In design, to communicate a humorous message through one, single image is no mean feat. It’s even harder to make someone actually laugh out loud at an illustration, however Sujin Kim makes all of this seem easy through her truly hilarious digital illustrations.
The Korean illustrator, now living in Japan, became interested in design while studying an unfulfilling advertising course. However, despite not enjoying the course all the time, the illustrator takes the direct communication skills she learnt and applies them to create images that are filled with immediate wit. In one illustration, Sujin depicts a comically simplified palm tree with long, green hair and a nonchalant expression. The caption, “run away” subtly signifies to the proportionately tiny foot adorned with a white Nike sock, stepping out of a similarly tiny pot. The simple aesthetic strips all line and colour to the bare essentials. Sujin’s work only uses line if it is absolutely essential, the same goes for colour. In the run away drawing, there are only three block colours simply outlined by definitive black lines, enhancing the sense of flatness and consequently helps straightforwardly communicate the message of the work.
In conversation with It’s Nice That, Sujin tells us how she “tries to humorously express negative feelings or thoughts that are difficult to express in real life.” Her folio shows numerous examples of a heavy theme expressed lightheartedly. In Polar Bear’s Getting Suntan, Sujin depicts a polar bear sunbathing under a red hot sun and resting on the tip of a shrinking iceberg. Jokingly, the docile polar bear seems to be enjoying the heat; a dark-humoured take on the impending realities of global warming.
Sujin’s points of reference originate from daily life experiences that we all encounter, partly the reason to why her work is so relatable. With a “spontaenous” style of working, the illustrator explains, “I usually draw an idea that comes to me in that moment. But before I start to draw, I set the captions for the drawing” which frames the tone and intention of a piece before drawing comes into the composition.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.