Joyce Hwang pokemon pins

Interview: Graphic Designer and Illustrator Joyce Hwang

Every artist has a unique touch to their art. Joyce Hwang translates a personal soft art approach to showcase her inspirations throughout her graphic designs and illustrations. From book covers to Harry Potter art pieces, Joyce has worked on a broad spectrum of visual work.

illustrator Joyce Hwang
Joyce Hwang takes a selfie.

Residing in Seattle, Joyce has been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for almost seven years! Apart from this, she owns her own Etsy shop where she sells her art creations after turning them into pins, stickers, and more items. A lover of bright colors and quirky illustrations, get to know more about Joyce’s artistic journey to finding herself as a geek and an artist.

Photos provided by Joyce Hwang

Read our interview!

Joyce Hwang artist and illustrator small art prints
Small art prints / Photo credit: Joyce Hwang

How do you choose the art pieces that you want to get made into enamel pins and stickers?

That’s a really good question! Since pins and stickers are decorative, I try to think about what people would feel good about adding to their laptops, jackets, water bottles, bags, etc. For pins specifically, I look for designs with line work that would translate well — generally, that means something simple and graphic.

Where does the inspiration for your art come from? Are there any areas where you live that you go to for ideas?

My inspiration mostly comes from playing video games, watching shows/movies, and reading books. Falling in love with a series or characters never fails to inspire me! Other times, my inspiration comes from my emotions — I find that sadness, yearning, and hope are the most compelling ones for me. As for areas, anywhere with botanical life!

Joyce Hwang artist's "Bubbline"
“Bubbline” / Graphic credit: Joyce Hwang

Your art has such a soft and delicate feel to it! How did you choose this sort of vibe for your illustrations?

Thank you so much! Thinking about it now, it isn’t so much of a conscious choice — I guess it’s kind of a reflection if I can put it like that. The majority of the art I make are things that make me happy or feel some sort of way, and I put it out there hoping that it also makes other people feel similarly!

Joyce Hwang artist sports her designed tee "The Bun Who Lived"
Joyce Hwang sports her “The Bun Who Lived” shirt

When did you know that you wanted to pursue your art career seriously?

I’m thankful that I’ve worked in offices and for companies for the majority of my life — I feel like it definitely helped me hone essential skills like time management, collaboration, understanding asks, and as trivial as it sounds, email writing. 

I realized that I wanted to pursue my art and freelance career more seriously when I began to understand myself better: my work style, mental needs, and how I felt fulfilled. Every job has its own unique perks and hardships. 

It was also a calculated risk — I’d been creating and selling art on the side for a couple of years before I felt like I could responsibly take the leap. This is going to sound super corny and cliché, but truly I can only do what I do because of everyone’s support — I’m so grateful!

You have some design work for book covers and campaigns, are there any personal favorite book covers or campaign designs you’ve seen that you wish you had done?

Too many! I’m always in awe! If I had to pick a couple off the top of my head, I would say Sharing Puglia by Luca Lorusso and Vivenne Polak — the cover and interior are just so playful and colorful, it looked like it was a lot of fun to put together. It looks like love was poured into it. And Kristin Kish’s cookbook, just because I love her so much! Also, this isn’t a book or a campaign, but lately I’ve been watching The Chef Show on Netflix, and the animations for it are just perfect and well done!

Hogwarts sticker
Hogwarts sticker / Photo credit: Joyce Hwang

You have a good amount of Harry Potter-related illustrations, what is one HP character that you heavily relate to?

Oh wow, another good question! I feel like I relate the most to Newt Scamander — he’s awkward, introverted, and is often thrust into situations that require action and resolution. He’s also loyal, soft, and likes to help, like a good Hufflepuff (which is also the house I belong to)! And like Newt, I definitely seek out animals first whenever I’m out and about or at someone’s place!

As a girl in geek culture, how do you embrace your inner geek?

Growing up, it wasn’t always cool to be into video games, sci-fi, and anime/comics. At some points, it felt like a part of myself that I had to keep on the down-low. But now, I’m so very happy that geek culture has become an inextricable part of pop culture, and that women are a bigger, more active part of it! Personally, I love to cosplay, incorporate nerdy accessories/clothes/decor into my daily life, and of course, create geeky things for others to use!

Joyce Hwang's "Meowser Minyans" pouches
“Meowser Minyans” pouches / Photo credit: Joyce Hwang

Your cats are absolutely adorable! Do they serve as some inspiration for your animal illustrations?

Thank you! They’re so cute and bratty, lovable and exasperating all at the same time — I hope some of that energy carries over to the characters I draw!

Saint Harry and Saint Draco art prints
Saint Harry and Saint Draco art prints / Photo credit: Joyce Hwang

From Daenerys’ Dragons in Game of Thrones to Harry’s owl Hedwig, what is one pet in geek culture that you would like to have?

Oh gosh, again, too many! Not exactly a pet, but I’ve always thought it’d be so cool if we all had a daemon like people do in the His Dark Material series. Or Heen from Howl’s Moving Castle— I’d love to have him as a pet or familiar!

Check out more of Joyce’s work on her website and Etsy shop. You can also catch up with Joyce and her cats on Instagram

Featured image credit: Joyce Hwang

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