Jeannie Phan Interview


Originally hailing from the prairies of Canada, Jeannie Phan is a freelance illustrator now based in Toronto. Jeannie’s works have been published internationally with features in North America, Europe and Asia. When she’s not drawing, Jeannie hops into her second life as a designer and zine-maker.

We Can’t get enough of Jeannie’s rich and whimsical illustrations.

» Jeannie’s Site
» Jeannie’s Blog
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Q1.   How do you approach starting a new project?

I am big into planning; I like to have my steps plotted and figure out ways to get them done. If I’m working on a client project, I start off with written notes that eventually translate into illegible thumbnails which I work into roughs. The rest is just about putting a brush to paper.

Personal projects are slightly different in that I’m more open to spontaneity. A lot of the times I don’t even bother with roughs and dive into painting without much planning. I feel like if it’s a personal project there is literally no risk but a bad drawing.


Q2.   Weapon of choice?

Acrylic gouache is my favourite type of paint because it’s versatility to lay opaque or transparent layers. I also really love black india ink and a nice brush.


Q3. Do you have a favourite place outside of your workspace that you like to go to sketch?

I actually don’t do a lot of sketching outside of my workspace. Motion sickness prevents me from doodling on public transit and cute dogs distract me from sketching in parks.


Q4.   Your favourite procrastination pastime?

I have to say I’m lucky enough to have access to a swimming pool literally a few steps from my work/live studio. Because of this, every time I’m overworking or feel like my ideas aren’t happening, I just throw on a bathing suit and take a swim. Amazing things happen when you’re underwater and I end up having most of my revelations in the middle of doing a front crawl.

I also go through waves of obsessive gaming. Some of my favourites include Minecraft, Starcraft II and Skyrim.


Q5.   What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

Podcasts. If I’ve got my work all planned out and I just need to execute it, I’ll listen to something like This American Life where I can concentrate on the stories. If I’m at the rough stages, I have to listen to something a bit more casual that doesn’t require my full attention like Stuff You Should Know. If I feel like I need a creative kick in the shins, Your Dreams My Nightmares is the best.


Q6.  What are some of your sources of inspiration?

Candid conversation with friends and finding interesting perspectives on boring things. I actually find a lot of inspiration in mundane living because it takes more of a careful attentive eye.


A HUGE thank you to Jeannie for taking the time to do this interview.

Be sure to stop by Jeannie’s site!

All images ©2013 Jeannie Phan

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