Award-winning illustrator and animator Jun Cen is known for creating powerful scenes that are both intimate and very much universal. Born in Guangzhou, China, a subtropical city with warm and humid weather, he received his MFA in Illustration degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013, and is currently based in New York.
“I tend to create an atmosphere in my work,” he relayed in an interview with Tiny Pencil. “And the characters (if a piece has characters) naturally react to the atmosphere I create.” His atmospheric pieces have received much acclaim, with his work being recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3×3 Illustration Competition and more. His illustrations were also featured in top tier publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.
“I usually come up with good ideas when I am blanking out,” Cen admits. “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 light box. I don’t watch TV or listen to anything with talking when I am working. But good music is necessary to me.”
And while his illustrations are still, as an animator – movement is very important for him. “Interestingly when I create a still image, I always imagine the motion of it,” says Cen.
“But when we come to the difference between them, I would say making an animation is more of the montage of a series of images no matter if they move or not. Because the montage itself is the main movement of a film. When I am working on a drawing, I also think about the movement. Composition does create movement as well. But it would be the movement within the image itself only.”
Check out his illustrations below.