Like many teenagers, Ran Zheng hadn’t got a clear idea of what she wanted to focus on at school. That all changed though when a brief encounter with a design magazine on a newsstand in China ignited a spark. “At that moment I thought, wow! I want to be able to make things like that. My mind was set on art from then onwards” she beams.
Determined to develop her new found passion, Ran Went on to study illustration at Rhode Island School of Design. The supportive community Ran found on the course gave her the integral ingredients for self-growth as an artist, regularly encouraging and emphasising the importance of having a voice and speaking up within and for your art. “I had to always present and defend my works” she explains, “so I was forced to constantly examine what I was doing and what I wanted to do”. These values and lessons have helped her to build a solid foundation for the “stressful and thrilling” transition from education to becoming a freelance illustrator.
Having experimented and struggled with a variety of different mediums throughout her work and studies, it wasn’t until her final year that Ran discovered the tool that best represented her illustrative style, coloured pencils. Ran uses observations and inspiration from her daily life, travels and time living in China and Zimbabwe to create playful yet considered drawings. “My experiences living in different countries definitely shaped me a lot. From my interests in patterns and nature, to eye catching colours palettes”.
Whether working on a quick sketch or a more complex perspective piece, Ran has a very pragmatic outlook on her approach to making work, creating detailed line drawings and colour plans before starting the final piece. “I envy those who just make great things entirely from imagination, but by now I have accepted the fact that it’s not something suitable for me”.
With her disciplined outlook on freelance practice and clear talent for creating vivacious images, we look forward to seeing Ran’s vibrant portfolio developing further.