Behind The Illustrations: Doris Chang

Doris Chang is an illustrator, writer and designer, captivating the souls of Adelaide through her gorgeous water colour illustrations.

Working under the title Little Sister Co. Doris creates imaginative characters, quirky letterings and visual puns through water colour and ink. Producing such items as greeting cards, printed artwork and gift tags, Doris adds a touch of humbleness and cuteness to all of her designs.

She also recently collaborated with Norwood’s Brick and Mortar for illustration and lettering workshops (is there anything she cannot do?), which was a huge success!

We caught up with Doris herself to chat about her illustrations, her workshops with Brick and Mortar, and what she’s got planned for us in the upcoming months.

So Doris, tell us a little about yourself…
My name is Doris Chang and I am a freelance Illustrator and Designer. In addition to working on freelance commissioned projects, I also design and distribute my own range of products under the label Little Sister Co. – you can find a few of my products in a selection of local and interstate stockists.
What made you get into illustrations and lettering?
I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in a creative industry; as a kid I was always the ‘arty’ one, spending all of my free time drawing and writing stories. After finishing high school I studied a Bachelor in Visual Communication at UniSA (a graphics and illustration course), choosing to specialise in Illustration as it better suited my way of thinking and my preference to work with my hands in a more tactile manner.

I began working solely in watercolour shortly after finishing my studies. What I love most about the medium is that the materials are beautiful on their own; for me it’s not about painstakingly rendering an image perfectly, but trying to emphasise the natural qualities of the materials in front of me. My illustrative style could be described as a bit more loose and organic than traditional methods of working in water colour; when I’m rendering an image it’s more like I’m just pushing and pulling pigment around rather than painting. The lettering aspect of my work has been a more recent development, something that grew out of my illustrative work (I use the same calligraphy brush for lettering and illustrative line-work) because writing has become a more and more important part of my practice.

And where do you get your inspiration?
Ideas for products and other work can come from anywhere; for me it’s simply a matter of trying to stay as observant and curious about my surroundings as possible. I think there’s almost always a corner of my mind turning over common phrases, searching for puns and wordplay. Native flora and fauna also feature in my work frequently, so when I’m out in nature I always try to keep my eyes wide open and can often be found stopping dead in my tracks to inspect something on the ground.

Tell us about your recent workshops with Brick and Mortar!
For the past year I’ve been running Water Colour Illustration and Lettering workshops from Norwood’s Brick and Mortar creative hub every 2-3 months. I initially only planned on doing a one-off workshop session to promote my first studio residency at Brick and Mortar last August, but it’s something that has grown organically out of continued interest for which I am incredibly grateful. It’s been a really rewarding aspect to my practice and I love sharing a bit of my process with workshop participants. I’m a big believer in the need to keep practicing creativity and curiosity in everyday life no matter what your job is (for some reason, when you work in a creative field, people who work in a different industry love to tell you that they’re not creative), so it’s great to see people picking up a new skill.

My favourite things to illustrate are…
Food, plants and animals – especially native flora and fauna. Australia has so much amazing native wildlife with many species found nowhere else, so I try to celebrate this in my work.

What are your thoughts on the Adelaide art scene?
My overall impression of the creative community in Adelaide is one that is full of incredibly supportive and hardworking professionals. Whilst we may not be considered the ‘creative capital’ of Australia, working with so many passionate and adventurous small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs in my line of work, I think being a part of the Adelaide creative scene is something to be proud of.

And what’s next for you now?
I’ve just finished wrapping up a few larger projects so am hoping to spend most of the next season working on some new self-initiated projects involving more writing – perhaps even a zine or blog. There’ll also be more markets, more workshops, and a new range of greeting cards in the works for later in the year.

Amazing! Don’t forget to check out Doris’ latest work either at her website, or Instagram account.

For more information on her Brick and Mortar workshops, click here.

All images and artwork provided by Doris Chang

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