Brooklyn-based illustrator Joohee Yoon has established a firm reputation over the past few years for her bizarre, expressive characters and scenes full of colour and texture. To create the works she has always combined drawing with printmaking, but lately her work has featured more experimentation with different printing methods and the results are as diverse as they are wonderfully weird.
“I’ve recently had access to a communal printshop, so I’ve started doing etching, which has been amazing and very different to anything else I’ve done,” she explains. “It’s a counterintuitive way of working for me, but I find that exciting.” So far the works focus around diamond shapes, one brandishing human arms holding a potted plant, another being eaten by a bulbous creature in a field of its peers.
Her commissioned work has also been subject to aesthetic inventiveness, with recent pieces for Plansponsor magazine combining drypoint and drawing with coloured pencil. “My first ever commissioned editorial job was for Plansponsor, art directed by SooJin Buzelli. It’s a dry financial magazine and really tests your skills in visual problem solving, creating parallel metaphors that go with the article. But I enjoyed the challenge and found it allowed me a lot of room to experiment.”
Alongside commissions, Joohee teaches at Rhode Island School of Design and has recently released another book, a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier. She used a hybrid of relief printing and drawing for the publication, printed in red, black and silver. “It’s dark and beautiful and full of strangeness,” Joohee says, which incidentally summarises the illustrator’s own charm.