Kaiyee Tay is a graphic design/illustration student, currently studying in London. Graduated from Temasek Polytechnic in 2007.
OIC: Hi Kaiyee! Tell us about your background and how did you choose to study Central Saints Martin?
Kaiyee: Hi fei! I am graphic design/illustration undergrad Kaiyee Tay, formerly from Temasek Polytechnic Singapore, most friends/tutors remember me as the boy who illustrated cartoon genitals for a sex education/children’s book i made for my final year project. After spending two years in the army, i figured the only thing i would really love to do with my life is continue to draw and/or be creative and make a living from all that. I chose to study at Central Saint Martins because of it being located at the heart of london, it’s reputation of being a school for risk takers and experimentation, i knew i’d push myself in many ways in such an environment.
OIC: I see that in CSM graphic design course there are many different pathways (advertising/animation/illustration etc) and all the graduates’ work has very distinct style.
Why did you choose illustration? Do you think that having a personal style is important?
Kaiyee: Before i started my school term last year, i already had an intention to enter the illustration pathway. It was clear to me since my polytechnic days that i was just more interested in drawing and making my own images. It’s good to have a personal style that an audience recognizes immediately, but in the long run as a commercial illustrator it might be more rewarding to be flexible – more variety of jobs. It really depends on what kind of illustrator i want to be, and how i sell myself to clients. At this point i would say i want to learn as much as possible and be able to apply all that skill in the future, it is scary to think that technology and trends are moving so quickly, i’d say staying in your comfort zone is the last thing you want to do.
OIC: Could you tell us about some of your work? Are there any constant theme or message you would like to engage your audience with?
Kaiyee: With my personal work, i like to create entire worlds and crazy narratives. Making up stories and/or telling them is what i like to engage in. Being quite a silly person (yes i admit that), i find my work usually a reflection of my thoughts. I’ve always been very interested in character design, so i have an on-going series of drawn characters, sometimes based on people around me or who i’ve seen on the train. If theres any message involve – it takes all sorts to make a world. Theres always a look or a personality out there that just amuses me – i just want to share it the way i see it.
OIC: What inspires you as a creative person and how do you keep yourself motivated?
Kaiyee: Besides the usual inspiration found around everyday media, i would say actually having conversations with different people and if needed, actually asking for feedback. I am grateful to be surrounded by creative talents (both in school and out), who have always been there for me.
Being competitive helps, being aware that there are really talented illustrators out there, but it’s one thing to be impressed by others yet another to actually create really satisfy work that just makes my day. I think the first step for me is to pick up my pencils and start sketching, even if i don’t like what i just drew at least it was good practice or may lead to the next best idea.
OIC: Who is a famous illustrator you would like to collaborate with? Why?
Kaiyee: Ippei Gyoubu, not sure if he’s famous enough. But he has always been a big influence on me, how he incorporates his style into his projects for clients, the attention to detail and the very amazing use of colour. Technically an awesome illustrator, and a great imagination to boot.
But recently i’ve been a big fan of Stacey Rozich too, her amazing folk-like illustrations and play with stroke and form is sublime, another illustrator who’s not just good at making pretty drawings. (ok i cheated, that was two)
OIC: Lastly, share an illustration advise / technique we could learn from.
Kaiyee: I think the most important part of drawing is to have fun, i personally like to draw whatever’s on my mind when i have the time and listen to music while i work. Ideas always come when you least expect it, so better write them down in your phones or notebooks. Also i think its good to be passionate about other things other then just illustration, like say – comics, saturday morning cartoons, video games, cheesy music or fantasy novels – really fuels the mind !
See more of Kaiyee works here : http://cargocollective.com/kaiyee#