Judging by her rich portfolio, illustrator Jing Wei has mastered the art of the cute. Her cartoon-like illustrations — round-faced, chubby, and overwhelmingly delightful — have attracted a substantial fanbase on Instagram. Formerly the illustration director for Etsy, Wei finds that it is actually her background in printmaking which informed her minimalistic style of illustration.
“My style has also naturally evolved through embracing various mediums,” she explained in an interview with The Great Discontent. “I used to do a lot of printmaking with block prints, so I made drawings that catered to the process. I didn’t work digitally until three or four years out of college. It’s still a fairly recent thing for me, but when I learned it, I really embraced it. That gave my work a completely different look and feel.”
She notes that when you’re starting out as a professional illustrator, there can be pressure to make your work look cohesive, which can sometimes cause you to make decisions that are forced, purely for the sake of consistency. “I’ve found that the more I got away from that thinking, the more my style has strengthened,” she remarked.
With illustration now her full-time job, she makes sure to add an element of play and experimentation to her work, in an attempt to keep her creative spark. “Once you get in the cycle of doing job after job, you lose that sense of play,” says Wei. “I want to stretch myself. In order to do that I need to stop, make time, and take risks to do things I haven’t done before.”
Follow her creative journey through Instagram: