If you haven't heard the name Jaesuk Kim, you might have seen one of his beautifully illustrated Susu girls.
"I started illustrating eight years ago to be exact," Jaesuk Kim told The Huffington Post Australia. Seoul-born Kim is currently in Sydney with beauty brand Lancome to celebrate their upcoming collaboration.
"I actually personally love designer handbags, so I thought 'why not design my own?'. So I started designing handbags and that's how I started illustrating my girls. I was drawing the type of girls that would carry the type of bags I was designing. Both the drawings and the bags that I designed were quite quirky."
"I did make some bags initially at the very start, but being eight years ago the production wasn't as good as the design, and the illustration of the girls got more attention than the bags, anyway."
Kim got his big break when American retailer Bloomingdale's came knocking.
"Bloomingdale's actually contacted me eight years ago and asked to collaborate on a project, it's still one of the biggest projects I've worked on to date, and it was for their holiday campaign and as you know the Christmas season is huge. So that's how it all took off. At the time I also worked as a fashion art director in Seoul, so that's where my fashion background came from."
As for how Kim brings his girls to life, it's a fairly quick process.
"I use a bunch of different mediums. I start with pen and pencil, more of the traditional mediums, and then I play with paints like water colour and acrylic."
"I also use digital tools, because I like to get a really crisp edge and line on some of the shapes. I usually start drawing by hand, then scan it to sharpen lines, then print my girls on paper and paint their dresses. It's all done very quickly -- I have to work fast before the water colour dries."
Having worked with a slew of fashion brands in the past, Kim was excited to be approached by such an iconic global beauty brand.
"In the past I have also worked with mostly fashion brands. I have worked with Chanel, Dior, Cartier and Bulgari. I do a lot of events for VIPs at which they get personalised illustrations. I do a lot of work in Singapore because they have such a big luxury market."
"I was in Sydney last year and Lancome touched base with me to say they had been following my work and wanted to work together. They said that the girls I draw are a great fit for their brand as it pairs well with the Parisian elegance," Kim said.
Kim hopes that his girls take him all the way to Paris one day.
"I do hope one day that I will go to Paris Fashion Week. I see my girls as more than illustrations, the girls are influencers. I like to tell a story through the eyes of my girls, not through me, and I think that could be done at Paris Fashion Week."
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