Today, we are joined by Jun Cen , he is an Illustrator. You can view his portfolio here.
Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the interview. We’d like to understand how your interest for illustration started shaping up. Tell us a bit more about what made you go this route!
I have been interested in illustration for a long time since I was a kid. Whenever I read the book I was always obsessed with the illustrations in it. But it was not until the junior year in college when I was majoring in printmaking, did I get the chance to know more about illustration. I got a phone call from an art director who was wondering if I would be interested in making an illustration for their magazine. This was how my illustration journey started. The more my experience of working with clients grew, the more I found how fun and challenging it was to be an illustrator.
Tell us a bit more about how you learned it all. What changed in the last few years in terms of ease of expanding your skills and knowledge?
The last three years were important to me. I went to Maryland Institute College of Art for graduate study in 2011. It was then that I got the chance to experiment and rethink what illustration meant to me. I have learnt how important it is for contemporary illustrators to be entrepreneur. That is why I have been expanding my practice to comic, animation and design.
What does your creative process look like?
It is pretty straightforward. At the beginning, I like to draw idea maps to generate ideas. The clients will receive three sketches based on different ideas and pick the one they think that might translate the concept the best. After hearing the feedback from the client, I will finalize the sketch that is chosen.
Do you have a special place or object that boosts your inspiration and helps your creative drive? What is it like and why does it have this effect on you?
As an illustrator, I spend plenty of time in the studio to work on projects. But a lot of ideas came out when I was outside. To me, art is all about observation and imagination. For example, the subway is a good place to do both. I love to look at how different every individual is on the subway and sometimes imagine what their lives would be like. It is not necessarily to be conscious all the time. Daydreaming also helps. I daydream quite often when I am taking a subway.
Could you describe how a productive day would look like from your point of view? Which are the most important hours for you?
A productive day is like managing multiple tasks and finishing all of them. Time slots are divided for tasks including working on the projects, contacting clients, self promotion and personal projects. The hours from 2pm to 6pm are the most important to me.
What is your stance on today’s ever growing opportunities enabling artists to take on remote design work?
I am very excited about it. From my perspective, clients are more and more open to it. They only care who can make the best result for the project. That is why they seek for talents from all around the world via internet. I have worked for clients from England, France and China.
What would you prefer: a steady, well paying job in a local agency, or the freedom and often stressful life of a freelancer? Why?
I did go through a period when I really wanted a stable full time job. But I have got to realize that working as a freelancer fits me better. It is more stressful, like you said. But I hate getting used to the same mode every day. Dealing with different clients is more challenging to me. I feel fulfilled whenever I finish a project.
How would you describe “the ideal project”? Did you have any recent opportunities to come close to this?