Meet Anaïs

PINK PUNCH IS HAPPY TO SHARE, 

A CLOSER LOOK :  THE PERSON BEHIND THE ART

Anaïs Lee

Hi Anaïs,  thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Here goes!

What's your favorite shade of pink?

Coral pink.

What's your go-to medium?

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of commercial work. For personal projects or commissioned by private clients for illustration style portraits, I always go to my colored pencils. I also like to use colored pencils for creating children’s book illustrations.

 Anais's digital illustration

Anais's digital illustration

 Anais's colored pencil art

Anais's colored pencil art

What medium is new to you and you would like to try?

Gouache and pastel. They have been sitting in my drawers for a long time, but I haven’t really explored them. I would like to come up with a project for them. I also just got an iPad Pro and am still getting used to draw on screen. So far I like the feel of using Apple Pencil. 

What do you listen to while you paint or draw?

Podcast, NPR, audio books, jazz, classical, movie soundtracks, etc.

Where do you live?

An one-bedroom apartment with two huge windows(I love natural light) in Queens, New York.

Where have you lived?

Taiwan, Singapore, Florida, New Jersey, and New York in America.

Besides illustration, what other creative activities do you do?

I used to create a lot of handmade stuff, block printing, scrapbooking, embroidery, crochet, etc. But I don't have time for these fun things nowadays. I’d like to get back to these creativities again.

 272 hand-painted wooden wedding dolls for a private client

272 hand-painted wooden wedding dolls for a private client

 Carving a stamp

Carving a stamp

 Crocheted coasters

Crocheted coasters

 Stitches

Stitches

I love writing. I have written a book about American food and did all the illustrations as well. This book was published in Taiwan. Now I am writing my second book which is about my life in America. I also blog. I have two blogs (both written in Chinese Mandarine), one focuses on illustration which I interview many awesome illustrators; one is a personal blog writing about my life, my dogs, and activities in New York.

 My first illustrated book 

My first illustrated book 

 

What other jobs have you had?

A lot! Graphic designer, TV show producer, screenwriter for TV drama series, actress, journalist, waitress, Chinese copywriter at Disney, writer, teacher.

Why do you like being an illustrator?

I’ve always been into art and literature ever since I was a kid. At first, I chose writing to be my career because I love words and stories. But after living in foreign countries for many years, I realized that visual arts allow me to express my feelings and thoughts, to tell stories that are not confined by the language barriers. I love beautiful objects and pictures. To create something beautiful that brings a smile to people’s face is really satisfying.

HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED?

The ways I stay inspired are to look at beautiful things and immerse myself in art and books. Living in a most interesting city (in my opinion) helps, too. The architecture, scenes, history, people, even food in New York City can become my inspirations. I also love nature. So visiting botanical gardens and watching animal documentaries inspire me to create art. 

What do you do in your spare time?

Cook, visit museums, take a walk with my dog, read books, write in my journals, go out and sketch, watch Netflix, take care of my little windowsill garden, and explore New York City.

I recently got an ukulele. I am still learning all the chords. So many things I'd like to do, so little time!   

WHAT'S YOUR TYPICAL WORKING DAY LIKE?

I usually wake up around 7 and 8 in the morning. I walk and feed my dog Punchy first. Brew coffee with a Moka pot and make breakfast. Then I would sip my coffee while I go over my to-do list in front of the computer. I write down the tasks in my paper planner, sometimes I would also write something in Day One (a journal app), like the dreams I had the night before, or goals I’d like to achieve today. Then I start working. I try not to open any social media and emails in the morning because it’s the time I do my “deep work”; although things don’t always go as planned. I usually do the work that requires more brain power like writing and brainstorming ideas in the morning. 

Drawing, coloring, checking emails, and updating social media are usually done in the afternoon. Then Punchy would come and ask me to take him for walk around 4 or 5 o’clock, depending on the season. In Winter we go out earlier because it gets dark early outside.

Sometimes I would go out to meet friends in the afternoon. Or visit museums.

I would go grocery shopping in the late afternoon and make dinner. After dinner, I continue to work, usually on replying students’ questions, bookkeeping, and other admin work. Sometimes I would just watch Netflix and relax for a bit. I would review the day and write in my journal before sleep. 

What movie have you seen several times?

There are many movies that I watched over and over. To name a few, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amélie), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and other Ang Lee's movies.

What book are you reading right now?

I always have several books that I am reading at the same time. Currently, I am reading a book about vegetables and fruits in Taiwan by a Taiwanese writer. "Do Unto Animals" written by Tracey Stewart and illustrated by Lisel Ashlock. "Pax" written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

What do you collect or hoard?

Books, art supplies, and journals! When I discover a new art tool or medium, I’d like to experiment and try them out. I have over a thousand of colored pencils, watercolor pencils, graphite pencils, and pastel pencils. I also have hundreds of books, and many sketchbooks, journals, and loads of paper for drawing, painting, and crafting.

 Just a small portion of Anais's colored pencil collection

Just a small portion of Anais's colored pencil collection

 Anais's library

Anais's library

What’s your favorite city?

New York City, yet sometimes I miss my home town Taipei. I'd love to visit Paris and cities in Japan in the future.

What is your next big goal?

I have so many goals in my list! Currently I am writing my second book. And I plan to launch an online shop selling my own products. I’d also like to have an agent for licensing, books and commission work. Anything involved drawing animals, plants, food, and hand-lettering would be my dream projects!