Seoul-based illustrator Yeji Yun has created On The Rocks, a little zine about “ice and alcohol” which begins with a whale and ends with inuits hunting for ice in the deep blue sea and then serving cocktails to their animal friends. The story was inspired by Yeji’s recent experiences. “I’ve started to enjoy going to bars – all those spirits, whiskies and cocktails are something new and fun to explore,” she says. “I like observing how bartenders make cocktails using different shapes of ice and glasses, which in turn provided inspiration for the story.”
Yeji is also fascinated by frozen lands, which is the chilly backdrop to the illustrator’s charming story. Yeji likens her style to a visual poem, where the story isn’t “obviously clear” but the images allude to the narrative. “I like to play with contrasting themes, like comedy and tragedy, naivety and wickedness and creating worlds that appeal to both children and adults,” she says.
Created in a beautiful mix of cerulean and sapphire blues with the odd pop of pink, Yeji’s drawing process is thorough and considered. “I make lots of rough sketches to create ideas first, then I refine the shapes of figures and decide on a colour palette. After that I draw the final lines and create textures by hand, and then collage together in layers on Photoshop,” the illustrator explains.
Just shy of A5 size, On The Rocks uses the entire page, filling it with full-bleed scenes and large spot illustrations that transport us to a wintry landscape with humorous characters. “I like to make things that people can keep for a long time,” says Yeji. “I feel the format of zines and books is easier to keep than a poster or postcard. Also I like that you can create a proper story between the pages that will resonate with readers.”