Design Made Happy has partnered with designer and illustrator, Winnie Wong, for a free workshop this Saturday. Winnie is the cool cat behind Penelope Pop, her brand, portfolio, and blog all rolled into one. We got to sit down with Winnie to talk about her work, her creative process, and tips to people who are aspiring to break into the design industry.
1. Who is Winnie Wong? Could you tell us more about your background?
“Winnie Wong is a Philippine-based illustrator with a dual passion for art and education. While earning her Bachelors in Vancouver at the Emily Carr University of Arts and Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Winnie contributed to professional work to brands such as Listerine® Singapore, Nick-Asia and Cosmopolitan Magazine Philippines. Since 2011, Winnie has been the proud founder of Future Faces Manila- a non-profit foundation that hosts art-related events and campaigns to fund low-income Filipino scholars aspiring towards higher education.” – This is from my website haha. I am currently a High School Graphic Design and Photography Teacher at International School Manila while I also work on projects outside.
2. How would you describe your creative process?
I spend a lot of time just thinking and looking at picture books. A lot of my best ideas come just by spacing out or pretty random moments, so I make sure my phone is with me or a random sheet of paper so that I can remember and develop my idea more.
3. Where does your inspiration come from? Who are your favorite designers and illustrators?
Photo from @oliverjeffers
I love Oliver Jeffers; I love characters that are constructed in a weird way, and he does it so beautifully! Not only can he illustrate but he is amazing at painting. I especially love his dipped painting series.
4. What does the philosophy “design made happy” mean to you?
“Design made happy” means creation made with love… does that even make sense? haha
5. What’s your advice to aspiring designers/artists out there?
I am no expert, I am definitely still learning every day, but based on things that have stuck with me, these are five things I want to share:
1. For those who are still in High School: To some extent, it doesn’t matter what university you get into, it is the type of experiences you establish for yourself.
Are you going to get involved with other activities/learning beyond the classes you have? How are you going to connect and develop relationships you have with your peers and people you meet? Be self-directed. It is up to you!
2. Misunderstanding and miscommunication happen a lot.
Make sure you are honest and communicate what you want, but also reflect, understand and try to hear out what others are trying to tell you.
3. Be open to criticism and feedback.
Reflect to understand or accept it. Criticism may benefit you more than it will hurt you. No one else is going to care about what you do, but you.
4. Things aren’t going to go your way.
Nor will you always be in a situation in which you will like what you are doing, it is okay to let it affect you, but it up to you whether you will take it as a challenge to overcome it.
5. I strongly believe in a balanced lifestyle.
The term “pursuing your passion”, in my opinion, should not be taken literally. Being open to other ideas is always good. You are always evolving and changing the way you think. What you like now, you may come to realize you do not actually like it.
6. Don’t put your eggs in one basket without having a backup plan.
Unless you are the blessed 1% of the population, being an artist (hence the term “starving artist”) will not support you (let’s be real here). It was important to find something else that will give you a comfortable income to support yourself while pursuing something that you love.
That way you can enjoy what you do without worrying about what you’re going to be eating for dinner. I’ve always wanted to pursue design, but because of its inconsistent income, I wanted to find something else that would work well and help me live comfortably. Teaching has eventually become something that I love to do. The students challenge me and inspire me to stay updated on what I do. I am so proud of what they have achieved.
6. What are you hoping to explore this 2017?
I have created an “impossible list” for myself. I got this idea from the instructor from an online photography workshop lol. I hope to continue to achieve things on the list, which keeps growing, in all aspects—professional, personal, creative, travel and health.
7. What to expect from your workshop?
Its a HOW-TO for beginners/intermediate. The workshop will teach you how important it is to know how to utilize your skills and hopefully use the tools in your very own way! 🙂