Meet Alice Lee. She’s an independent illustrator based in San Francisco. Alice’s work spans from illustration systems for tech products all the way to large-scale artwork for murals. In a new video interview, she shares where she finds inspiration and when she feels most productive in a state of flow.
What does design mean to you?
Design to me is about intentional decision making. It can range from anything from the way that we design or apps and products. To the way that, as an individual, you could design your life based on the choices that you make and the values and priorities that you have. To the way that, as an Illustrator, I make a lot of design decisions in the work that I make.
How would you describe the type your work?
The type of work that I do is basically just lots of different types of illustrations. It ranges in subject matter as well as in content. Oftentimes, I’ll be working on illustrations for tech companies that fit on your phone or on your screen. But lately, I’ve also been doing a lot of work that’s more large scale. I’ve been doing murals, like this one.
Where do you find your inspiration?
To make really interesting work as an illustrator especially, you need to have an interesting life because that dictates the subject matter that you draw and the way that you interpret prompts. Since you know, going indie and really like trying to broaden in my artistic inspirations, a lot of my work has just become a lot more whimsical and sort of like fantastical in a way. Broadly, a lot of my artistic inspiration comes from my culture—Chinese illustrations, Chinese woodblock printing especially, and a lot of like mythical Chinese characters and creatures somehow find their way into my work. Whether it’s subtly, in terms of like adding in random animals into my work or just like with the color palettes that I use.
When are you most productive?
I do my most productive work when I’m in something called flow. It’s this state that you get in when you’re really focused on what you’re making and you have a clear intention. When I’m in flow I feel like I’ve just turned my brain off and I’m very instinctively making decisions whether it’s in how I draw a certain shape or the colors that I’m using or even the overall composition of that I’m making.
What impact has Dribbble had on you?
I didn’t go to art school or study design. The way that I started off was actually in business school. In 2011 while I was a junior there I decided that I wanted to explore design and art. I didn’t really know what specifically but there was something about those fields that was intriguing to me. At the time I was in Philadelphia, the tech scene was really young. There wasn’t a huge community out there that I felt like I could really easily join. So, I looked to Dribbble to meet friends and talk to people and also just look at other people’s work for inspiration. So it was really like a digital lifeline to design.