romantic-era Classical, chillwave electronic and 1940s big band jazz to name a few.

14. What are your hobbies?

Illustration aside, I’m a cinophile and a bookworm.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

If I weren’t an artist I would have been a writer. Going to art school was actually somewhat of a last minute decision towards the end of high school. Nevertheless, I’m still telling stories through my work, via a visual medium, rather than putting pen to paper. I also entertain the fantasy of owning a café one day.