October 2019: Jean Gao

Atelier: Our featured artist this month is Jean Gao! Please tell us a bit about who you are and what you make:

Jean: Hello! I’m Jean, the Lead Visual Designer at Atelier. I work with the Atelier team to design our handouts, newsletters, window decorations, sandwich signs and more. I also do illustrations for products like art prints and postcards for the shop, and hope to expand that role in the upcoming year. My personal Instagram account is @jeangaosketchbook. I’ve kind of gone back to basics there, and am studying the fundamentals of art from the beginning.

Autumn at Atelier - digital

Atelier: What kinds of materials and media do you like to use?

Jean: Whatever’s in front of me, I guess? I’m most familiar with brush pens for ink drawings, and watercolor for paintings, but enjoy experimenting with new materials. I also use Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint and Procreate for digital painting, and will sometimes add digital effects and adjustments to scans of traditional work. The bird picture below was originally drawn with pen, and the color was added in Photoshop.

Chimney Cleaning - Micron pen and digital

Atelier: Let's talk learning. How did you learn your craft?

Jean: I don’t have a formal art education, but I’ve been blessed with some wonderful teachers throughout my life, including an apprenticeship with Felix of Felix Doolittle in 2017. For the rest, it’s been a combination of art books, online tutorials, and experimentation. I’ve learned a lot by doing master studies - essentially copying others’ work and trying to reproduce the effects they achieve. It’s a really great learning tool as long as you don’t claim the work as your own.

Newton Community Farm - watercolor

Atelier: Who is an artist you’re really into right now?

Jean: Oh wow, so many! How can I choose? Three of my current favorites are:
Zao Dao - stunning paintings and comics that combine traditional Chinese painting techniques and fantasy themes.
Gonzalo Cárcamo - his watercolor art somehow manages to look painterly and photorealistic at the same time. It blows my mind and I love it.
Chiara Benedetti - adorable children’s illustration with gorgeous lighting, atmosphere, and shape language.
Definitely go check them all out!

Lazy Afternoon - colored pencil

Atelier: What’s a creative goal you have for the year?

Jean: I’d love to develop a line of cute stickers for The Paper Mouse. Email us or leave a comment on social media if there's anything you'd like to see in sticker form!

Raiders of the Lost Art - watercolor and digital

Get in Touch

Jean's work can be viewed on Instagram at @jeangaosketchbook.

She will also be participating in Atelier's 2nd annual Craft Show on December 7th. Drop in to meet Jean and check out her work in person!



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