We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessie Lin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
I think it is the effort and struggle behind the art works, the beautiful illustrations. There are different types of illustrations of course, some come out quite naturally with quick process, but a lot more ask for deliberate thoughts and research, particularly for bigger projects like a children’s book. It sometimes takes days to get an idea straight and there’s lots of pain involved. I remembered showing someone outside the industry the storyboard of my children’s book, they were like “oh I never thought it was done this way, so complicated!” These pain and struggle are often carried on through daily life and dreams at night. The magical thing is that they are more often resolved in these unrelated activities. Nothing comes out after you spend hours in front of the computer; while the idea hits you when you are grocery shopping. When the final art is done, I will have a mixed feeling of pain and joy, and be quite proud that I am the only one who knows how this came out.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love to illustrate topics of emotions and mental health. I don’t know if this sets me apart from others or not, but these things really excites me. I like to look into people’s minds, and try to feel what others feel. I also like children’s books and wildlife/nature topics, those things keep me calm. My road till now was quite an adventure. I studied business during college and worked in purchasing for many years. I had to face many objections when I decided to change my career. I think it was the love towards drawing that kept me going this far, and of course there were encouragement and company from my partner Molly too. There are challenges from time to time. Don’t know how to express a topic, or couldn’t think of anything interesting enough, or the result turns out to be unsatisfying, or simply tired of drawing. Whenever I doubt whether this is the right path for me, I think about what my life without illustration or art would be like. Is that the life I want? The answer is no and I think will always be no. So I have to go on because it is the right life for me and I will enjoy it anyway despite some hiccups. Quite recently, I learnt that I couldn’t push myself too hard or stay anxious for too long, which is essential for a freelancer. We work irregular hours compared to those working for companies. We will end up with no holidays at all if we don’t stop and look at something else to relax. Time management is very useful and I’m still adjusting. I may not be as young as those at the similar stage in the industry, but I never put limits on me and always wish to try new things. I think that is the most important thing I’d like people to know about me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
To get started, The Coca-cola center is always a “must-go” spot. And the Georgia Aquarium is a nice place too, where you can watch the whales swimming and cute penguins waddling. There are lots of good restaurants and bars in the mid-town Atlanta, such as Publico, Bulla Gastrobar, and Wagaya. And I shall check out the schedule at Fox Theatre, there might be a Broadway show going on. I have a very personal preference over the Piedmont Park. You can take a walk there on a nice day, lie on the lawn to enjoy the sunshine, or watch the geese walking and swimming along the lake. If you don’t mind a bit of driving, the Stone Mountain Park nearby is another wonderful place to get close to the nature.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My biggest thanks is to my life partner and soulmate Molly. She’s been completely supportive throughout my entire process of building my own business and always cheers me up when I’m in the low. She believes great things are going to happen to me when I doubt it myself. The thesis project SMOGGIE of my MFA program was dedicated to her, which I think is the most suitable and loving way to express my gratitude. There are a lot of others who have helped and inspired me during my career. My professors at SCAD, Rick Lovell, Tom Burns, Robert Brown, Tony Rodriguez, Shelley Laband, to name a few, are my mentors on this professional road. My parents back home supported me financially so that I don’t have to worry too much about living. And so many people that I worked with who appreciated my work and trusted me. I owe them so much and I shall repay them with more good works in future.

Website: www.jessielin.net

Instagram: @jessie916

Facebook: Jessie Lin

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