Blank Paper Project started six-years back as an act of dismissing conflicting thoughts that comes in the way of creating something real on a blank paper. Many artists around the world joined me in sharing their perspectives on blank paper.
The Project also gave me a sense of solidarity knowing I was in the company of amazing creatives who understood the impact their art could have on everything they touched.
One such wonderful creative is Tiffany Pai.
Tiffany Pai is a Beijing-born, Brooklyn-based illustrator and designer. I came across her work while reading about Jocelyn Bioh, the woman behind the famous African Mean Girls Play. Tiffany’s illustration of Jocelyn stuck with me for days. Tiffany was able to capture the soul of the person behind her illustration. The insecurities of a colored artist struggling to find her voice.
Let’s jump to Tiffany’s interview for Blank Paper Project.
What is the creative process behind your art?
I tend to mull an idea over in my mind for days before I start making quick, wildfire sketches. I then move to brush pens and ink. Finally, I’ll finish my illustrations by coloring them digitally.
How do you dismiss all the conflicting thoughts in your head and focus on the single process of creation?
I frequently struggle with this problem. I tend to second guess my concepts all the time. I find that the deadline helps a lot; there’s a degree of freedom in knowing that you just have to hand in the best you have.
Give us a sneak-peek into your typical day. How does ‘a Day In Life of Tiffany Pai look like?
I commute daily from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan where I work as a designer at PLANSPONSOR and PLANADVISER magazines. I’ll sketch during my hour-long commute, and I try to do as much illustration as possible in my downtime.
What do you feel when you stare at a blank page before your art take shape on the whiteness of the sheet?
I’m always really intimidated by a blank page – especially nice paper! I’ve found that working on cheaper paper helps with that fear exponentially. I tend to remember why I love drawing as soon as I make my first mark.
Which is the concurrent theme of your work – Humanitarian cause, Feminism?
I like to portray powerful women and girls in my work. I also try to inject as much Chinese/Asian culture into my work as possible, since we’re so underrepresented in media!
If someone issues a search warrant through your tools and sketchbooks, what are they likely to stumble into?
Lots of ink and brush pens! Regarding sketchbooks, I’ve recently started using the Canson mixed media pad. I’ve also started using procreate on the iPad pro – it’s amazing!
Tell us more about your side hustle/ other creative projects.
My full-time day job is graphic design, so I guess you could say that illustration is my side hustle?
What are your can’t-live-without stationery essentials?
Japanese brush pens and ink!
You can check out her amazing work here: https://tiffany-pai.com/