PLAYFUL ILLUSTRATIONS BY RAN ZHENG

Ran Zheng, a.k.a Tracy, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a BFA in illustration. Born and grew up in China, She also lived in Zimbabwe for 3 years. Her biggest hobbies are traveling and experiencing different cultures. She currently lives in Brooklyn and works as a freelance Illustrator.

Into the Woods

What is the creative process behind your art?
I used to make pencil sketches first, color them digitally, and draw a final colored-pencil drawing on paper according to my tight designs. I’m a bit of a control freak so the drawing and color would be very carefully planned before the final drawing, so I don’t make big mistakes or end up with an ugly color palette. Then I got an iPad, and now I do all of this digitally, where I have the freedom to change any color anytime and have the precious option of undo. But I do miss drawing with an actual pencil where the unpredictability plays a role in the making of the art. I hope I’ll get to go back to it sometime and see where I can find a middle ground.
1
Tell me how it all began. What inspired you to start on this creative journey?
I’ve always loved drawing since I was young. When I was very confused about what to do in the future at the age of 15, I was a really cool design magazine cover at a kiosk and thought I’d love to be able to make something like that. And I’ve been working in this direction ever since.
7
Are you noticing a positive change in your industry?
Yes definitely. I’m really happy to see that there are more and more applications of illustrations everywhere. Although print publications are having a bit of a difficult time, there are many new places appearing on all sorts of new platforms. And as a Chinese illustrator, I work with some clients from China as well, where the industry has been thriving. Illustrators and taken more and more seriously and there are always lots of opportunities.

6

How do you dismiss all the conflicting thoughts in your head and focus on the singular process of creation?
This is always a tough one. Even after I start working on a piece, I always get distracted by thinking about all the different ways I could change it up. One teacher back in high school once said that my works always turn out good when I was struggling with a painting. Although it was just to comfort me and definitely wasn’t always true, I just think about it when I get too distracted or frustrated and just focus to finish whatever I’m working on.
3
What do you feel when you stare at a blank page before your art takes shape on the whiteness of the sheet?
I tend to feel very anxious every time I start a new project. I would be afraid to make a wrong mark, or not coming up with good ideas. But seems like it always turns out better than I thought. It might sound cliche, but the key really is just going out our comfort zones and making something not being afraid of mistakes. It’s easier saying it, but I try to remind myself of it every time this happens.
8
What are the challenges you currently face?
As I get busier with work, I have less time to focus on myself. Due to the nature of my profession, I take on topics chosen for me by my clients and the contents are already set. So at times when I do have a break, it’s become hard to reflect on what I want to say as an artist and what I want to personally communicate with my viewers. After a busy period of working, I like taking a break to relax, go out to see nature, or do something completely irrelevant to art so I can use this time to focus on myself.
10
If someone issues a search warrant through your tools and sketchbooks, what are they likely to stumble into?
They would probably think they were looking at some art supply store’s shelves because I love buying different materials. I love trying things out, but usually, I quickly realize that they don’t work out for me. So under my desk, there are drawers and boxes full of different types of paint, markers, and tools. And I get so attached to them thinking maybe I’ll come back to them someday and put them to good use.
Chinese Paying for a Meal in Zimbabwe During the Hyperinflation
What are your can’t-live-without stationery essentials?
I love some good colored pencils and fountain pens, and I can’t live without my laptop and iPad because I’ve been making lots of work digitally.

9

To see more of Ran’s beautiful work, visit her website. You can follow her inspiring Instagram for sketches and updates of what she is currently working on.

11Sun WukongFlowers

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s