Jianrong Lin is a New York-based freelance illustrator whose work is targeted for editorial and advertising markets. Born and raised in China, he immigrated to the states at the age of 17, and was determined to become an illustrator.
Jianrong studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and received degrees in Fashion Illustration and General Illustration – disciplines that translate to his work in elegant, and bold illustrative concepts. While still in school, he started painting murals for local restaurants, and has a thriving side business doing large-scale works: https://www.darenart.net/
Right before graduation, Jianrong landed his first freelance illustration job working on a couple of medical illustrations for Merck Pharmaceutical. Following a successful first project, Jianrong was contacted by Merck again to illustrate a series of medical advertising posters. Shortly after this job Jianrong had the honor of beginning work on a storyboard campaign for AT&T’s TV commercial with Grey Advertising – these jobs kick-started Jianrong’s illustration career.
Within a year after graduation, Jianrong had works accepted into Society of Illustrators’ Exhibition, and the 3×3 magazine’s annual.
“I feel thankful that I knew from early on what I want to do with my life; making art is all I think about. I am constantly inspired by the world around me, and my aim is to share my discoveries, to tell visual stories, and convey messages and ideas through imagery in an interesting way.”
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The first thing I do when I receive an assignment is to carefully go over the brief and the accompanying materials. If it’s a story or an article, I underline the main idea and circle the key words. I then start researching the subject to get a better grip on the story. Communicating with the art director is vital at this stage. It’s the best way to understand the client’s expectations for the job.
Once I have a clear understanding of the assignment, I try to envision the visuals for the illustration. Then I roughly draw out the images in my head and start brainstorming. The question I ask myself the most is “how can I convey the message and idea through my illustration in an interesting way.” I care very much about composition and how each element interacts with each other within the image. Three to five sketches will be presented to the client.
After the sketch has been approved, I work on top of it digitally to experiment with the color choices. Different colors give different moods. It’s important to me to pick the right mood for the illustration. Usually two color variations will be provided.
I start working on the final illustration with traditional medium, usually ink and brush, to draw out the lines and the shapes. Then I bring my drawing to Photoshop for coloring. In the end, I apply homemade textures to the illustration to accentuate the natural look.
Here is an example of a poster project I did for Merck Pharmaceutical.