Jongmee grew up in Michigan. While studying for her degree in Illustration at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit she began to focus on painting portraits in oils, as well as pattern design. However, she’s practiced an array of creative activities including animation, binding books, printing, sewing and wedding photography. Influences include John Singer Sargent and John William Waterhouse.
Drawing and inking her work by hand, Jongmee then ads color using Photoshop. She strives for her figures to be anatomically correct, and likes to include a lot of cyan and magenta whenever she can.
Jongmee’s style is elegant and alternative, like the artwork found in a classy graphic novel, but with a feminine touch. It works just as well in fashion, lifestyle and editorial contexts as in book illustration. In addition to illustration work, she creates surface patterns made up of carefully arranged objects, which are sometimes a touch more cartoonish than her regular work.
: What drew you to illustration/design? Jongmee
: My high school art teacher recommended illustration to me. Before that I wasn't even aware of the field. I love storytelling and I was attracted to illustration because it is basically a visual essay, telling stories with lines and colors. Question
: Do you have any formal design training? Jongmee
: Yes, I studied Illustration from College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Question
: Where are you originally from? Jongmee
: I was born in South Korea and grew up in Michigan. Question
: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Jongmee
: Now I live in New York. I moved here about a year ago. It was a hard decision but since most clients I want to work for are located in New York, I thought this was the place to be. Question
: Do you collect anything? Jongmee
: I like collecting business cards from other illustrators and designers. They are almost always beautifully designed, it’s like collecting mini art work. Whenever I meet new art people I never forget to ask for their business card. Question
: What are your interests outside of illustration? Jongmee
: I love movies! I can spend hours talking about it. Film is another great method of telling stories and it is my dream to do work for a film or if possible, make my own short animation some day. Question
: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Jongmee
: I recently did a cover for The Bravest Warriors. It's one of my favorite cartoons and it was a blast drawing the characters.
: What would be your dream job/commission? Jongmee
: I would love to illustrate a book about a fashionista girl and her cat having adventures in a big city. Question
: Who are your art heroes? Jongmee
: There are so many! But John Singer Sargent and John William Waterhouse are my top two heroes. I love the gentle silhouettes of their figure drawings and I try to have the same feminine elegant postures and lines in my figures. Question
: Who are your design heroes? Jongmee
: Charles and Ray Eames. Their work in architecture and furniture design is just absolutely chic. Although I don't know much about the field, I adore their style. Question
: What do you have bookmarked? Jongmee
It's a nice website to get color ideas if you are looking for a different palette than what you usually work with. Question
: What is your favorite graphics programme? Jongmee
: The one and only Photoshop. I've been using it since I was in Middle School and I feel the most comfortable with it. Question
: What is your favourite game, computer or not? Jongmee
: Right now, my favorite is Candy Crush. Sweeeet! Question
: What's your favorite scene or line from a film? Jongmee
: When Billy dances in front of his Dad for the first time in Billy Elliot.