London born illustrator Juliana Wang has an elegant and intriguing way of combining intense color strokes, by the broad brush, with fine lines and detailed patterns. Juliana’s work has immediately drawn us in, and even when the pieces are made to compliment an article or text, they say so much more.
Juliana Wang has studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins and recently she did a scholarship at The Prince’s Drawing School. Beside doing different editorial commissions she also teaches at The Prince’s Trust Drawing Club at the Whitechapel Gallery. In all its layers, contrasts and brilliantly unusual coloring her illustrations manages to keep your eyes occupied for a long time and together the pieces form an adventurous universe begging for you to explore it. We really love the tactile feel in Juliana’s drawings and the way she balances the concrete with the mild abstract and surreal is refreshing, and something that we definitely will love to see more of in the future. Here you can read some of juliana’s thoughts and even see some brand new work.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Juliana Wang, I’m a London based illustrator working on a range of projects, including editorial commissions for international clients, exploring cultural identity in a graphic novel project and teaching drawing and art at The Prince’s Trust.
Where do you come from and what made you choose your current path?
Having enjoyed drawing from a young age I wanted to pursue illustration as a way of creating art and communicating ideas visually in an accessible format. I love exploring issues that pervade our everyday lives, such as recently illustrating an article about the history of Asian fetishism and how it continues to exist today in throwaway comments and misguided media portrayals. I love drawing and mark making and really enjoy coming up with different interpretations of an idea or narrative in a visual medium.
Can you tell us about your working process?
Normally working with a piece of text in editorial work, I start playing with the words, trying to get a sense of the mood and key points of the piece. I like creating jarring compositions and working with diagonals so will think about the kind of shapes I want to create in my work too. After sketching up some ideas, and if I’m working with an AD, we’ll move forward with one of the options. Blowing up the drawing, adding more specific details perhaps for the figures and environment. Using a lightbox I’ll begin painting it in different layers working with chinese ink, acrylic paint and graphite occasionally. I’ll scan these layers, often there’ll be a minimum of four, and then piece it together in Photoshop. I’ll probably do a quick digital colour sketch before I begin painting to help me figure out the layers I am creating.
Do you have a project that you are especially proud of?
Perhaps the Asian fetishism illustrations I mentioned earlier? I really went to town during the idea making process, coming up with 14 sketch ideas, some of them are more edgy and I would like to create more work like that. I am also rather fond of a personal piece inspired by the annual human migration during Chinese New Year when people all over China travel across the country to visit families. Jumping off from the Year of the Horse and working with the typical colours of red and gold, I created a lively scene capturing this mass movement. It got shortlisted for the AOI Awards this year too, so pretty happy about that!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on some personal pieces responding to John Updike’s Rabbit Run fiction and a series of summer themed illustrations!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
To be developing my work, pushing it with the ideas I create, the process that I work in. Collaborating with interesting clients, completing my graphic novel on cultural identity!
What would your advice for other creatives be?
Persevere and stay open to pushing your work in new directions. Also, cold call and keep up with your mail outs and emails to ADs, otherwise they’ll never know you exist!