Q> Before you travelled from Toronto all the way to Los Angeles and you began your career path at ArtCenter College of Design, what inspired you to pick up a pencil and draw?
Hana Eunjin Yean> I’ve always been a maker of things. When I was younger my dream was to be an origami teacher. I always knew I wanted to do something related in the design field but didn't really know what that was exactly. My dad makes traditional Korean furniture as a hobby and my mom was an art teacher. I think growing up with creative parents had a huge influence on me. My parents saw the potential in me when I was younger and really helped me to pursue my dream. I think it was just a natural path that I took. I actually never thought about doing anything other than art/design. I don't know what I would be doing now if i didn't get into art.
Q> How would you say your style has developed from those first drawings to now?
HEY> I didn’t have much of a specific style when I first started drawing. I first learned drawing and painting in Korea back when I was in the 6th grade. Art in Korea is focused heavily on traditional painting and academics. It helped me to have a strong foundation of skill but doing traditional art for four years in Korea put a lock on my creativity. The lessons got deep into my head, It was hard to break out of the box. I just wanted to be good at drawing/painting and didn't really know the importance of having your own voice. It was during ArtCenter, I slowly wrapped my head around having my own voice and started to understand it’s okay to be "wrong" and draw weird. It was a slow transition from doing realistic work to working outside the box.
Q> At ArtCenter College of Design, was there a point where you felt like you knew exactly what it was you wanted to do with your career?
HEY> It was when I was taking Storyboarding 3 class I had with Paul B. Kim. I struggled a lot during my 3rd year in college just because i didn't know what I wanted to do exactly with my life. I loved drawing, painting, designing characters and environments but didn't know where I could apply these skills. I hate making choices and I couldn't just choose one.
Trying to hone in on exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I took motion classes out of curiosity but I didn't really enjoy animating. It wasn't until I took storyboarding 3 class with Paul B. Kim when I realized that this is what I wanted to do with my career. Making frames for commercials and music videos was a perfect thing for me because it can be done in so many different styles. The class was just like doing pitches in a studio, we got a brief from Paul and had to come up with concept, storyboards, and style frames. It was challenging at first since it was different from other illustration/graphic classes I took before, but I realized this is the career I can keep doing the design I love without getting bored!
Q> Cut to today, as an INCREDIBLY talented artist. You have a very Hana-esque style that is true to only you. Do you feel like you have a specific style and if so, how did that develop into your style?
HEY> I didn’t realise I had my own style until I started working and a few of my friends told me that they could tell which scenes I designed. I still don’t know what my design style is for sure. I feel like it’s constantly changing as I'm still learning and getting inspired all the time by seeing other talented people’s work. As I said before, I tried to break away from that academic style I used to do and forced myself to draw in a unique way and less academically. Sometimes using simple shapes or using forced perspective, drawing with my left hand, etc. Eventually it just came naturally from drawing a lot and doing pitches with different styles at GS.
Q> What has been the highlight of your career so far?
HEY> Highlight… hmmm... I haven't been working that long. It has been about a year and a half since I have worked at GS but I have worked on so many AMAZING projects in that short time, its hard to pick just one highlight. I think the whole experience working at GS is the highlight of my career so far. I had the opportunity to work on Sports Alphabet with Bleacher Report, Africa Rocks with San Diego Zoo, Mia and Morton with Dairy Farmers of Canada, Imaginary Friend Society and Nas x Timberland. I worked on so, so many amazing projects, some recent graduates can't even dream of. I feel so lucky to be part of this amazing group who believe in and support me.
Q> What is your favourite snack?
HEY> Hot cheetos! Exxxtra spicy please.
Q> Is there a skill outside of the computer that you’d like to learn or develop?
HEY> Gouache painting! I took gouache painting class with the amazing artist, Peter Chen. If you don’t know his work already you should totally check him out. He sees the world with such beautiful colours. I used to paint with oil before I got into motion design and I forgot how much I loved it until I took his class. I never painted with gouache before so it was like learning how to paint from the start. It’s harder than painting in digital since I can’t do ctrl+z, but there’s beauty in touching actual paint anyways. I want to keep doing these paintings and go back to oil painting on canvas when I have more time!
Q> You make the most amazing soap. ever. Your soap line is called Binu-Lab. Your batches sell out in moments because they smell like a sweet dream. Do we see a Binu-Lab x Gentleman Scholar collab in the future?
HEY> Hahaha I hope so! I started making soap just for fun to use my hands to create a tangible object. It’s a great way to take a break from staring at pixels on a computer screen and look at colours in real life. It was the people at Gentleman Scholar who gave me courage to actually sell soaps at their Handcrafted Holiday event. I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but if it is Binu-Lab x Gentleman Scholar, it’s going to be pretty awesome!