Q&A with Jing Wei
Jing Wei is a Chinese-born illustrator and printmaker. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and works out of a studio in Greenpoint.
How old were you when first began dabbling in art? What medium did you begin with and do you have a favorite one that you use or a particularly favorite piece you’ve created?
I used to have a magnetic drawing board toy that I was obsessed with as a kid. Does that count as a medium? My favorite thing to draw was really generic looking fish. I’ve never made any great fish-related pieces in my adult life, but I did make a few collages recently that I was really happy with. That’s definitely my favorite medium right now.
What inspired Divers Journal? Was it originally contracted by a client?
I had originally created the sketch of that piece for a financial magazine, which is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the image! The prompt had something to do with target-date investing. The sketch was rejected, but I was able to use a gallery show opportunity as motivation to resurrect it.
How does woodblock printing work—how do you create a woodblock print and how many prints can a typical press withstand?
I actually print everything by hand, though I would love to have a press in the studio. Right now I just use a bamboo disc baren to burnish the back of the paper, and finish it off with a bone folder. I use the reductive woodblock printing technique, which means I carve each layer from one piece of wood, as opposed to multiple. Basically, I print each layer of color from lightest to darkest, and carve the information away as I go. It’s a faster process and makes registration super easy, even though it limits the number of prints I can make.
Finally, do you have any sort of routine you go through when you’re having artist’s block?
I mostly get stuck on concept and ideas, in the sketch phase of a job. But I don’t really see that as having artist’s block, because there is a problem-solving aspect that is always very practical. Whenever I feel like I’m having trouble with an assignment, I just drop it for a while and go do something else that doesn’t require much brainpower. Watching music videos and eating snacks has consistently proven to be helpful in this department.
Subscribe to our monthly Art + Design Newsletter.
Latest posts by Neil Pasricha (see all)
- The Importance of Self-Care from a Happiness Expert - September 8, 2017
- The Magnificent Chicken - August 2, 2013
- Q&A with Jing Wei - May 24, 2013
Come See Chronicle Books at New York Comic ConSeptember 27th, 2017
A Look at Chronicle Books’ Fall 2017 ReleasesSeptember 20th, 2017
Let’s Make More Diverse BooksJuly 7th, 2017
Introducing Specs the Book Bike: Chronicle Books on WheelsJune 27th, 2017