Christina Chung is a Taiwanese-Hong Konger-American illustrator. She grew up between Seattle, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and is now based in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from the Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design and a concentration in Illustration. Working digitally in a line and pattern-based style, she creates intricate, symbolic illustrations that celebrate diversity and the power of storytelling.
Society of Illustrators Student Show 2014, 2016
American Illustration 37 Chosen Winner
3×3 Illustration Show Honorable Mention No. 12, 13, 14, 15
ADAA 2015 Semifinalist
The New York Times
The Washington Post
San Francisco Chronicle
Ming River Baijiu
Yale Environment 360
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
San Antonio Magazine
My work process starts with thoroughly reading and considering the prompt from the client, be it an article, a manuscript or simply an idea. I like to note down words or phrases that inspire visuals whilst brainstorming to simplify the prompt into a short list.
From there, I gather reference images and visual inspiration and begin sketching out thumbnails of ideas. Translating the written word to an image is usually the most difficult part of my process. As a result, thumbnails are extremely important, as I can quickly test out different ideas without having to commit to any of them. While it’s fun for me to create a visually beautiful piece, it’s also imperative for the illustration to capture the root of the story that I’m trying to communicate through my work.
Once I have 3-5 thumbnails that I’m happy with, I flesh them out, by adding definitive line and value. The finished sketches are then sent to the client for approval, with the possibility of being being reworked until both parties are happy.
With the client’s approval on a sketch, I take it into Photoshop to begin the final piece. Black lines in digital ink act as the bones of the illustration, to which I add values, gradients, textures and finally color. I like to work with relatively minimal color palettes, leaning towards more muted tones while still being expressive and evocative overall. While lining and shading the piece takes up the most time, finalizing the color of the piece requires an equal amount if not more consideration as it sets the overall tone.