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The Joy of Making Things
By Jessie Young – Jenny Yu’s masterfully crafted illustrations feature solitary figures wrapped in blankets of light and color.

Yu gravitated toward art at a young age.

She earned a BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach and was initially focused on traditional materials. She only started using digital tools during her junior year. “My friend gave me her old Bamboo tablet for free,” she says, “and that’s how it all started. I was really bad at it!”

References are important to Yu’s process. To imagine the essence of a scene, she must first understand its structure in the real world.  She’s inspired by the light and color she sees on walks around the city; her favorite photographers; and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

She chooses her subject matter according to her mood, in “slice of life-y contexts.” She’s drawn to quiet contemplation: sitting and having coffee, walking alone down the street, looking out the window. Her work often captures moments when the subject is lost in thought, unaware that anyone is paying attention. Instead of populating these spaces with crowds of bystanders, she fills the page with architectural details, angled lines of falling rain, and layered shapes created by late afternoon or early morning light.

Her favorite parts of the illustration process are to lock down the basic composition and structure and then experiment with value and color. more>

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