Interview with Fashion Illustrator Minjee Kang
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find Instagram as a really useful and easy to use app to gather fashion references. When I find something that inspires me I screen shot it and draw it later. I follow fashion magazines, bloggers, street fashion accounts like Nima Benati, Blaire Eadie, Style Sight WorldWide and others.
I have lots of drawing plans inspired by Instagram photographies, now I just need more time to get hands on.
How was your upbringing? How did you get interested in art and illustration? Did you dream of being anything else?
My grandmother was an elementary school art teacher, mom went to art college and majored in Oriental Painting, also my aunt (mom’s little sister)’s major in university was fashion design. So my house as a child was full of art books of paintings, like Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, Chagall and more, so I grew up seeing those books like toys and I think it made me have an interest in art. I used to visit my grandma’s house every vacation year after year as a child & teenager.H er house was also full of fashion magazines because of my little aunt’s major (Fashion design) and that made me have another interest, fashion. So when I was really young, I was surrounded by both art & fashion.
My mom never pushed me to draw or study art but the environment was extremely favorable, I was always inspired and yeah! I drew a lot, every day and every night, any time.
But one weakness of me is blowing hot and cold. One day I wanted to be a cartoonist, on another day I changed my mind to be an interior designer, and another day again, I dreamed to be a fashion designer. I changed “my dream” so frequently, but I was certain on one thing, I wanted to make art. Ironically, I didn’t go to art school. I didn’t want to study art seriously (Sometimes I regret it though) and I enjoyed drawing lightly just as a hobby.
I studied natural science for 3 years in high school, when it was time for College I couldn’t apply to anything art related, the only option I had was Fashion, so I didn’t consider anything else and jumped straight to it. It was when I enrolled in a fashion illustration class in college when I knew that was my dream job, and I didn’t even know what it meant back then.
As soon as I got out of college I submitted one of my illustrations to a contest held by “Ceci” the fashion magazine of Korea and I became a fashion illustrator of the magazine. It was my first work as a fashion illustrator in my life. I was 22 years old at that time.
What is one thing you wish everyone better understood about your home country?
Korea’s traditional art & fashion. Unlike other Asian culture such as China or Japan, I think Korea’s art & fashion are not generally known enough. Especially, Hanbok, the traditional dress of Korea. I want to draw them one day and show to people how beautiful they are.
What color means to you? How do you use it?
Red! I don’t know why but I always choose Red first if I have to choose one color from options. It just makes me happy and gives me energy, also, feel like it gives me luck. So if there is an important occasion I have to dress up, I always choose red outfits. When I first met my husband, I was in a red knit wear as well. He at that time told me I looked very good in red. haha. I have quite many red outfits in my closet.
I prefer to use vivid & intense colors such as Crimson red, Spanish orange, Sunburst yellow, Denim blue, Grass green, Hot pink, etc, rather than pale & pastel tones. So normally, most of my drawings are very very colorful. I got We Love Colors tights in vivd & intense colors!
In a couple of months, I’m moving to a new apartment and I’m preparing new interior for it with lots lots lots of vibrant colors. I’m so excited!
Is there anything you would like to share with the world?
Of course my drawings for sure! I’ve been working as a fashion illustrator almost 15 years and most of my drawings are digital work and I’ve been sharing them and its drawing progress for long through my website & Instagram.I can say proudly that I’m quite good at digital drawing. I use Mac, Photoshop, Tablet & iPad, lots of digital tools. I always wanted to do hand-drawing I decided that 2018 was the year for it. So nowadays, I’m doing it! I have been purchasing natural art supplies step by step from markers, pens, inks and colored pencils. I’m practicing almost everyday. The drawings I drew for this interview are some of them. I love sharing my practice drawing with people even though I’m not good at it yet. My followers are used to my digital drawings but every now and then I like to surprise them with a little awkward and not perfect hand-drawn illustrations. Sometimes I even get messages of people wanting to buy them and knowing that people appreciates them makes me happy. By the way that’s how I got this interview, because of my hand-drawn illustration of Cara Delevigne wearing We Love Colors tights. I was just practicing with pens and inks I never thought you would show interest and even ask for this interview.
Due to my work schedule there is not enough time to hand-draw. So I’m practicing it when I have free time as many times as possible. If I get used to markers, inks and colored pencils, I’ll move on to Acrylic & Gouache painting and oil painting later. And I’ll share all the drawings I make even though they are not perfect.
It won’t be easy as it’s a self-taught journey, it might take a long time to practice all the art supplies I want to learn in such little free time. But in 2018, 2019, maybe 2020, I hope my hand-drawn skills will get better and better slowly and I will show them to people proudly one day. Until then, I will share all and hope people enjoy my growth.
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