Kylie Chan is a Hong-Kong based illustrator who works in a range of mediums creating whimsical, lively and humorous illustrations focusing on people.

With a passion for DIY culture, Kylie regularly makes and collaborates on zines. Kylie has held solo exhibitions in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

As well as developing her own practice, Kylie has had work featured by Apple Daily, Weekend Weekly, ELLE, MMM & boysize.

Ahead of our collaboration on A Tiny History, I asked Kylie about her current practice and what she is looking forward to working on. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us about your your work and what you do.

I do lots of things! I do freelance Illustration for clients. They often find me via my online portfolio or via Instagram and reach out to me for specific projects. Sometimes other illustrators recommend me and other times, clients come across my work in exhibitions or have seen something I have created in the past and remembered it. I support my income from creative work by doing part-time work too - I’ve worked many different roles, from galleries to homeware stores and pet-sitting and they have all been valuable experiences through which I have made great friends.

Where are you based?

I am based in many different places throughout the week, but one of my favourite places to create is the homeware shop Igloo where I do some part-time work. When I’m working on my illustrations, they let me use their huge table to draw and the owner sits in the shop and chats with me too which I love.

Tell us about your process, how do you work through a typical project?

My main tools are a Chinese calligraphy brush and Japanese inks. I draw on anything and everything - whatever is available!

“Illustration is like an international language.”

Why do you think illustration is a good medium for storytelling?

Illustration is like an international language. It is easy to understand across different countries and allows the crossing of boundaries. Translating languages can be challenging whereas illustration can be universal and adds an extra layer of visual interest.

Name some visionaries you find inspiring + why?

Oh! Dame Jane Goodall was - and is - a particular favourite visionary of mine. She was my idol even when I was a kid. I looked up to her because she was great at communicating with animals, but she also had the same birthday as me!  She inspired me to believe that if she could do it, I could too.

What are you looking forward to the most with A Tiny History?

I just love the concept that there are people who really helped the world and affected our modern lives and that many people don’t know about them. I am excited to help people learn more about them.

Recently there have been lots of female “heroes in history” books, but what we are doing is different because we are working in a more diverse way, working across different countries and including non-famous people too.

I hope the project affects people in the same way Jane Goodall affected me. I hope our project can inspire people. I hope that they it will help them to see that you don't have to be famous in order to do something important in the world.

What do you think will be some of the challenges along the way?

I think it will be challenging to ensure that all the information is totally accurate and how to best verify the facts - in particular for the lesser known visionaries with less information written or recorded about them.

What are you watching, listening or reading this week?

This week is really busy for me, so in my down time, I’m watching the animation My Hero Academia in between doing loads of work!

As interviewed by Karishma Kusurkar.

A Tiny History is kindly supported by the Artists’ International Development Fund by the Arts Council NI & British Council :