Bright and beautiful: Jaedoo Lee’s latest works have an uplifting presence

Since we last wrote about the New York-based illustrator and animator, Jaedoo has gone freelance having worked for the likes of Buck and Google. Here, he talks us through his recent work.

11 May 2020

Since we last wrote about Jaedoo Lee three years ago, quite a lot has changed for the New York-based illustrator and animator. Born and raised in Seoul, Jaedoo relocated to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts before going on to work for the likes of Buck and Google. Now, he’s freelance, represented by Jacky Winter, and has ventured into the world of editorial illustration not to mention some cracking visuals commissioned by us for our Double Take installation last year.

He tells It’s Nice That, “I’ve gotten a little better at drawing a wider variety of shapes, both real and imagined.” Previously, his work consisted of mostly balls and tubes. Not just your average balls and tubes however, but ones which are blindingly satisfying at first glances, and glowing with further magnetism at the next. At present, Jaedoo’s bright illustrations have gone onto encompass a myriad of compositions. Overflowing bottles of bubbly and cans of pop seep out in a cascade of transparent liquids, while in other work, Jaedoo has developed more of his personal work. These illustrations are not so much illustrations, but more studies as such – beautiful assessments of nature.

He talks us through these studies, the first one being the depiction of a flower completed recently. “It didn’t mean much,” he tells us, “I just wanted to draw a pretty, shiny flower.” He wanted to challenge himself to become a better painter, and in recent times, he’s been experimenting with colour gradients and shading to perfect this kind of glossy artwork. In turn, he hopes to bring these kind of hand rendered textures into animation, hoping to further investigate hand drawn animation in his practice, too.


Jaedoo Lee

“Drawing a wider variety of things has also helped a lot when doing hand drawn animation,” Jaedoo assesses, clearly evident in the eclectic waterfall of works on his website. These polished art works start off as doodles, which he tries to do as often as he can. “Sometimes I lose track of time, but my mind feels less congested this way,” he says of his cathartic creative process which is keeping him going at the moment, “it even feels therapeutic sometimes.” And making the most of the extra time indoors at the moment, Jaedoo is also working on drawings for his newborn niece which he hopes she’ll like.

He likes to create background stories for his illustrations and animations, saying it “helps lead to more ideas.” It’s one of the reasons why he returns to the same subject matter repeatedly before moving onto another. Exemplified through his work on tubes, balls and flowers, Jaedoo has also moved onto the observation of bees. On his latest bee-related work, the illustrator adds, “It’s an exploratory artwork for a story that I want to develop. This bee is supposed to be a bee-shaped flying vehicle that pollinates plants. Kind of like those planes that spray pesticides over crop fields.”

Interested in not only the aesthetic and story of his subjects, Jaedoo is also researching into the functionality of plants. Looking into countless videos and anatomical pictures of foliage, the illustrator and animator is also eager to convey the adaptability of nature. He studies how plants and flowers react to their environment under certain conditions, and in turn, looks for ways to portray these idiosyncrasies in his work. An Ernst Haeckel publication in particular provides Jaedoo with plenty of inspiration, as do nature documentaries. And with that being said, us Jaedoo fans eagerly await his next creations, and how he sprinkles his animations and illustrations with diverse doses of influence from the biological to the narrative.

GalleryJaedoo Lee

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

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.

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