‘Your Story’ is a collaboration between SquareFixed Photography (@squarefixedphotography), alongside various creative individuals in Singapore, in hope to spread more awareness of the local art scene and to inspire more individuals on their creative journey.
This week’s feature is Josephine Yeh, an illustrator and visual designer who specialises in digital art, line work, and portrait drawings. We did an outdoor shoot at one of Singapore’s oldest bookstores, Basheer Graphic Books, located in the Bras Basah Complex. In there, we managed to find some of Josephine’s daily inspirations, including books on Gustuv Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, and some Japanese illustration novels. Let's get to know more about Josephine with an interview below.
When Did You Start Your Illustrator Journey?
Honestly, I’m not so sure. I have been drawing here and there since I was a child, but I think it was around after high school or during university where I got more serious about it. I started a few personal projects, collaborations with other artists, and would do commissions for friends and family. It was around 20 years old when I had my first external commercial project, I worked with a Japanese creative director for a lifestyle brand.
Passion VS Money, what's your view on this?
I try to find a balance between the two. When I was younger, I would often compromise to the clients’ budgets and agree to projects that don’t pay enough. But in the long term, I wasn’t able to support myself financially, and at the same time I was undervaluing my work. I think it is common for creatives, including myself, to be very self-critical, and we often price ourselves at the lower end of the spectrum; but in actual fact, we are worth so much more. So this is something I’m still working on and practicing daily.
What's Your Definition of Good Work?
My definition of good work is a good middle ground between client’s expectations and my own art direction. With clients that I really clique with, it’s really enjoyable to work together because what they ask for and what I want to make often fit pretty well. But of course, not all projects go this smoothly, and there are times where clients have disagreeable expectations or simply don’t know what they want. Here’s where I think it’s important to guide clients along the process to create something that is appealing to both parties. Achieving that balance is right now what I think good work is.
Any Challenges you faced as a freelancer?
The stability of work. As a freelancer, you can get a lot of projects in some months, while other months there’d be nothing. It’s tough to search for projects sometimes, so it is always good to have other sources of passive income to back up.
Where do you usually get your inspiration from?
For personal projects, I’m often inspired by visiting museums, galleries, or local bookstores. As for clients’ work, I tend to search for inspiration online, on platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Behance, to get a more specific scope of inspiration.
Any advice for people who wants to start their creative journey?
Create multiple streams of income for yourself. Most importantly: Practice, practice, practice!