Baozi is a freelance illustrator based in Taipei. Baozi’s work can be found on many stationeries and commercial activities. She is talented at creating images with words to express her own perspective about life. She created her first picture book ‘Run’ when she was an Illustration MA student at Brighton University UK. Get to know more about this inspiring artist and her original character ‘Superbear’.
Q: Where do you get inspiration for your characters’ designs? Is there a story behind your characters?
A: I first created a blue bear named ‘Superbear’ as an illustration on a card for Ethos Stationery 8 years ago. The slogan of this character is ‘All I Need To Do is to Make You Happy’ and it was shown on the card as well. I wanted Superbear to portray a gentle and reliable image, so I created it with a giant and soft body. I also used my favourite colour, Turkish Blue, on it because I don’t want it to look realistic. The name ‘Superbear’ might leave people thinking that it has superpowers, but it does not have any powers. In my mind, its ability is just to understand and feel people’s minds. It always has a way to heal one’s broken heart.
Q: How do you overcome creative blocks?
A: I make it a habit to view plenty of images so that I can create fresh and interesting artworks. When I feel empty in my head, I read, watch movies and Japanese dramas, and listen to the radio. I also keep a notepad with me to jot down any ideas that come up randomly, so I can read them when I need inspiration. I also get to know people by listening to their stories, especially from strangers. This helps me to create art that can relate to them better.
Q: Has there been any other artist who has had an influence on you or your work?
A: Basically, all kinds of artists can influence me. Two very influential artists for me are Yoshitomo Nara and Gary Baseman. Their ideas to display and present their works are so amazing. I also learn many from picture books. One of my favourite illustrators is Shaun Tan. I am very fascinated by the connection between words and illustrations.
Q: If you had to choose just one of your works, which one means the most to you and why?
A: Most of my works are for commercial uses or functional design, but my wish is to make picture books. In these years, only one of my works can fully represent me – the picture book I did for my MA graduate project at Brighton in 2015. It is a story named “Run” with 17 full-page illustrations. The illustrations were inspired by different parts of my life and compiled into a fantasy story. Though I have not published it yet, it exists to remind me of the kind of illustration I want to create.
Q: You’ve created beautiful merchandises like stationeries and bags with your illustrations on it. What would you love to create that you have yet to make?
A: I would love to make more eco-products first because I think illustrations can effectively influence people to develop a habit without words. Recently, I designed T-shirts, which is a simple collaboration. I hope my illustrations can be used in more clothing designs. I also attempt to collaborate with house ware brands or baby products. It seems like all products in life interest me. I would say that I expect all kinds of collaborations with my illustration!
Good things are meant to be shared. 😉 To see more of Baozi Chen’s work, check out the links below!