Shot by

How graphic designer and illustrator Jenny Lelong stays inspired

Creative inspiration for designers may be easy to come by, but how do you keep it? Meet Jenny Lelong, an independent graphic designer and illustrator based out of Lyon, France. Get to know Jenny as she shows us around her home workspace and tells us about the inspiration behind her work—which is heavily influenced by her travels in Japan!

Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).

I’m lucky to have my own workspace in my apartment in the French countryside. I usually work at my desk which is surrounded by artwork created by people that inspire me—especially Laura Lhuillier, We are out of office, Lienke Raben, Yeaaah Studio
, and Heikala
. Sometimes, I’ll go to a co-working space or cafe if I need to travel and get work done at the same time. My workspace is also used for running my online shop where I sell my prints.

How do you find inspiration and what does your illustration process look like?

Other artists who work in different mediums inspire me so much—illustrators, graphic designers, interior designers, and even photographers. I always notice things like color, composition, light, and texture. Traveling also helps me stay inspired, especially in Japan where minimal and cute design styles intersect.

Traveling helps me stay inspired, especially in Japan where minimal and cute design styles intersect.

When I start a new project with a specific topic, I do visual research to help me build my design. Using this research, I do a lot of sketching on paper, then some more refined sketching. I also try out different color schemes on my tablet and I send this to my clients for feedback before going any further. It usually depends on the work, but for simple illustrations, I work on my iPad. I’d rather work on my desktop computer for graphic design work, vector illustrations, and complex illustrations that require textures.

  1. Japanese Train Station cans cat drink food japan okonomiyaki plants station taiyaki takoyaki train train station vending machines
  2. E3 Village astronaut computer cosplay food hamburger japan kappa nintendo pokemon shiba takoyaki twitter video games
  3. Ramen Stand cat cat illustration character cute eat facade facade shop food illustration izakaya japan japanese ramen

Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?

I’m a morning person so I really appreciate waking up early and starting work when it’s still quiet. I know exactly what I have to do every given day, so this enables me to manage my day as I please. I usually work through the morning, take a walk in the afternoon, and finish-up work in the evening. During my work hours, I love to look at other artist’s new work, and I also listen to a lot of music—mainly Rock. When I’m bored, I listen to true crime or travels podcasts.

How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?

I really need to have a neat space so I know where everything is and I only own the things I need. I think it’s because I need positive energy in my space to feel good so I can enjoy working. My habits allow me to structure my days so I can move on and do something else, I can work on a different project at the same time without being overwhelmed.

The only thing I would love to improve on is having a co-working space with people like me, so we could share our points of view—and also lunch!

Find more Interviews stories on our blog Courtside. Have a suggestion? Contact