Growing up in Busan, South Korea, Shanghee attended Anigo, a special high school for the arts, before emigrating to the US and achieving a BA in Illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Now based just outside Seattle, her influences include Hayao Miyazaki as well as her own mother who is an accomplished painter. Shanghee works quickly and is always conscientious about deadlines.
Shanghee loves tackling fresh challenges and enjoys working with a variety of clients in publishing, advertising and editorial. She draws in ink then paints by hand using acrylics, mixing her own colours from primaries. When working digitally she uses Photoshop and PaintTool SAI.
There’s a hint of classic 19th century illustration in Shanghee’s style, brought fully up to date by the design of her characters and a touch of 21st century whimsy. She loves drawing animals, giving them human traits and putting them into a world she calls ‘Animalsy’.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Shanghee: I was influenced by my mother and sister. My mother studied Fine Art, and with that effect, my sister and I loved to draw all the time when we played together in my childhood.Question: Do you have any formal design training? Shanghee: I went to an art specialist high school in South Korea, and after, I entered the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and graduated in 2011.Question: Where are you originally from? Shanghee: I was born in Basan, South Korea, it is biggest port city in South Korea.Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Shanghee: I live in the near Seattle area, Washington state, USA. After graduating from College in the LA area, my parents moved to Washington state, and when I visited them, I fell in love with all the nature, so I decided to live here too. Because I spent my childhood in the heart of mountains, I really love trees and animals, and the environment of this place reminds me my hometown.Question: How do you get your ideas? Shanghee: I usually think about combinations of various unrelated ingredients that I like. Especially, I try to find small linked-rings between functions of the subject matters, and then combine them together to make some odd and fun stories.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Shanghee: A Project from Microsoft, I drew some illustration images for the Lumia Mobile Device, 'Tile Art' App.Question: What about when you hit 'the wall' with an illustration? How do you cope with that? Shanghee: I read my old scrapbook, that was made in my kindergarten period. My kindergarten teacher made it for each of students with their drawings and paintings. I've loved to draw since I was really small, and I can refresh myself when I see it.Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Shanghee: For living, I am little scared where I have not visited before, so if I choose, Jeju island in South Korea.Question: If you won the lottery what would you do with the money? Shanghee: I will build, or buy a studio, that I can use it for gallery, cafe, and art studio, then, I will draw, and teach in there, and have many trips. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Shanghee: Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt. I want to see architectures, and civilization. Question: What is your favourite graphics programme? Shanghee: Sai tool - it is a simple and easy painting program with great quality and Photoshop.