Playful and delightful. These two adjectives perfectly apply to Hsin Yi Chen's (aka Hsinyi Chen) work. What I love more about her illustrations is that every single piece will tell you a little story: Young kids having fun during Christmas, two girls enjoying hot summer days and even some friends laughing together! (About what, it's up to you to imagine!) All these scenes are perfectly created in watercolors! Do you want to know a little bit about this wonderful artist? Here is a fun interview just for you:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an illustrator?
A: Like most artists, I have loved drawing since I was a little girl. I got my first art education in middle school. At that time, I was totally in love with the magic of art, and drawing was literally the only thing I cared about in my life. However, for some reason, I couldn’t continue my education with fine art programs after that. It was harsh for me, but I chose to continue with interior design and architecture design. After I finished my masters program, I worked as an urban designer for a while. For all those years, even though I was not drawing as much as before, I still kept a very high interest in art. I knew there was always a voice deep inside my heart telling me to pick up my pencils and brushes again. The turning point was during a job transition period. I mentioned my artist dream to my husband, and he was so sweet to tell me that I should go for it. Therefore, with his support, I started to draw again, and found a great amount of joy by making this choice. I am really happy that I am finally able to follow my heart to pursue my dream, and also feel really grateful to have art back as the focus of my life.
Q: How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
A: I try to stay aware of the things surrounding me. A lot of my ideas come from life experience. It could be from my own experience or maybe from people around me. Watching movies, browsing random stuff online, wandering in book stores, or taking a walk in nature all can possibly help me to get some new ideas. It mostly happens while I am doing something other than sitting at my drawing table. One thing I found very helpful to myself is that, when something just randomly pops up, I’ll write it down in my notebook or just simply take a note in my phone so I have some ideas to refer to later when I am starting a new piece.
Q: Your style is truly unique! Was it hard to find it?
A: I didn’t really try to find a style consciously, it kind of just came naturally over time. I consider my style to be a combination of lots of different influences from things I love. I was really into Japanese manga during my teenage years, and I also got caught up in some simple but cute and easy to read comics later on. Also, the work of Studio Ghibli has always been one of my top favorites. These elements definitely influenced me and helped to shape my style. But I think the style is still evolving since I always like to experiment with new techniques, and discover new awesome things.
Q: What do enjoy drawing the most?
A: I like to draw girls, children and animals, and I draw a lot of them. If I had to pick a favorite, I think I would say drawing children is the one I enjoy the most, because they just always make me smile.
Q: Do you have any current side project you would like to share with us?
A: I am planning to start a personal project for telling stories based on some classic stories or old fairy tales. I would like to extend my story telling abilities by composing several pieces together since my current work is mostly single pieces.
Feeling like checking out more of Hsinyi's work? Just head to her website!