This month I have been chatting to YanYan Evan-Jones, a surface pattern illustrator currently based in Sussex, England. At the moment YanYan designs and illustrates adult colouring books, which are becoming increasingly popular world wide. I love that YanYan has such a daring approach to design in that she works directly in ink on to blank paper, being confident and fully committed to her creative vision. I hope you will be able to appreciate and enjoy her work as much as I do.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is YanYan Evan-Jones. I’m originally from Guangzhou, China but emigrated to England to live with my husband in September 2014. I’m fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and have primarily spent my professional career working as a language teacher for over 5 years in China.
- Where do you gather inspiration for your designs?
Most of my inspiration comes from nature, so I would describe my style as a simple but highly abstract interpretation of the natural beauty that surrounds me, and indeed all of us, on a daily basis.
- What is your creative process?
When I first started to draw in April 2015, I would draft my work in pencil before going over it with a pen. At this time I didn’t really have my own style and doodling was just an enjoyable way to kill time. The first time I worked directly on paper with pen was in July, after returning from trip to France – I remember picking up a black pen and casually drawing on a piece of paper. There wasn’t a specific object in my mind at that moment, I just followed my heart, an overall idea forming bit by bit with each additional line. Eventually, my first featured work was born, an intricate black and white drawing of some flowers. I shared this piece with my friends in various social media circles, and to my delight, it seemed as though many people loved it! The positive way my work was received was a great source of inspiration, and since then, I primarily let my heart take the lead and work directly with pen and paper. I love the fact that working this way means that there are no second chances; for better or worse you have to be confident and fully commit to your creative vision!
- What is your favourite piece of work that you have created?
My favorite piece has no specific name, it is a thought from an English phrase “the apple of one’s eyes”, but I changed the last word into “heart” , so it is “the apple of one’s heart”. If you could try to look into the details of it, it is an abstract object mixed with an apple and a heart within, the leaves surrounding, which represents nature.
- What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently designing a number of commissioned black and white illustrations for an adult colouring book-Mindful Colour and teaching Chinese (Mandarin).
- What are you doing when you are not creating?
Apart from my newfound love for, and potentially blossoming career in design, I also have real passion for healthy living and fitness – working out every day keeps me sane, energetic and positive!
- Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
“In the darkness, only ambition will guide you.”
Keep doing what you love, and never shy away from showing your work to others – so long as we’re prepared to listen, all feedback is good feedback and you never know what might result from meeting the right person at the right time!
8. Where can we find you?
YanYan welcomes commissions and is perfectly able to adapt her style to any particular subject matter. Please feel free to contact her on the above.
I would like to say a huge thank you to YanYan for allowing us a sneak peek into her creative world. Make sure you check out her wonderfully inspiring instagram and expect to see a lot more of Yanyans beautiful surface pattern designs!