“My drawings are like monologues,” says Seoul-based illustrator Shin Morae. “I draw to remember something or someone very important to me – they are memories. My work is very nostalgic.” As well as subject matter, this sense of nostalgia has worked its way into Shin’s aesthetic, which is inspired by 90s anime, in particular the colour palettes. Throughout her portfolio, the illustrator has created a world full of sugary sweet pastel hues tied together by fine linework and smooth gradients.
When we last featured Shin’s work two years ago, she depicted larger scenes with groups of people, but this year has seen her hone in, typically capturing solitary figures and combining them with close, abstract crops of everyday objects. “I’ve been narrowing the distance between myself and what I draw – just like zooming in on a camera,” explains Shin. “I like to draw objects, they have strangeness and I like to find that odd perspective.”
Shin shies away from being too prescriptive in terms of the meanings within her works, and each illustration is formed from a sentence she imagines that she then translates visually. “Reading is very important in my life, so I hope people who see my work feel like they’re reading passages from a book. Sometimes it could be poetry or a novel – the genre will vary depending on who reads it.”