AOI Mentorship 2022: Introducing Maylene Chou

The 2022 AOI Mentorship scheme is now fully underway! First introduced in 2020 and expanded in 2021, this free program is designed by the AOI to further support and guide under-represented illustrators in an intimate and supporting setting.

London-based illustrator Maylene Chou is one of 17 new mentees selected for this year’s edition, paired with mentor and illustrator Owen Davey. We learn how her mentorship is going so far and what she’s hoping to achieve in the months ahead.

What does being part of the AOI mentorship mean to you?

As an early-career illustrator with no formal training in art, being part of the scheme grants me valuable opportunities to learn from an accomplished professional illustrator and other mentees in our cohort. Also, I hope that working with the AOI will bring more exposure to my work, extending my network of potential clients and collaborators.

Part of the homework assigned by Owen Davey, this image was created to illustrate an article about human excrement treatment system and its relations to the soil.

What has the mentorship been like so far?

It has been fabulous! My mentor, Owen Davey, is the best match I can think of for his fantastic talent, strong work ethic and nice temper! Not only did he respond to my questions and needs with great patience and empathy during our zoom sessions, but also he designed homework projects for me and helped me through via emails all along. I feel so grateful that he is always there.

What I found most helpful in our mentorship, up to now, is that he offered to play the role of a picky art director, pushing me through every stage of the production of an editorial illustration. With no prior experience in this area, I learnt a lot besides the mere creation of an image, which includes communication of ideas, negotiation of fees, and so much more. I have finished now two mock-up editorial projects under his supervision.

This image was to illustrate an article on the significance of imitation behaviour in our times.

“With Owen’s help, I am feeling more confident in contacting art directors of magazines. Hopefully, I will have a real editorial project at hand soon”

What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the mentorship?

I hope to develop a better understanding of how to survive and thrive as an illustrator based in the UK, and to cultivate a career that’s both creatively fulfilling and commercially profitable. I know it sounds a bit vague, but I don’t think any specific goal in my career, such as expanding my client base and finding an agent, is something I could force myself to achieve throughout the mentorship. For sure, it takes a bit luck to get the deal. But I will keep trying and get myself prepared. With Owen as my mentor, I believe I will get closer to my ideal career-life.

We’d like to thank Maylene for her time in giving this interview. See more of her work on her website and Instagram.

Keep checking our Mentorship section to meet more 2022 mentees!

Learn more about the AOI Mentorship and our 2022 Mentors.

The AOI Mentorship scheme is one of many benefits offered by us. Find out more about membership today.

4th March 2022

World Illustration Awards 2023 – Longlist Announced!
Be part of #WIA2023 - a global celebration of great illustration. The Longlist will now be announced by category from 16th - 25th May 2023.
Issue 42 and Back issues available!
Contacts (across 3 sectors) for 350+ UK Commissioners... BUY NOW!
Get seen by commissioners with a 20 image Folio.


Join our mailing list to get the latest news.