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Seungwhan Kim

Work / Illustration

Seungwhan Kim’s sweet illustrations delve into inner emotions

Over in Seoul illustrator Seungwhan Kim sweetly illustrates the “paradoxical situations that we face in everyday life,” he tells It’s Nice That. Both a little strange but also relatable, Seungwhan’s illustration style picks up on life’s double-sided contradictions implying them in his work. He does this by noticing and drawing inner emotions, “jealousy, inferiority and dissatisfaction” for instance, as the illustrator finds “behaviours and situations associated with such emotions intriguing”.

Seungwhan originally studied graphic design before moving into illustration full-time and now runs Pimple, a small independent press with two other artists. His switch in disciplines to illustration was a natural, comfortable one, feeling more at home “expressing my thoughts through drawings rather than in words,” he explains. “I take pleasure in the act of drawing itself. That is how I have grown to get into illustration.”

A large part of the charm and character that jumps off of each of Seungwhan’s illustrations is due to his drawing technique and tools. Using coloured pencil, if you look closely at the details the illustrator encourages smears and smudges. “As I blend pencil and coloured pencil, I experience having series of my work panned out in an unexpected direction. It’s kind of a playtime for me,” he says. Since school, Seungwhan has habitually used “a 0.3 mechanical pencil when I drew and took notes” and consequently “I still have the habit of using pencil for delicate drawings,” he points out. “On the other hand, with coloured pencils, a boldness that I am not naturally inclined to comes out, and I get to draw with a childlike heart.”

Influenced by illustrators who similarly build up detail in a mishmash of colours and textural pencil marks, Seungwhan lists Joe Roberst, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Hai-Hsin Huang and Maïté Grandjouan as ones he particularly admires. Looking forward to expanding his practice, the illustrator notes possibly moving into digital work, or at the other end of the creative spectrum he also creates stuffed dolls as an extension of his work for fun. He also hopes to expand his illustrations into more graphic novels, after releasing Bird Pit earlier this year (available here), continuing to show "narratives in unconventional ways”.

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim

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Seungwhan Kim: Bird Pit

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Seungwhan Kim: Bird Pit

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Seungwhan Kim: Bird Pit