JaeSuk Kim - Susu Girls
JaeSuk Kim is a Sydney & Seoul based illustrator. His work, which employs his token Susu Girl, showcases some of the biggest brands and names in the world of fashion with a unique twist.
I've been following JaeSuk on Instagram for quite some time and have always been a fan of everything he creates. Though high fashion has always seemed mysterious and out of bounds (most likely due to my bank account and savings being devoted to cushions & candles, a well established problem), JaeSuk's illustrations bring a sense of accessibility and fun to this opulent and glamorous world.
The Susu Girl is a creation of Jaesuk's, which features in just about all his work. I really love how each of his Susu Girls display such a high level of character, despite their simplified look. Each pose contains just the right amount of sass to effectively communicate a story or message.
With clients including Bloomingdale's, Style.com Korea, Vogue Korea, GQ Korea, and Chic Mademoiselle, and his trips to various fashion weeks around the world, JaeSuk is a very busy man. However, he was kind enough to devote some time to answer a few of my questions. Hope you enjoy!
+ Your Susu girls appear quite simple, yet display so much attitude and character, I love it! What was your inspiration for their design?
I first started illustrating Susu Girls when I was designing my first handbag under the name of Susu. The handle of the handbag is in the shape of the Susu’s leg wearing killer heels!
The design of the Susu Girl itself is playful and quirky; I tried to visualise the type of girls that would carry the bag, someone who is chic, yet not afraid to be playful. Essentially this is the DNA of the girls I illustrate.
+ You used to work as a graphic and interior designer. Have either of these occupations influenced the way you illustrate? Do your illustrations affect your aesthetic when it comes to interior styling?
Yes, definitely! I actually have a Bachelor in Interior Design and worked as an Interior Designer for about a year, until I realised fashion was my passion. As well as working as a fashion illustrator, I freelance here and there as a Fashion and Beauty Advertising Art Director.
Having the background in Design definitely has a huge impact on my illustrations! When I illustrate, I approach it in the same way as I would approach my fashion advertising projects. I do a lot of visual research; I think about the storyline, then the composition and the tone of the overall image.
+ How and when did you decide a career as an illustrator was right for you?
After several years as an Art Director, working on various campaigns from Fashion to Beauty, I was on the hunt for something new. In my opinion, one of the downfalls of being an Art Director is that you are constantly coming up with fresh creative ideas, yet you get little credit for them.
I was at the stage where I felt I had enough experience to go out on my own, so I quit, focusing totally on my Illustrations. I had taken a break, due to my long work hours. Now looking back, I’m glad I made the decision because I have been blessed with meeting some amazingly talented people and working on projects I would have never thought or dreamed of doing.
+ Do you have a particular workflow or creative process when working on a piece? Can you walk us through it?
It doesn’t always follow this pattern, but my usual process starts with a lot of research. If I am illustrating for a particular brand or collection, I read the reviews and look at their inspiration boards to interpret my own initial inspiration and perspective.
Once I can roughly visualise the idea, I then move onto image research. I try and approach my illustrations in a similar way to how I would approach my fashion advertising. So once the idea is settled, I visualise the style, tone, angle and photography style that would best represent the idea.
Below is a sneak peak of some work I did for Bagaholicboy, which should give an insight into my creative and design process.