Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month (and I’ve got some goodies lined up for the new year!!!).
To kick off the New Year, I’m chatting up the adorable Illustrator/Designer, Flora Chang! I “met” Flora while classmates in Lilla Roger’s inaugural Make Art That Sells class and simply couldn’t get enough of her bright, happy and fun artwork—it just makes you feel fabulous!!! Flora is a full-time designer at Hallmark Cards during the day and an avid doodler at night. She is the designer behind her own brand, Happy Doodle Land, and has also been a featured artist in books such as "Craft-a-Doodle", "Creative Lettering", and "Playing with Sketches". She loves to draw and creates artwork that will put a smile on your face. You can see more of Flora's works at www.HappyDoodleLand.com
|I want to live here, in happy doodle land!|
Q: You have worked at Hallmark, which has a stellar reputation for being a fabulous place to work, for a long time. What is the best thing about being an in-house artist? What is the worst?
A: The best part is the people and the resources. I get to work with many talented artists everyday. When you are a freelance artist, you usually work from home by yourself and it can get lonely at times. But for me, I get to bounce ideas and learn different techniques from my fellow artists on daily basis. As for the resources, we have an art library and art supply store at work, so when I feel like I need a creative refuel, I'd go to the library and browse the latest magazines and books, and if I am low on any art supplies, just go to the store at 9F—it's so convenient.
Of course, there are also disadvantages of being an in-house artist. The biggest one for me is the limitation on what kind of freelance projects I am allowed to take on. Since Hallmark produces products in so many different categories, due to the non-compete policy, there will be a lot of outside projects I am not allowed to work on. But, when I do decide to take on any outside projects, I can afford to pick only the ones that I truly love since freelance is not the main source of my income (because of another advantage of being an in-house artist, a steady paycheck.)
|Bright, Bright, Bright!!!|
Q: Your artwork is so happy & playful. Who, what, where inspires you?
A: I love all kinds of handcrafts and folk art; I love their organic shapes and forms, apparent hand-of-the-artist qualities and modesty. I also love children's artworks and find a lot of inspirations in them. Some of my all time favorite artists are Alexander Girard, Paul Klee, and Gomi Taro (now you can see why).
Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.
A: Any Sunday that allows me to sleep in is a perfect Sunday! I like to go out and have a nice and slow lunch by myself while reading books on my Kindle. After lunch, I'd go browse local antique shops and see if I can find any one-of-a-kind treasures. In the evening I'd have some simple dinner then curl up on my couch and doodle while watching TV.
|I love these little guys! Don't you?!|
Q: Talk to us about your artistic process—concept to sketches to final. How do you begin a project? How do you decide which medium to use? All the details!
A: I am pretty much all digital nowadays. If it's a work project, I dive right in since I can't spend a lot of time dwelling on it due to the workload. I will do some really rough sketches first (just for myself to have a quick idea of the layout and where the lettering will go) and then I will start right away on the computer. I mostly use Photoshop for the illustration and Illustrator for the letterings. Sometimes I scan my hand-drawn linework into Photoshop and then add color, sometimes I draw everything directly on my computer.
When it comes to personal projects, since I keep a sketchbook with me and doodle in it all the time, I'd go to my sketchbook and find some ideas in it that I can further develop, whenever I want to do some personal pieces.
Q: What advice would you give to illustrators looking to break into the greeting card/gift market?
A: I would say it's important to develop a style that's uniquely your own. I would also think either having a good agent or displaying your works in trade shows will make it easier to sell your artworks to greeting card companies. Also, try to refine your hand-lettering skills if you can; it will be a big plus for you. Be a keen observer of trends. Have a great sense of colors. And most importantly, create lots and lots of great icons, seasonal or everyday that can be easily applied to cards or all kinds of gift products. (Another tip, try to create your artworks digitally with layers, it will make the card designers' jobs so much easier and they will love you for that!)
|Flora's adorable bowl would surely make any meal a joy!|
Q: Describe your studio space, both at home and at work.
A: My space at work is much more organized than my space at home. At work I have my own little cubicle and I keep lots of toys around me. When I say cubicle, it's really more of an open-sitting situation. We used to have walls but not anymore, but I am starting to like the openness more and more because it's so much easier to collaborate with other people this way, and you don't feel as cooped up in your tiny space all day. At home I have a desk just for computer work and another desk for more messy works like painting and other stuff. I also have a small library room on the 2nd floor—sometimes I like to draw in there while watching TV.
Thank you so much, Flora, for chatting with us here on Bird Meets Worm! We simply can’t wait to see what adorable doodle you create next!