Instagram: @nicolexu_
Twitter: @nicolexu_
Website: www.nicole-xu.com


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

I’m an illustrator who was born in Shanghai, grew up in Vancouver, and am now based in Brooklyn, NY. I went to Rhode Island School of Design and have been freelancing ever since I graduated in 2016!


2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I like my work to be gentle and introspective. I often use a limited color palette and subtle detailing.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Most of my work is done digitally, although I have recently started to work with ink. Working digitally allows me the greatest control over my work, while using ink creates a lot of nuances that I can’t recreate using only the computer.

4. What is your artistic process like?

It depends! Some days, I immediately get an image in my head of what I want to create, and get straight to drawing. Other times, I have to go through twenty horrible sketches to find an idea that I like. Once I come up with an idea, I sketch it out, paint with ink, scan, and add colors/adjustments on Photoshop, or sometimes I just go straight to digital off the bat.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I’m a big consumer of all things creative, from books, films, music, and of course fine art. Everything I see and experience influences how I think, and that filters into my work. As for artists, I really look up to James Jean, Micah Lidberg, and Jillian Tamaki to name a few.

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

Art plays one of the biggest roles in my life. I was always a quiet, shy kid growing up and art allowed me to express myself and impress people enough to become my friends. It helps me organize my thoughts and keeps me grounded.


7. Where did you study?

I studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design.

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

I honestly love working freelance, and hope to continue to do so and be able to collaborate with a lot of great designers and artists. It would also be cool to make a picture book or put on a solo gallery show!

9. What about in ten?

It’s hard to think so far ahead, but I have my heart set on adopting a dog by then!

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



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

Sushi’s my staple food in Vancouver. Oh, and I’d never say no to a nice bowl of noodles.

12. Favourite book?

Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

13. Favourite genre of music?

That’s a hard question since it changes with my mood. I’m listening to a lot of Mitski and Made in Heights at the moment.

14. What are your hobbies?

You can usually find me bundled up in blankets reading, watching films or playing rogue-like indie games.

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

I used to play a lot of instruments and I’ve always wanted to compose film scores and video game soundtracks!