1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I’m Ji Yeun Kang, an illustrator based in South Korea, creating diverse illustrations usually for kids of young adults, sometimes collaborating with some fashion brands and companies.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My works are originated from somewhat Korean traditional culture in its mood and colors, but I always try to add up a modern touch on it. I think a story or message is essential for illustration. So whether or not I achieve that goal is also a very important component of my work, too.
3. What is your favorite medium and why?
I usually work with photoshop on my laptop. Digital work frees from the limitation of place. It turns every place I stay in my office.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Once I got a text or inspiration, I imagine an image of my mind. Then I start to research diverse data according to it. On the next stage, I start quick drawing with some long lines as long as I can use it. It helps my drawings be more mine. I regard my free drawing style as important because it is originated from my hundreds of exercises. From these rough sketches, I settle up the last cut and start to color on it. In this stage, I tend to apply limited color and try to capture fluent light.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I still have picture books I read in my childhood. The such a wonderful world that was unfolded in my mind while I read and see those books is the basis of my work.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Illustration has been the greatest support in my life. It made it easy to forget the hard times and enrich the happy times. I always want to share the precious moments that I feel while drawing with people who see my works.
7. Where did you study?
I majored in visual communication design at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll still be going to do the lovely thing I do. Working with a wide range of clients from different countries would be nice, too.
9. What about in ten?
The environment of illustrators in Korea is hard, so I want to do something helpful to improve those things for younger illustrators.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
To communicate with more and more people and share my imaginary world which is originated from my cultural heritage with them.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Lots of kinds of Indian curry is my favorite. Japanese noodle and Thai noodle is my preference, too. It is strange to hear! There is no Korean food!😅
12. Favourite book?
As I said, the picture book I saw in my childhood. It contained diverse stories like Hansel and Gretel, Blue beard, etc.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I tend to hear music while I do coloring something. The genre is different depending on the emotion. In cloudy weather like today, I would like to listen to the songs of Portishead or Bjork. This may be a kind of ‘Trip hop’ genre.
14. What are your hobbies?
I spend lots of time with my 2 children. They are very young, just 4 and 1. Do things here and there for them and draws for clients, my days go so fast. Little time of chat with my friends with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake is enough for me. 🙂
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Well, before being an artist, I was a graphic designer for children’s books. If I hadn’t decided to become an illustrator, I would still be designing various books for children and also be in love with the job.