Yeong Kyung is an Auckland-based illustrator and artist, originally from South Korea. Yeong creates vibrant images with stunning precision and attention to detail, which she then transforms into beautiful stationery and publications. She studied art in Korea and now finds her inspiration in the flora and fauna of Aotearoa and the daily life of people and places.
How did you get into your craft?
I have always been interested in art and illustration, and have continued to look at new ways to develop my art. After publishing a picture book myself in Korea (the illustrations were selected for the Illustrators Exhibition in Italy at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2013), I became interested in self made products. I would say ‘Felt’ is the driving force behind my work.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied printmaking and have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University in Seoul, South Korea and I trained in picture book illustration for one year.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I have recently been working with water-colour and coloured pencils. I am also keen on embroidery. I found creating images with stitching is very similar to drawing.
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
I mainly focus on detailed expressions and observe things and discover the unique patterns of each, then try to change them simply. When I do colouring, I paint them with minimal perspective. This technique has come from the traditional Korean painting ‘Minhwa’.
What inspires you?
Cultural diversity and the nature of New Zealand has really inspired me. I love the picturesque scenery here, unique birdsong and unspoiled nature. Classic botanical arts and traditional Korean embroidery are also my passion.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I want to convey a little brightness to those who see my works. There is always darkness in this world, but I would like to capture the warmth of everyday life.
Describe your creative process:
I take photos and search for more images on the internet for my paintings. I then transfer sketches to the watercolour paper with light-box. When I finish colouring, I finally stamp a carved seal of my Korean name, which I made myself.
Describe your workspace:
My simple and spacious table is my workspace. It’s in a small studio apartment in the middle of the city but you are still aware of the natural environment. I’m pleased to have a small but beautiful space.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I got an e-mail from one customer, she bought the masking tapes for her friends who have a great taste and will give the card which is from my shop to her favourite person. That email really encouraged me.
What are you currently listening to?
I listen to Radio New Zealand channel while I am drawing. I want to be aware of social issues.
Recommend an album:
Quiet Is The New Loud by Kings of Convenience.
What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
My favourite picture book is ‘Dawn’ by Uri Shulevitz. Actually I discovered this book when I was studying a picture book. I love its calm and poetic story.
Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
I admire all woman artists. Especially, a German artist Kathe Kollwitz is my hero. Her soft but powerful drawing line is always touching.
A favourite quote:
“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” ― Herman Hesse.
Tell us about your pets:
I don’t have a pet now, but I like cats and enjoy drawing creatures.
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
It can be scary and nerve-wracking when you start something for the first time, but through trial and error you learn and make progress. I think mistakes are valuable because you can learn something from them. I want to say believe yourself and enjoy the journey of creation.
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
The locally made products can reflect their identity of the city or country and make them more unique. For that reason the artist and creator should be influential of that society. So, they need to be supported to keep doing their creations.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I bought a calendar which has beautifully drawn New Zealand birds on every page, for my friend who moved to Australia. She loved it because she could see it whenever she missed New Zealand.
What’s in store for the end of the year and 2020?
Small original paintings by different type of materials and custom-made pet portraits. 🙂 I am also planing to make some embroidery brooches of New Zealand native birds. And I am going to join the Christmas group shows at some galleries in Auckland. (Depot Artspace and the Upstairs Gallery.)
Please keep watching my shop! More illustrated cards and stationary will be in store, and you can see more illustrations in my Instagram @yeong_bichim
Yeong has generously offered a gorgeous prize set for one lucky Felt reader of two of her cards, a notebook and masking tape, all featuring her beautiful artwork. (see below). To be in to win leave us a comment below telling us what you like about Yeong’s story and creations.
The draw closes at 5pm Monday 23 December and is open to New Zealand residents only.
And the prize draw’s not all! Yeong is also kindly giving her Felt customers 15% off any of the stunning creations in her Felt shop for the duration of her feature fortnight. Just purchase before 5pm Monday 23 December, and enter the code LOVECRAFT in the voucher code field at step 4 of checkout. Thank you so much Yeong!