Daren Lin is a New York-based freelance illustrator. He was born and raised in China. Daren received degrees in Fashion Illustration and General Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. He also has a thriving business doing large-scale works and paints murals for local restaurants. Daren started his freelance illustration journey with Merck Pharmaceutical, illustrating a series of medical illustrations for the company. He then kick-started his illustration career with collaborating a storyboard campaign with AT&T’s TV commercial and Grey Advertising. Daren has had works accepted into Society of Illustrators’ Exhibition, and the 3×3 magazine’s annual.
2016 Society of Illustrators Student Competition – Honorable Mention
2017 3×3 Illustration Annual 14 – Silver Award, Honorable Mention
2018 Applied Art – Honorable Mention
2019 Illustration West 57 – Bronze Award
2019 Communication Arts Illustration Annual 60
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.