24th April 2019 | The list
Jayde Chan is a Lead Designer in our G.A Brand Design Kuala Lumpur office. Alongside the work she does for G.A, Jayde has a passion for hand-drawn typography and illustration.
Curiosity bites interviews Jayde about her background and method, whilst taking a closer at some of her work.
When did you realise that you had a skill for hand-drawn typography and illustration?
I’ve always been interested in arts and crafts. Growing up, I spent a lot of time drawing, attended ceramic classes, and made my own jewellery and stationery.
My parents recognised my talent and when I showed an interest in studying design they were very supportive. I enrolled at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore to study Interior Design but, during my first year, I realised my strengths were in Communication and Graphic Design, so when it was time to pick my major I chose the latter field.
I didn’t technically study illustration, I did have a semester on basic drawing, illustration and painting during my foundation year, but once I chose my major I was more focused on computer graphics and learned the basic knowledge for design, layout and software.
My interest in hand-drawn typography and illustration began when I was with my previous company. My ex-creative director was an amazing artist and a lot of the things we produced involved bespoke hand-drawings and typography. During my time with her, she would draw the designs and scan them rather than use a computer to generate the design. My skills improved as I spent my free time practicing and eventually creating my own typography and illustration style. I learned that it’s far more interesting and rewarding to create something original for myself or for a client rather than purchase existing illustrations (from stock libraries) or typefaces that anybody else can have.
Tell us about your method? Do you plan everything first or is it a more organic process?
Drawing is my way of de-stressing. There are times I might do a quick sketch if I have 5-10 minutes to spare, other times I take the time to think what my next artwork might be, especially if I’ve seen something that inspires me. I plan out what I’m going to draw and do a few rough sketches before working on the final artwork.
I do faux-calligraphy, meaning I don’t use an actual calligraphy pen. Being left-handed, it’s hard to do actual calligraphy as I end up smudging the ink as I write, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of holding the calligraphy pen the way a left-handed person should, so I use a normal drawing pen to create the lines and curves before colouring and shading in. This technique helps me plan out what style of calligraphy to create and how to balance it with illustrations and other types of typefaces for my art piece.
What is the most satisfying aspect of typography/illustration?
Seeing the finished artwork and how the different styles of typefaces complement each other as well as the illustrations accompanying them.
What is the most frustrating aspect of typography/illustration?
I don’t usually get frustrated when I’m doing my drawings. I find drawing very therapeutic and it relaxes me.
I guess the only frustration I have is the pain it causes my left wrist because most of my drawings are very detailed (especially my line and dot art pieces) and I could easily spend 4-5 hours on drawing just one artwork.
Who or what inspires you? Who are your main influences in the world of design?
There are a few illustrators and typographers I follow on Instagram, no one super famous though. I get inspired by them and try to create something using the same idea but changing it to make it my own. Pinterest is my best friend too.
What would be your ideal job/client?
I would love to be able to create more art pieces for clients. I’ve already done drawings for two clients, The Datai Langkawi and St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. It’s always good to go back to the basics, pick up a pencil/pen and paper and create something from scratch. Just letting the lines flow.