Ten Q & A's with Illustrator Hsinping Pan
Today I'd like to introduce to you Hsinping Pan, an illustrator/animator I'm very fond of. Hsinping's work is very warm and colorful, it creates a unique mood, when looking at her work, you often feel like you're in a fairy tale. Her work can be found in magazines and varies products in USA. Her animations Blue Rain and Small & Deep, Love Stories were selected in many international film festivals and the latter was awarded the Winner at the Taiwan International Animation Festival and Jury's Choice at the Taipei Film Festival. She recently finished working on a children's book and animation Word Creatures.
1. First please introduce yourself.
Hi! I'm Hsinping. After graduating from the College of Management at the National Taiwan University, I went to USA to study for a graduate degree in animation at USC. Now I work as an animation director and I do illustration design in Taiwan and USA. I like colorful things, and I like to use images to tell stories. My work can be seen in TV commercials, music videos, magazines, books, CD covers and children's book.
I just finished working on the animation shorts and children's book Word Creatures.
2. How did you become a professional illustrator?
I loved to draw since I was little, but I never thought that I could draw for a living, it seemed more like a dream than reality. I went through school and got into university, but study became really painful, that was when I made up my mind to go after my dream.
When I was studying animation, the teachers encouraged students to develop their own style and to tell their own stories. I always like children's book, so my animation feels a bit like children's book too. After I graduated I work in both animation and illustration at the same time. Later I signed a contract with Lilla Rogers as my illustration agent and that gradually opens up to more illustration opportunities.
3. What's a typical day for you?
I wake up around 9am, after chores and making coffee it would be around 10am. I'd read some blogs, facebook and emails, then I start to work. At noon I would go out to have lunch, come back and have my second cup of coffee and continue to work until the night. Because time is flexible, sometimes I'd go out with friends in the afternoon, or sometimes I'd work crazy overtime during the weekend to meet a Monday deadline.
4. Beside illustration, you also do animation, can you talk about the similarities and differences of the two?
Illustraion and animation both tell stories, just in different ways. Animation uses a series of shots to tell stories, it has a time element. With illustration you condense the story into one picture, as you interpret the words there's space for imagination.
When doing animation, you need to consider how a charater would animate when you're designing the character, it needs to have a lot of expressions. Illustration doesn't have this concern, you can draw in more details.
I like both media, when doing illustration I can relax and enjoy the process. With animation, when I see my characters come to life, I'd think animation is pretty cool too.
5. What tools do you use?
On paper I usually use Acrylic. Digitally I use illustrator, then I'd use photoshop to add hand painted texture to make the work more interesting and dynamic.
6. Tell us about your recent work Word Creatures
Word Creatures is a collaboration with publisher Tomorrow Studio Co. to make a multimedia book, it comes with an illustrated book and an animation CD. The original idea was to let children to embrace nature and embrace Chinese characters. I thought it would be interesting to draw colorful Hieroglyphic for children, so I picked 24 nature related oracle Chinese characters, each made a 30 seconds animation, and invited children to do the voices.
Total length of the animation is 15 minutes, although I have other people to help work on the project, from initial idea to finish it still took almost a year. After the animation was done, I did the illustration for each Chinese character, then a poem was written for each characters by Lee Gin Man.
I'm very happy to finish this project which involve both illustration and animation, especially when I see the children mesmerized by the animation, I feel that all the work that we put in is well worth it!
7. You now have a super illustration agent Lilla Rogers, can you tell us about your experience with them?
Because I studied animation at USC, I didn't fully know the illustration market or how to promote myself, so I wanted to find an agent. I saw Lilla's website and I liked the artists they represent, and they looked similar to my style, so I tried to contact them.
After joining Lilla, I got to work with a broader range of clients. I was most excited to work on a series of covers for Land of Nod, a children line of furniture of Crate & Barrel. I also sold some image rights for producing postcards, stickers and notepads, etc.
8. Generally speaking, what's the advantages and disadvantages of working with an agent?
For me, having an agent can save me the time and energy in negotiating with clients. They also help expand my market, letting more people to see my work, and I can concentrate on the creative work.
But if an illustrator can handle these task very well himself he doesn't necessarily need an agent.
9. How did you find your style/voice?
I didn't deliberately try to find a style, but as you see more and more of different artists' and illustrators' work, and you try to draw things that makes yourself happy, you'll gradually establish a style that works for you.
I remember when I first went to USC, the teachers encourage students to doodle. Back then the best thing was that I could doodle in my notes in broad daylight, in front of the teacher, as I listen to the lecture, I can relax and draw. Later on when I look through those doodles I can often find good inspirations.
10. If you can go back in time, what would you advise yourself when you first start illustrating?
Believe in yourself, happily courageously keep drawing.
Favorite artist/designer: Paul Klee, Olle Eksell
Animation from Word Creatures
|Translated with permission from an article by Anais Lee on Illustration Today 11-4-2013.|