Drawing Out The Best In You

Jacqueline Chan – An aspiring creative with a big love for illustrative typography, hoping to bring to others her dose of visual candy.

Sharing something that you love doing with others can be exciting and daunting at the same time. When it comes the world of art and creativity you know that you will have your fair share of admirers as well as critics… and that can be a little intimidating to say the least!

That’s why this week SO wanted to chat with the lovely Jackie, a young graphic designer based in Sydney, about her work, inspirations and what she does to grow artistically and professionally whilst keeping true to herself and her own style.

SO… Jackie… What inspired you to get into visual design? What is it about the world of design that you love?

I’ve always been interested in illustrating, even at a young age – as long as I had some paper and pencils, I was set! I guess I enjoyed it so much because I was able to sit there and get lost in my own world without a care what so ever. Even throughout high school, it was all I wanted to do.

Uni eventually came around and I had the choice to go and focus solely on illustrating, but I decided to pick a course of Visual Arts and Design, which touched based on everything – Painting, illustrating, photography, even ceramics! It wasn’t until then that I veered more towards graphic design – that was pretty much the first time I was introduced to it. Learning everything step by tiny step, seeing that the possibilities of your imagination was pretty much endless – I just had a new found love for it. Realising things that could look so simple but really wasn’t simple at all, I had just gained more appreciation for it all.

I can honestly say that I don’t illustrate as much as I used to anymore since I’ve been in graphic design, but when I do, I can spend hours on hours exploring the typefaces and even creating custom typography pieces for myself. I use the skills that I’ve learnt to transpose my pieces from paper to screen. Being able to merge the two techniques together is something that I love seeing the process of too. Traditional methods like pen and paper to me, will never die out.

Are there any particular designers or artists that you really admire? If so, why? 

There’s a handful that I draw inspiration from, but I’d say my tops would be these guys (not in any particular order):

  • Georgia Hill, for her hand drawn murals of custom typography. I love her use of bold typefaces and textures using black and white – even without color she manages to make everything pop so distinctively.
  • George Anzaldo – Hand letterer whose pieces are so smooth and simple; I can just stare at his work for ages.
  • Brian Woo (aka Doctor Woo) – One of my favourite tattoo artists. His pieces are so featherlike, smooth and fine-lined.. its almost unreal

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges working in design?

Besides the fact that I can be glued to a screen for hours on end, I find that the biggest challenges in working in design is that because it is such a subjective field to work it, it’s hard to please everyone. You could think that your putting your best work forward, but another person might see it as mediocre. That does burn the confidence a little, especially for me, as sometimes I just can’t help second guessing the work that I present. But over time you tend realise that everyone has their own tastes in design and style, and you just roll with the punches! You learn to not take criticism personally, and to use it as experience and direction, rather than obstacles you cant overcome.

Describe a dream project you would like to work on?

I’d love to be able to work on large-scale murals, something for the public to see to bring some brightness to streets and alleyways. That, and to be able to be confident enough to accept tattoo submissions. It sounds strange and random, but that’s a dream I’d like to make into a reality.

SO… What are some pearls of wisdom you have to encourage aspiring designers? 

Keep practicing in your field! Get as much experience as you can, whether it be in the industry, personal pieces or even picking up side jobs here and there. It’s great to be immersing yourself in design all the time and if you’re really passionate about it, it won’t feel like work – just another project you’re excited to see through.

You’ll find your skills will grow over time. I like to keep a visual diary for my work too, like Instagram. You really see how far you’ve come and it will motivate to you continue practicing to be where you want to be.

There was something really simple as well, that I came across while browsing through social media, which has stuck to me since. “Flowers are pretty, but so are Christmas lights, and they look nothing alike”. I guess that can be applied to a lot of aspects in someones life, but what I want to get across is that in regards to your work – don’t compare yourself to others!

I can admit that I was stuck in that box for a while, and really, I’m sure there’s a part of me that still is.. but its not a good thing to do as a designer. Everyone has their own different style, so if you start placing your work side by side to others, you’re not building on your own work but trying to emulate someone else’s.

SO… Like I said before, take any criticism you may get and turn it into experience and as a form of direction, not as obstacles in your path to creative success.


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