As a kid, Kylie Chan read lots of Japanese comics. She started developing her drawing techniques based on these and turned her fantasy dreams into stories. In one of these stories she had a superpower; in another, she could save the world. What couldn’t be real and what she couldn’t have were placed into comics.
As Kylie grew older however, her drawings became a form of emotional release to help her feel better. “Now I’m not as creative anymore, there’s less fantasy and more reality. Most of my drawings are from my real moods and feelings (most of them are sad),” she said. “I draw what I know, what I see – all from real life.”
Drawing helps Kylie express and enables her to record her experiences not only for herself, but for viewers to get to know her and understand her. “I like to record everything about myself – my feelings, my life in general, my experiences in order to let people know more about my real self,” she said. “Maybe because I’m not a talkative person and not good at writing, drawing can help me communicate with people.”
Kylie describes herself as lazy, messy and a troublemaker, but people think she’s much sweeter than this view of herself. She said people think she’s a shy, careful and friendly girl (although her best friends think she’s evil!)
Born and bred in Hong Kong, Kylie attended school in the pearl of the orient before she went to London to study at the Camberwell College of Arts. She is currently a part-time worker in a gallery and a freelance illustrator.
A lot of Kylie’s works focus on figures of women, which she says is actually her own shadow. Drawing helps her be true and real and it is honest expression. “Sometimes, even if you are talking with my real person, I am not showing the real, true and whole me,” she said. It is much easier for her to draw and convey her true self on paper rather than in person.
Kylie makes zines filled with illustrations. “I made them because I want people to buy and keep my works easily and send them around the world,” she said. Her zines are currently being sold in Japan, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong’s Odd One Out Gallery. Also a lover and collector of badges, she has made her own collection, which is selling in Kubrick Hong Kong.
As for how she goes about her work, Kylie admits she has no patience. “I won’t do sketches before I start drawing and I get bored easily so I usually just draw directly and quickly. I never do the same drawing twice,” she said. She mainly draws at home about mid-night because she said she has more concentration at this hour.
She uses a rOtring pigment ink pen, Chinese brush and Chinese ink (the latter which is her favourite) to complete her works. Upon completion of her drawings, she will scan them into her computer to keep a record of it.
When Kylie draws, she admits she can make mistakes but she embraces them and realises that her final outcome is usually better than she expected. She also mainly creates monochrome illustrations – these take her about half an hour to complete. Kylie said she only uses colour when she does magazine freelance jobs or is working with Photoshop.
Talking about the future, Kylie hopes for several (very possible) things: “I hope my drawings can be lazier – like simple line drawings but at the same time can explain the story behind it so that people will easily understand it and everyone can read it,” she said. “I also hope that when people talk about my zines, they’ll think about me immediately.”
Kylie is working on a new collection for her zine, which are about one girl with one colour and her own story. Her first collection is called Chloe, which is all in the theme of green. The next one she said for example could be called Lucy in the theme of purple. “Hopefully when the reader collects the whole series it will look very colourful on the bookshelf.”