We love the vibe Jun Cen’s illustrations create. His pastel-colored scenes, though packed with details, make for an eerie, detached setting – evoking feelings of loneliness and longing. “I tend to create an atmosphere in my work,” he told Tiny Pencil. “And the characters (if a piece has characters) naturally react to the atmosphere I create.”
Born in Guangzhou, China, he received his MFA in Illustration degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013 and is now based in New York. His award-winning illustrations were featured in publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.
“I usually come up with good ideas when I am blanking out,” he says, talking about his creative process. “A lot of ideas come out when I’m taking the subway. For the production part, I first create a few different sketches. Sometimes I do it by pencil and sometimes I do it by computer. I usually print the sketch out the same size as my final piece and finish the piece by using a lightbox. I don’t watch TV or listen to anything with talking when I am working. But good music is necessary to me.”
And while he’s known for his illustrations, he’s also an animator, which he says influenced his still work greatly. “When I am working on a drawing, I also think about the movement,” explains Cen. “Composition does create movement as well. But it would be the movement within the image itself only.”
Take a look at some of his work in the gallery below, and follow him on Instagram for more: