The illustrator known only as Boilingman is rather mysterious but undeniably talented in her haphazardly colourful works. Spanning comics, editorials and personal works of all kinds, from the felt-tipped-penned to digital collages, she’s an artist with a mighty punch of an aesthetic. Have a scroll through her Instagram of wonders and you’ll see exactly what I mean – pandas, waitresses dressed as lobsters, crazy fashion illustrations, and much much more.
Based in Seoul, Boilingman has quickly expanded from the hand-painted style that we’ve seen previously. As well as more commercial work, her art now includes heavy doses of narrative sparked by the inclusion of movings gifs and animation. With heavily exaggerated characteristics, Boilingman has a habit of posing her characters in special shapes. Whatever she sees in her day-to-day existence, she gives it a twist with a flick of her digital pen. Shoulders broaden out, bangs appear more like the fine pointy teeth of a comb, and eyelashes get a similarly razor sharp makeover.
Elsewhere, she also plays with a random ratio for limbs, applies a dashing gradient of colour, and adorns the wider composition with geometric elements. Altogether, these are just an example of a few things that bring Boilingman’s works together. In her words, she tells us how her work is “always rich at the first glance” followed faithfully by a dynamic feeling in the heavily stylised illustrations. It’s an atmosphere extended throughout her entire portfolio – whether it’s commercial or otherwise – and in the past year, this original approach has seen her win a gold medal at the Mixc World With Art Youth Creative Competition, along with several other commissions.
For the clothing brand Uooyaa, for example, Boilingman worked on the new media campaign. The theme was “invulnerable to all kinds of poison”, and with that in mind, the illustrator worked freely for around a month, able to express herself creatively on all aspects of the project. She collaged photos of models against her flat digital illustrations, creating a complementary clashing of mediums. The result is reminiscent of a plastic-y doll’s packaging – kitschy type and dramatic poses included.
She created four illustrative looks inspired by four different types of “life saving pills” of the moment. She tells It’s Nice That, “It is about the outbreak of Covid-19, inspired by peoples’ lives in the pandemic.” In turn, the set of illustrations aims to provide some light humorous relief, as well as a strong visual impact to keep viewers entertained. “I hope to connect with everyone’s sympathetic response too,” she adds. The first look revolves around the new clothes bought to celebrate Chinese New Year that remain unworn and in the cupboard. Instead, the character wears her pyjamas all day long. And alcohol and disinfectant have replaced her perfume.
In the second look, Boilingman’s illustration is all about staying at home. She tells the story of a traveling route from living room to kitchen, “helping Mama with her C-section and fishing in the fish tank”. The third and fourth are equally comical. Explaining the third, Boilingman says: “You will be poked with a forehead thermometer any time you walk on the street, like the scene in the film Infernal Affair when someone yells: ‘Stay back, brave man.’” While in the fourth, she describes, “In the subway, everyone is more than a metre away from one another and sending blessings with socks.” And so, with that lasting chuckle, that’s it for another check-in from Boilingman, and what more could we want from this hilarious illustrator?
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.