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Work / Illustration

Miwon Yoon’s delicate food illustrations are a treasure to zoom in on

Becoming an illustrator was never Seoul-based Miwon Yoon’s plan. But, without it being her intention or goal, and by approaching the medium very carefully, she’s crafted herself into a very, very good one.

A little while ago, when she was graduating from art school, Miwon was more of an animator and video maker, falling for the medium for the way “movement enriches the image,” she says. After university she went freelance, describing herself as an “image maker” and began working with just one frame unintentionally. The process didn’t really get any easier either and she continued to battle with how to make work “attractive without the movement”. Rather than give up, Miwon trucked on and purposefully made her still and moving image practices different from the other in style, but utilised the same processes she learned in moving image such as “shape, surroundings, lights, density or sometimes the speediness of drawing itself”.

Having a delicate touch, and an immense amount of patience, is paramount when working on animation and it’s this approach Miwon places in her illustrative pieces. This process is particularly evident in a series of food drawings she makes for Magazine F, a magazine which zooms in on a single ingredient for each issue. The illustrator’s approach is noticeable at first glance in each and every one of these drawings, so much so that you find yourself zooming in on every brushstroke because the details are just as fascinating as the bigger picture.

“It was a different kind of pleasure to draw things that people love to see and pay attention to since I draw things that people tend to neglect in their life in my personal work,” Miwon tells It’s Nice That. “The drawings were to introduce the food and the dish so I had to make the drawing look not too far away from the real figure. But, at the same time, I wanted them to be shattered when seen closely, and to become abstract when gazed at long enough.” Consider rice, for instance, the most recent ingredient the magazine covered and one which Miwon had to interpret repeatedly. In her pieces, which are delicately painted and centre on one meal in the middle of the frame, rice is never seen as a single entity because that’s never how you’d use it in real life. Instead, mountains of rice are drawn, with vegetables painted sparsely in between using “wet paint materials which feels more like stacking up the ingredients rather than refining shapes”. In another edition, this approach of thinking about how you use an ingredient is used again, particularly in an issue which focused on chicken and which features the best drawing of a kebab we’ve maybe ever seen.

While illustration is a little off course from the path of creativity Miwon saw herself following, we’re very pleased she’s found herself on this one and can’t wait to see what she draws (whether it’s an ingredient or not) next.

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Miwon Yoon: Chicken

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Miwon Yoon: Chicken

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Miwon Yoon: Salt

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Miwon Yoon: Salt

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Miwon Yoon: Salt

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Miwon Yoon: Salt

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Miwon Yoon: Salt

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Miwon Yoon: Rice

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Miwon Yoon: Rice

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Miwon Yoon: Rice

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Miwon Yoon: Rice