This spring I came across the South Korean illustrator Ji Hyun Yu who currently lives and works in Germany. I saw her work by coincidence, while surfing the internet, and I was instantly drawn in by her graduation project; a graphic novel, based on the French philosopher Voltaires satiric novel “Candide” from 1759.

I love that Ji Hyun Yu takes up this old famous novel and puts it in into a graphic universe. Even understanding “Candide” and the time it was written in, is a task itself, and I have such respect for her wanting to tell a part of this story in a new way.

I wrote Ji Hyun Yu to ask her, if I could buy a copy of her book, and she was so kind to sell me one of the few copies that she made. When I received it by mail I was not disappointed at all. It was a large book, very well illustrated and very well printed. And also it was a take on graphic novels, that I hadn’t yet seen (I have to admit, that I’m not a graphic novel expert at all, since my devotion is quite new, but from what I’ve come across until now, this is definitely different).

Ji Hyun Yu has a wonderful use of colors. She sticks to a simple, but well thought, color palette. Also her use of words is, to me, relaxed and playful, and it works very well together with her way of drawing.

It’s worth your time to drop by Ji Hyun Yu’s website to take a look at her other projects. I especially love her “What I saw today” section, which is based on a nice way of working; if you don’t know exactly what to draw or where to begin. “I drew things I saw on the Internet, on telly, in books, in magazines or outside and then I put them together. It doesn’t necessarily tell a story or mean anything. Each work is like a scrapbook with the things that I saw and I found interesting or weird.”

I see many illustrators working on “one drawing a day” projects, and we were also forced to do that in school, but I always hated it. This is a way of re-thinking the concept, and for me it is a more interesting way of working with it, since it works around composition as well as intuitive drawing. Also these drawings can work as sketches for future projects. Some of them might even turn into small daily comic strips, if you get the right practice. You can also see more of Ji Hyun Yu’s work on her Tumblr page.

Illustrations by Ji Huyn Yu.

Illustrations by Ji Huyn Yu.

Line Refstrup (f. 1975) er illustrator og har taget en kandidat i Visuel Kommunikation fra Kolding Designskole, 2010. Line har bidraget til siden 2014.