Cryssy Cheung likes her vectors – but she also loves to rebel against the immaculate look. “Clean lines are fantastic, but I think I like deliberately messing with those lines and playing on notions of perfection – which, of course, is in the eye of the beholder,” she says.
The New York-based freelancer began her illustration career with an internship and freelance work for leading illustration studio Vault49, and cult animation studio Nathan Love.
Working with Vault49 gave her the chance to work on projects for clients such as Samsung and Nintendo. “It became my proving ground, a place where I really developed my skills and learned a lot from the guys I was working for.”
Vectors form the base of much of her art – but she likes to dirty them up.
“I like how exact I can be with Illustrator – at any size I can create a huge amount of detail, giving minutiae equal footing with the main focus,” she says. “Never getting pixellated is an added bonus.”
However, she doesn't always stop at vectors. “Sometimes I mix media and use Photoshop... for certain images I'll scan in physical elements that I've done in ink or watercolour.”
Her images usually start out as sketches, before tracing her sketches in Illustrator. “If Adobe ever decided to get rid of the Pencil and Pen tools, they might as well take my right hand too,” she adds.
If she's going on to add handmade details, she exports it as a PSD file, “ready for roughing up”. Then she'll take scans of handmade elements and apply them to her composition, using blending modes. The results are fresh, spontaneous and dynamic.
She says that the trick with Illustrator artwork is to “just keep pressing forward – always be ready to step on the gas to break through a roadblock.”