Thursday, December 8th, 2011 | No Comments
Concept is king in the beautifully understated and inventive work of New York-based illustrator Dadu Shin. There’s a master logic at play in every one of Dadu Shin’s meticulously constructed illustrations. Entire worlds are created to serve the idea that drives the image.
Q1. What matters most to you when making an illustration?
I always try to come up with a good concept and a good way to convey that concept. With the exception of privately commissioned work in which people tend to ask for something more aesthetically pleasing than conceptual, I always try to have an idea behind the work. With personal work I do allow myself a bit more room to be vague in conveying the idea.
These days I find my work becoming more simple with each piece because I’ve been trying to only include what is necessary to get the idea across.
Q2. You often use huge contrasts of scale to get your ideas across. What is it about this “zoomed out” perspective that appeals to you?
I’ve always been drawn to vast landscapes and spaces. I used to have dreams when I was younger of worlds where everything was gigantic. Maybe I saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids too many times. Anyway, I like the narrative qualities that this kind of composition possesses. I get to create a world and populate it with characters.
The more zoomed out I am, the more world and inhabitants I get to show. It also allows me to create different focal points easily. However lately I have tried to vary it up, as I will admit I have fallen back to this composition many times.
Q3. We love the inventive and beautifully stylized fashion illustrations on your side project blog “I don’t like clothes”. Can you tell us a bit about what the blog title means to you, and what draws you to explore this other kind of illustration?
Fashion is a recent interest of mine. In fact, for the majority of my life I thought fashion was incredibly snobbish and shallow. It still is in some aspects, but I’ve seen past that and realized I was just being ignorant. I could go into an entire discussion about fashion, style, design and what it means to me, but I think that’s for another time.
So that’s kind of where the title came from, it’s a little inside joke with myself. I started the blog to just get myself to draw more often. With a consistent subject matter I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to draw next, and the endless ways to design and match patterns, proportions, and colors provide me the with the right amount of creative freedom to not get bored.
Q4. We’ve noticed griffins (are they griffins?) recurring a lot in your images what’s going on there?
Haha, I think this answer is quite simple. I just like drawing them. I love birds, wings, beaks, and other animals and enjoy combining them into different shapes and creatures. I love the silhouette of a graceful wing or the silhouette of a sharp beak. As a kid, I loved drawing eagles and falcons and though they were so incredibly noble and awesome looking.
Q5. The many sketchbooks scans on your website are fantastic. What’s the role of sketching in your creative process?
Thank you! Recently, I haven’t been working in my sketchbook as much as I would like too. It’s taken a smaller role in my process and just now I’m starting to bring it back. I kind of got lost in the convenience of the computer and am looking to include a little bit more traditional work into my portfolio over the next few months. However I still use my sketchbooks even though I may not be working in them as often.
I always flip through my old sketchbooks when I’m searching for inspiration. It’s a diary of images that reminds me of the work I’ve done in the past and the work I want to do in the future. I always find forgotten ideas, techniques I want to try again or develop, and small drawings that inspire stories or images.
Q6. Given the opportunity what would be your “dream project”?
This is surprisingly a hard question to answer. I think I would love to do a weird, makes no sense but kind of does make sense, narrative picture book, with little to no text. Hmm yeah, I like that.
S&TM: We’d like to thank Dadu for taking the time to do this interview.
All images © 2011 Dadu Shin.