Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
As a child, my love for art was evident from a young age. I would spend hours drawing every single day, finding joy in the act of creating. The pinnacle of my early artistic journey was when my grandpa proudly pinned my artwork on the wall. His support meant the world to me, especially considering he was an artist himself, albeit not professionally.
During my formative years, the prevailing belief around me was that pursuing art as a full-time career was a challenging path. Consequently, I initially set my sights on becoming a kindergarten teacher, as I believed it to be a practical and fulfilling choice. I completed my degree in education and set out on that path, but deep down, my passion for art remained steadfast.
It was during my time in art college, in my early twenties, that I had a revelation. I discovered that I could intertwine my two greatest passions: helping children grow and illustrating for them. It was a true epiphany that allowed me to align my dreams with a career path that would fulfill my artistic inclinations.
Now, as an illustrator, I am living my dream life, and it brings me immense joy. I feel a profound sense of gratitude, knowing that I am fortunate enough to do what I love every day. The work I create for young generations not only allows me to express my creativity but also makes a meaningful impact in their lives.
The belief that art and storytelling have the power to shape and inspire young minds is a core principle that drives me. I firmly believe that the authors I collaborate with and the illustrations I create play a significant role in shaping the perspectives and imaginations of the next generation.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have found a profession that brings me such fulfillment, where my passion for art and my desire to nurture and guide young minds converge. It is a mutually rewarding experience, where the love I pour into my illustrations is reciprocated by the positive impact they have on the lives of children.
I wake up every day excited to embark on this creative journey, knowing that I am living the life I once only dreamed of. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to make a difference through my illustrations and to contribute to the growth and development of future generations.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
I have successfully completed my bachelor's degree in arts, specializing in graphic design. Throughout my academic journey, book illustration has consistently been my favorite subject, and it comes as no surprise given my deep passion for it. What truly enhanced my growth as an illustrator was the invaluable experience of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared my interests, offering me diverse perspectives and insights.
I would like to take a moment to share some significant milestones in my artistic journey. The first set of images I would like to present are from my initial venture into illustrating a book. In 2017, I was assigned the task of bringing Little Red Riding Hood to life as a school project. These images represent my early exploration and experimentation in the realm of book illustration.
Moving forward, I would like to showcase the subsequent set of images, which originate from my second book project, a year later. It was during this project that I not only illustrated the story but also had the privilege of authoring it. Embracing the realm of digital illustration, I took a bold step forward in my artistic journey. Although these two books may not currently be a part of my portfolio due to my evolving style, I feel confident in sharing them as they symbolize the significant strides I took in shaping my career.
These early works hold a special place in my heart, as they mark the humble beginnings of my artistic endeavors. They represent the determination and dedication I poured into honing my skills and establishing a solid foundation for my future as an illustrator. While my style has since developed and evolved, I believe it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the progress I have made by revisiting these significant first steps.
What was your first commission as a professional illustrator?
My journey as a book illustrator began unexpectedly four years ago while I was working as an art teacher, just two years after graduating. A parent approached me with a dream of publishing a book, and without hesitation, I eagerly took on the opportunity. I had the privilege of creating both the cover and interior illustrations for their fantasy book. Even now my mother still proudly displays a copy of that book in a place of honor at their home.
Continuing on this serendipitous path, I embarked on a second project with the same author. Working with them gave me the confidence to pursue illustration as a full-time career earlier than I had ever imagined. To this day, I am grateful for the experience.
I have attached the two book covers for your reference. Although the style I employed in these illustrations pushed me out of my comfort zone and doesn't fully represent my current artistic identity, I cherish the valuable contribution they made to my journey and the person I have become today.
Which project are you most proud of?
Completing a project fills me with mixed emotions—a bittersweet blend of joy and nostalgia.
Bid farewell to a character, knowing they will find their rightful place in the hands of smart and beautiful children, evokes a twinge of sadness. Yet, it is a testament to the purposeful journey of each creation.
I take pride in every project I have undertaken, as each one reflects a unique chapter of my artistic evolution. Among them, my favorites are those that empower children to believe in themselves and embrace the entirety of their emotions—both the light and the heavy. I deliberately avoid labeling them as "good" or "bad," for such dichotomies tend to foster unnecessary divisions.
In the end, it is the collective impact of these projects that brings me both joy and a sense of fulfillment, knowing that my illustrations have the potential to touch the hearts and minds of young readers in meaningful ways.