About the Project
A24 Films invited me to create a postcard series inspired by Lee Isaac Chung’s award-winning film, “Minari.” The way I illustrate nature with vibrant colour and texture suited the project as the film portrays a vast mother nature of Arkansas. The final outcome was a set of 6 postcards (5×7”).
To illustrate 6 postcards inspired by the film itself and the old, romantic Americana mood. The faces on figural compositions were to feel specific to this family and the actors who portray them. The colours were to be pulled from the color palette of the film.
I read and watched most of the articles & interviews regarding Minari that I could find; watched some previous films & dramas from the actors; looked at some earliest photos of Korean-Americans & Occupied Korean travel postcards made by Japan as imperial propaganda to see how depiction of Koreans have changed over time.
The illustrations were made all digitally from sketch to finish, using Procreate.
I watched Minari many times over, in whole and in part, often taking screenshots. I also looked at some iconic American paintings & James Dean movies. I made 20 thumbnail sketches, and the team at A24 picked their favourite 6 which were then developed into the finals.
In some cases, finding the reference images in the right angle & in the right lighting was difficult. For example, Steven Yeun’s face in the piece where he’s smoking on the tractor is actually taken from a later scene & I illustrated it in a different lighting that would suit the scene.
I looked at American vintage travel postcards & Arkansas tourism images to see how East Asians (if any) are represented. It was difficult to find none-white faces on them, and I didn’t find any depiction of Asians as hosts welcoming guests into their hometown.
My grandmother passed away in Korea while I was working on the piece where the little boy David is walking with Halmony. I couldn’t travel from the UK to Korea in time for her funeral due to Covid restrictions, so illustrating the piece became my mourning process.
1 Zoom meeting, 45 days, 105 emails, 6 postcards.
I should’ve said yes when asked if I could work in a 6×9” size. We settled on 5×7” because I wasn’t sure if I could make the artworks detailed enough for oversized postcards on time. But looking at the finished illustrations I realised they would have looked great in 6×9”.
Don’t draw Asian faces with slanted eyes. Asia is bigger than you think & Asian eyes come in all different shapes and sizes.
I’m currently brewing some picture book ideas, so hopefully, they will become something fruitful in the near future. I also want to experience different projects where I can help with Korean/ East Asian representation.
I would love to illustrate a bunch of girls in all shapes & sizes & colours running around and making troubles!
Favourite Thing to Draw
Cats and dogs and ordinary girls.
I use the sunniest & the biggest bedroom in the house as my art studio so I won’t get depressed working from home. When I work, my cat Baileys sleeps by the window & my dog Georgiou sleeps under my work table…when they’re not screaming for food.
A million thanks to Lee Isaac Chung for having created this beautiful film so I could illustrate these pieces at all! The amazing team at A24 Films were the nicest & the most supportive people I’ve worked with. Also, thanks AOI for answering my emergency pricing question over Christmas time!