Dive into illustrator Fraink’s colourful and peacefully monotonous world

The illustrator tells us how he uses photography and bold colour choices to create his distinctive iPad drawings.

Date
17 February 2022

Quite simply, for Seoul-based illustrator known as Fraink, “colour is the most important thing”. But, the illustrator presses, he remains keen “to break away from the typical colour of things”. This is how Fraink adds such a personal touch to his pieces. Whilst the shapes, shading and compositions of his pieces all show a certain realism, his colour choices veer toward the abstract. Using pastels or colours with low saturation as little as possible, the illustrator sees “the state of raw colours [which] haven’t been mixed” as the most beautiful. And, with his block pink skies, bright green roads and purple shadows, it’s not hard to see how Fraink’s work is inspired by similarly colour obsessed artists like Henri Matisse, Andre Derain and Vlaminck.

This penchant for colour began early for Fraink. Since his high school days, the illustrator has loved to “use colours boldly”. Always fond of drawing, Fraink majored in industrial design at university, but he always kept a close relationship with painting and illustration. Whilst at university he began drawing on his iPad as a hobby, only beginning to share his work with people just two years ago. Having now developed such a distinct and unique style, the illustrator applies a basic structure to all of his works: “the overall composition is expressed simply and monotonically, but the elements contained in it are rough and bold. I want to draw the themes and stories in the work to move alive and lively.”

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Fraink : Sometimes, Leisurely (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : At the street (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : At the street (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

Inspired by “all moments of everyday life”, Fraink’s illustrations have a brilliant observational quality – cars coasting down a highway, a tree bathed in afternoon light, or a sea view from a bench – his scenes appear as brief snapshots of everyday life. The illustrator achieves these recognisable scenes with his keenness for photography. Taking pictures of pretty much anything, even if it might not initially seem “cool” and afterward, upon viewing them with “look for stories” within them. He also achieves this through his close attention to things that aren't instantly apparent: “I want to carefully observe things that are not usually visible to our eyes, but definitely exist, like sunlight, lights, wind and waves.” And whilst his work is so clearly digital, these elements give his work such vivid life and movement.

Whilst loving his digital medium, Fraink has recently been expanding his repertoire and working on canvas. He also has an exhibition underway and plans to hold many more this year as a means of meeting more people “offline”. But first and foremost, Friank wants to gain greater exposure: “I think the first thing for this year is for many more people to see and like my work. And I will continue to strive for it.”

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Fraink : The city tures on (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : The tree in front of warehouse (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : Rush hour (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : The time of shadow (Copyright © Fraink, 2021)

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Fraink : The time of shadow (Copyright © Fraink, 2021)

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Fraink : The sea without the sea (Copyright © Fraink, 2021)

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Fraink : The bridge (Copyright © Fraink, 2021)

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Fraink : The bridge (Copyright © Fraink, 2021)

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Fraink : Tunnel (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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Fraink : Road sign (Copyright © Fraink, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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