Tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got into illustration.
Hello, we are a husband and wife team from China, “Uran” is our pseudonym. We graduated from the China Academy of Art with a major in graphic design. We are not traditional artists; we love to combine illustration and design.
Prior to 2019, we were engaged in graphic design and UI/UX design, but we always dreamed of being illustrators and drawing interesting and beautiful things. So in 2019, we left our original jobs and started our careers in illustration.
The majority of your illustrations feature people or animals. Are they your favourite subjects to draw?
Yes, we love drawing people and animals because they are lively and tell stories.
How would you describe your style?
Basically, it is a kind of flat illustration. Usually, we use the Pen Tool to draw vector outlines and then use pixel brushes to draw in details. Our style has smooth outlines, round shapes and bright colours.
Do you feel it has changed much over the years?
Yes, many of the flat illustration styles did not exist ten years ago. Countless information is being exchanged on the Internet every day. More and more illustrators share their works and skills, and more and more illustration styles are displayed in people’s field of vision. It is easier for everyone to learn from each other; this is a beautiful era.
What drove your imagination when you were younger?
Curiosity and creating drove our imagination. Finding out or gaining new things excites our sense of accomplishment, which makes us want to go as far as we can.
When you create a new illustration, what is your process?
It starts with an idea, sometimes from our own mind, and sometimes from the client’s brief. Then we will look for some inspiration on Pinterest and then start drawing sketches in the Pixel Persona of Affinity Designer. After deciding on the sketch, we switch to Vector Persona to draw vector outlines and fill in colours. Finally, we go back to the Pixel Persona and use texture brushes to add details.
How did you hear about Affinity Designer, and what inspired you to start using it?
We found Affinity Designer on the Internet, and we learned that it could work well between vectors and pixels, which attracted us.
What are your thoughts about Affinity Designer as a tool for your illustration work? What features do you use the most/find most useful?
Drawing flat illustrations in Affinity Designer is very smooth, and many of its features appear where we want them to appear as if it foresees what we want in advance. The most useful feature is the smooth switching between Vector Persona and Pixel Persona.
“Drawing flat illustrations in Affinity Designer is very smooth, and many of its features appear where we want them to appear as if it foresees what we want in advance. The most useful feature is the smooth switch between Vector Persona and Pixel Persona.”
Do you think it’s important for artists to reserve time to work on personal projects?
Yes, this is definitely the most important thing. Personal projects have kept us passionate about illustration for a long time. It is an important way to improve ourselves.
Out of all of your work, what is your favourite illustration/project to date?
This is a tricky question, in fact, we like most of our works.
What do you do to boost your creativity on days when you are feeling less inspired?
This usually occurs when we feel tired from long-term work. Then it’s time to give ourselves a vacation.
You also animate some of your illustrations. What inspired you to give animation a try?
As mentioned, we like to create interesting and beautiful things, and sometimes animation does this better than illustration alone.
What are you working on right now?
We are decorating our new studio. There is a small yard here, where we’ve planted a lot of flowers.
If you could be given a dream brief or project what would it be?
We want to draw great illustration assets, about 100 illustrations, and anyone can use these assets to help their work be more creative.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Take care of our plants and cats.
Lastly, where would you like to be five years from now?
We will always live in our current city. It is not a big city, but it is very quiet and beautiful.