Yumi You is a Taiwan-based illustrator that graduated from the University of Brighton with an MA Sequential Design/Illustration. Her works often focus on the relationships and interactions between animals and human, which she always enjoys observing. Her inspirations come from travels, films, nordic designs and early 20th century paintings. Watercolour, gouache and colour pencils are major materials she uses. For Yumi, it's the greatest achievement if people can feel healed and pleased when seeing her works.
We asked Yumi a few questions about her work...
What was it that made you start drawing? And what is your motivation to continue drawing today?
I have always enjoyed drawing things since I was a kid, but I never formally learned professional drawing skills until several years ago. When I was an undergraduate, I started to have contact with many European children’s books, it was at that time that I found illustration is more powerful than words when it comes to telling a story. Inspired by these children’s books, I thought to myself that one day I also want to create something which can bring joy and warmth to people, this thought is also what makes me keep drawing till today.
How was your experience studying your MA in the UK? Why was it important for you to study an MA?
Do you think being abroad has influenced or inspired your illustrations in a different way?
My experience of studying MA in the UK was absolutely amazing, it’s probably the most precious time in my life! It gave me the chance to see many different things and experience different cultures. My time in England truly expanded my horizon and widened my sight magnificently.
My experience of living in the UK has definitely influenced my art work, as it encouraged me to try many new things, techniques and approaches with my work. My illustration style has also been influenced by many European artists that I came across while studying in the UK. And of course the MA course was also very helpful for improving ideas and the concept of my work.
Can you tell us a little about your approach to colour, texture and combining different materials? How do you choose which material to use when starting a piece of work?
I always use watercolour as my medium of choice, because I like the touch and finish which watercolour provides; then colour pencils are for details and collage gives more layers to my works. For the colours that I use in an image, generally the combination of colours are chosen according to the vibe and the scene of an image. But sometimes the choice of colours might also come from my personal preference or instinct. I think the suitable colour scheme is vital for creating a nice piece of work; therefore, I always spend plenty of time doing experiments with colours for each piece of work.
What are your thoughts on the pressure to fit into a defined style, to have a recognisable style that clients and agents can see exactly who you are and what they’ll get?
I think the establishment of my style was a very natural process, it came after continuous practice and experimentations that lead me to eventually have the style which represents me today. But I won’t set any standards to keep the style that I have now, instead I would prefer for this to naturally happen and maybe organically change, so you never know, perhaps in the future I may have a style which is quite different from now.