Los Angeles-based illustrator Janice Chang creates scenes of conviviality, curiosity, and introspection. Chang’s distinctive style is simultaneously bold—think bright colors and broad limbs—and soft, with warm expressions and curving contour lines. Whether conveying the story of Nigerian sisters who reconnected over crossword puzzles for the New York Times or capturing the delightful experience of reading for pleasure, Chang highlights moments of human interaction and emotion.
Depending on whether she is tackling an editorial commission or exploring a personal project, Chang shares that her approach adjusts accordingly. “With editorial work I’m trying to find a solution for an existing, complex piece of text and translating that into a visually stimulating piece,” Chang explains. “With personal work, it’s something that I want to explore or that I’ve been thinking about a lot. I have a list of little random bits of life that I pull inspiration from. A series I’m working on right now is exploring the Feng Shui tips from my mom that she got from her Taiwanese talk shows.”
Chang showcases her signature clean, minimal aesthetic with a Squarespace portfolio site. “Squarespace has helped me market myself and create a website that I am excited to share,” Chang says. “The different templates allow you to really customize and make it unique to you and your work. I love how simple and elegant the design is, so that so much of the viewing experience is not just the work but navigating through the site itself. It’s easy to update and customize my site as I go, when a project is done I can immediately post it without any hassle.”
As Chang continues to grow her client list—NPR, Dropbox, The Atlantic, and TED have commissioned work—she is constantly reflecting, thinking about tone, representation, and inclusion in her human-centered illustrations.
I love to draw people. So many of the characters are extensions of the people around me, such as friends, family, or loosely inspired by random people at the park. It is important for an artist to recognize their responsibility, and that they can make a difference with the work they are putting out into the world. I feel like I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many different cultures and types of people, and that’s something that is important for me to talk about in my work: diversity, feminism, and representation.
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This article was sponsored by Squarespace.