Bear Yen is a Taipei based graphic designer & illustrator. She enjoys using simple lines to form her thoughts in a humorous way. She gets inspiration from lovely nature, cute animals and flea markets. She is passionate about prints & book making.
We asked Bear a few questions about her work...
Where does the name Bear come from?
I have always liked teddy bears since my childhood, I once drew a bear on paper at junior high school, and was seen by a classmate who said “This bear is so cute and looks just like you. I will call you Bear in the future” ~ This is how the name started and has stuck with me ever since.
Your illustrations often are of animals, how do you decide which creature will represent your thoughts?
Most of the time, I draw whatever comes to my mind, though bears seem to be more and more common appearing in my illustrations these days. This is because my drawings usually come from my emotions and often appear in the form of a bear, but this isn’t always the case.
What is it about line drawing that you enjoy?
Drawing is a very open space that allows me to think, I also like that it is the most private conversation I have with myself. By drawing pictures to organise my wild thoughts, many times I actually have no purpose to draw, it is quite experimental, letting my hand lead my consciousness and then piece together unexpected arrangements on the page.
You recently participated in Taipei Art Book fair and are going to the UK soon for London Illustration Fair, do you think it is important to participate in these art fairs and how do you think having a stall benefits you and your work?
It is interesting to participate in exhibitions, as you can see people’s reactions to your work. It is also important for the development of my art work as through preparation of every event, I can enrich my work little by little. The most important thing is to have the opportunity to know and communicate with other artists, this is the best experience.
You previously studied in London and then returned to work in the UK. Does this experience of living in Europe have any impact on your work?
Living in London allowed me to produce interesting pictures when switching between Chinese and English languages, I was inspired by the humorous translation of some words. London's biggest influence on me was to be brave enough to paint what I want to do and do what I want.
Your illustrations have areas of block colour - when you start a price of work, do you know before which areas are going to be lines and which parts you want to fill with colour or does it happen more organically? What is your creative process like?
I like to determine the lines with a pencil first, and then scan and color them in on the computer. I can fill or draw the dots and lines how I like. I like to keep a lot of white space and consciously reduce the number of colors, the simpler the better.