By WM Staff, March 2019
Lidan Chen produces imagery with a dream-like quality and clarity that makes her an in-demand illustrator. We asked Chen some questions about her design process and how she formulates her illustrations.
Where are you from?
I am from Beijing, China. I grew up in Beijing and went to the United States to study art. I finished master's degree in Illustration in Savannah College of Art and Design. Currently I live in Los Angeles.
How do you start one of your illustrations?
Normally, I draw 3 to 5 thumbnails and let the clients pick the one they want. After that, I go on for tight rough/sketch and then present it to them. If they approve, I will start to color it. Working in this way saves me a lot of time during the creative stage of production.
Do you often use computers to make your work?
I worked digitally for most of the times because it is very convenient. I can easily adjust the colors and compositions whenever I want. If I want the paper textured, I will scan the texture and overlap it. If I need a brush stroke, I will find brushes from the internet. Although working on paper or canvas is still an important way to create art, and it is less harmful to our eyes, I have to admit that computer plays an important role in my creative career.
What are you interested in people experiencing when looking at your illustrations?
I am interested in how people interpret my illustrations. Everyone has different opinion from others when they look at a piece of work because every person is unique. When I show my works to my friends and families, I always get some new ideas from them. It is fun to know what people think about my works.
Do you have an illustration you made that's your favorite?
I like all of them equally, so I don’t have a favorite illustration. I can tell which one of my works are liked by most people, but I don’t think I like one more than others. Actually, I hope I can create a better piece of work each time.
What are you influences from art history?
There are a lot of artists who inspire me. I like Paul Cézanne’s works very much. I like the simplified shapes in his paintings, his compositions and bold colors. I was also influenced by Minimalism, I want my works to look simple and strong.
Do you have any music or literature that inspires your work?
I like studio Ghibli soundtrack very much. Listening to their music makes me relax - I get more ideas when listening to music.
Your paintings would be good in children's books or novels and also in magazines. Where are you planning to publish them?
I am planning to publish them in magazines and children’s books. Illustrating children’s books is a lot of fun. Now my illustrations are presented on my website and social media. I hope that I can create more illustrations and publish them in my art book one day.
What's next for you?
For my next project, I am planning to illustrate some comics - I will probably work with my friend who was a scriptwriter. For me, there are no big differences between comics and illustrations. I love reading comics and I enjoy telling stories with images. I am excited about all of it. WM