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Thursday 23 November 2023

Meet The Illustrator: Lisa Wee

Lisa Wee

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
I am an illustrator that celebrates diversity and inclusivity.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My creative process is intricately tied to one essential item - my Ipad Pro with ProCreate. 

This remarkable tool empowers me to carry my work with me across the globe. I vividly recall a moment during my travels to Bangkok when an unexpected assignment surfaced. Thanks to my Ipad Pro, I could seamlessly create while on the move, infusing my work with the new sensory experiences of my surroundings. It's a bridge that connects my art to the world, providing a unique perspective that I'd miss if confined to my home studio.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
My favourite medium has to be colour pencils, and ProCreate has enabled me to replicate their magic flawlessly. I've collected a plethora of colour pencil brushes that mimic the natural texture of paper, allowing me to achieve a lifelike, hand-drawn effect on my digital canvas. It's like having a vast collection of real colour pencils at my disposal, making my artistic journey in the digital realm incredibly authentic and enjoyable.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Oliver Jeffers' fusion of traditional painting and childlike character development is truly a masterpiece because it combines the timeless beauty of traditional art techniques with the relatable and endearing qualities of childlike characters. This fusion creates a unique visual language that can connect with people of all ages and evoke a sense of nostalgia and wonder. His characters often convey a sense of innocence and curiosity, which can be deeply inspiring for my work.
Jon Klassen's simplicity in character design is a testament to the power of minimalism in storytelling. The stillness of his characters allows their emotions and intentions to shine through, primarily through their expressive eyes. This subtlety is an art in itself, and it demonstrates how even the most minimal elements can convey rich layers of meaning and depth.

Rebecca Green's highly textured and unusual character poses bring a dynamic quality to her work. This dynamism adds a level of intrigue and excitement to her characters, making them stand out and capture attention. Her ability to craft characters that feel unique and vibrant can be a valuable source of inspiration for infusing her work with a sense of originality.

Each of these artists brings a distinct approach to character development and storytelling, and by drawing inspiration from their work, I can enhance my own artistic endeavours and create characters that are both relatable and visually captivating.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
1800s where profession illustrators fully takes hold. English and French caricaturists independently earned a living as full-time illustrators with sales of etched or engraved prints through small, gallery-like print shops and city street book stalls. This made illustration accessible and affordable. Books by Charles Dickens and other popular writers were illustrated throughout.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My grandparents were always fearful about my pursuit of a career as an artist. It may have stemmed from concerns about my financial stability, which is a common worry in creative professions. However, their decision to provide me with art classes from a young age showed their underlying support for my passion. They realized the importance of nurturing my talent and creativity. When I achieved my first assignment as a picture book illustrator, it was a significant milestone, and I bought an expensive cup of coffee as a way for me to commemorate their support and acknowledge the love they've shown me throughout the years. That moment likely reinforced the idea that dedication to art was worthwhile and rewarding.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
My work space is mostly at my hiking trail. Hiking functions as a means of meditation and mental solace for me. When I'm on the hiking trail, I leave behind all distractions and fully immerse myself in the tranquillity of the natural surroundings.
Consequently, I become more observant of the intricate details in the forest and engage in studying the patterns and colours present in the environment. Being an artist, I can't resist envisioning my illustrations in my mind as I trek, and I make an effort to recreate those mental images unto my IPad Pro.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I love the process of creating dynamic storyboarding. It is a way to engage children by uniting the story with an emotion. In a story, the best way to weave a lot of information into the telling yet able arouse our children’s emotions and energy is setting of dynamic poses or layout.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
To my aspiring illustrator friends, it's essential not to be fearful of expanding your illustrative processes. Here's why:
Continuous Growth: Pushing the boundaries of your illustration techniques and style is essential for personal and professional growth. Embrace experimentation and new challenges to keep evolving as an artist.
Learning from Others: Observing and learning from other artists should be a source of inspiration, not jealousy. Every artist has a unique journey, and you can gain valuable insights from their experiences and techniques.
Diverse Inspiration: By learning from others, you expose yourself to a diverse range of artistic styles and ideas. This can enrich your own creative process and help you develop a unique voice.
Fueling Inspiration: When you see the work of others that inspires you, it can serve as a powerful motivator to improve your skills. It's a reminder that there's always room for growth and development in your art.
Artistic Community: Building a supportive artistic community can be incredibly beneficial. Sharing your work and learning from others fosters a sense of belonging and helps you feel that your work is part of a broader artistic conversation.
Evolving Art: Your art is a reflection of your journey as an illustrator. Embracing change and growth in your work ensures that your creations remain fresh and relevant. It's a sign that your art is alive and evolving.
So, don't let fear hold you back. Embrace the opportunity to expand your illustrative processes, learn from others, and keep pushing your understanding of what makes a great illustration. In doing so, you'll keep your work vibrant and continually progressing.

Lisa Wee is an illustrator who specializes in diversity and inclusion, she is committed to creating illustrations that reflect and celebrate the diversity of our society. Lisa understands the importance of representation and strives to create images that are inclusive, respectful, and affirming. She has had the privilege of working with Celebrity Top Chef Kristen Kish, MITKids_an imprint of Candlewick, Babybug, Ladybug magazine, Storymix_UK, Mighty Kind Magazine, Tool of the mind, etc.

Lisa is represented by Hilary Hartwell of KT literary and open for commission.

For more information, please visit Lisa;s website or follow her on instagram.