When Stella Park notes down her feelings and experiences through drawing, she can always remember them vividly, even after a long time. Like many working illustrators today, the Seoul-based creative has loved to draw ever since she was young. It has become her daily routine to record the things she’s done that day, choosing coloured pencils as her favourite medium to express these activities.
The colours and shapes of her illustrations tend to change depending on her mood and feelings that day. However, consistently bright and colourful, Stella’s detailed drawings depict everyday passings such as rides on the bus, shopping at the supermarket or eating at a restaurant. “I think it’s very special to draw a daily routine that someone can pass by and recognise,” explains Stella. “People also heal through illustration and drawing, and can understand difficult experiences through a simple illustration.”
In the past, Stella mainly drew while travelling, capturing the excitement of her new whereabouts and noting down the slightest of details in the brickwork of buildings, to the texture of tablecloths. But nowadays, she’s trying to pay closer attention to the city she was born and raised in, Seoul, having realised one day, that she was surrounded by rich inspiration and potential stories. “So I’m looking at each day with more and more affection than I did before,” the illustrator tells It’s Nice That, “Previously, I was in a hurry to draw all the countries I visited, but now I’m just trying to draw what I felt while on the trip.”
Having studied media design at university, Stella’s untrained approach to illustration gives her work a fresh perspective. “Whenever I draw something,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I try to draw it as warmly as possible because I think our daily lives are also warm and valuable.” She looks to the friendly aesthetic of children’s book illustrators to inform her illustrated worlds and smiling characters.
She importantly notes that in her travel illustration series, though many people visit and draw the same destinations, each illustrator depicts the same places differently through a distinctive style. Cheerfully optimistic, Stella’s illustrative practice could smoothly slip into most illustrated children’s book thanks to her ability to evoke sensory atmospheres through drawing. The gentle wind rustling through the fronds of a palm tree, or the warm sun showered across a cityscape is sure to stir the imaginations of any child reading a book adorned with her work.
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