sweetness and magic: an interview with Vicky Liang

For this month’s issue I interviewed Vicky Liang, an illustrator/artist currently based in New Jersey.

Saccharine, round, and able to make one’s cheeks blush, Vicky’s illustrations capture innocent vision through singular pieces and small-page comics. Taking homage from her inspirations in children’s book illustration and Studio Ghibli media, Vicky incorporates elements such as anthropomorphic animals, beings with magical powers, and the paranormal into her cushy, bright colored perspective.

To start off. Tell me who you are as a person and as an artist?

I’m Vicky. I’m 23 years old. I’m Chinese American, and I really like to make art. So, I enjoy making illustrations that are very colorful, joyful, and cute.

I’ve been a fan of your Instagram!  There’s a post of yours that depicts ghosts in a grocery store that I like to look back at. Tell me about your process of thinking about and making that piece?

It started back in October near Halloween. I was getting suggestions to create more work with creating environments to improve my illustration portfolio, and this was one of my first attempts at that.

With Halloween so close by, I was thinking about ghosts living a regular everyday life and doing regular things like shopping at a convenience store.

I went to the Walgreens across the street from my apartment in Virginia. Then took pictures of the aisles and shelves as reference. Next supplemented that with other images I could find online. That’s essentially the creative process that made this illustration!

Whenever I come across a new post of yours, I immediately grin or smile. They’re bright and cheery and I think that needs to be celebrated more. They also have that great quality found in children’s literature that draws you in with soft round shapes, and vivid color palettes. Then taking a further look you’re comforted by all the characters, environments, and the occasional fantastical elements you bring into your pieces.

One of the characters I’m interested in knowing more is this yellow dog in a sheep costume that is used in your profile picture. Tell me more about him?

A lot of illustrators online have some sort of cute little persona they’re known for, and I wanted to create my own. While I was doodling one day, I started working on this character. His name is “Rou Rou” and he’s a little yellow dog that thinks he’s a sheep. I use him for work sold through my Etsy store, my profile picture, and even my business card. He’s like my mascot.

Rou Rou is so recognizable! It’s a cute touch that on your Instagram profile picture it’s like he’s an actual dog greeting you to your page.

So, what are you looking forward to create this year?

Professionally, I really want to continue to develop my portfolio to approach children’s book publishing agencies. Include more pieces with environment and characters.

But I also have made it a goal to draw art solely for myself. Things I can just indulge on such as video game fan art, specifically the online game Genshin Impact. It’s not meant to be in my portfolio or to advance my career, but to make myself happy. 

Medium close-up photograph of artist Vicky Liang

Vicky’s work reminds me of the row of macarons at a pastry shop. A sweet and soft rainbow of colors able to put a small grin on someone’s face admiring it. You can find Vicky’s work on Instagram @vickyisdrawing and her Etsy shop “vickyisdrawing,where she sells stickers and stationery accessories.