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Q&A with Jo Cheung

Freelance illustrator based in London

My name is Jo Cheung and I’m a freelance illustrator based in London. I make paper based products for my Etsy shop; I’m hoping to expand the product line and the business itself so keep your eyes out! I’m putting more of my time into the shop so although I’m not going down the traditional route of an illustrator, I enjoy what I do and it makes me happy!

© Jo Cheung


I’ll start sketching my ideas in my sketchbook using Faber-Castell pens- I love them! I mainly use Daler Rowney sketchbooks because I like the quality of the paper and the ink never seems to bleed.

Depending on the project, I’ll either make collages or go straight with drawings and gradually build up the layers on the computer. Over the past few years I’ve been even more reliant on Adobe Photoshop simply because it allows me to manipulate with colour, texture, layers and composition. I can spend some time playing around with ideas and if I don’t like it (or make a mistake) it’s easier to make edits to the illustration. But it’ll always have that handmade feel to it.

Ideal work environment

Somewhere with lots of natural light with a fairly reasonably sized desk spaceaccess to tea/coffee/biscuits is also important! I’d listen to music or Radio Four and it’d help to get the creativity going, especially those early mornings where my head is still in sleep mode!

I had my own studio space set up in my previous flat and there were pros and cons to it. The good thing about working from home is that I didn’t have to commute (from bed to desk!) and I’d usually leave all my materials out if I was in the middle of something, so I could just go back to it any time during the day (mostly night time as well). Wearing pyjamas is a bonus!

Although it can get lonely at times, which is what I miss about working in a studio. You don’t have the energy from others to bounce off from so sometimes I’d get stuck in a rut and be quite frustrated!

I’d love to have a studio one day, either a cat or a dog to keep me company!


My ideas come from every day experiences: what I see, watch, hear, read and remember are all important factors that shapes my creativity. I make time to do some drawing; whether it’s on the train or watching TV I think it’s important to maintain those spontaneous moments where a random idea/thought comes into my head.

Admire most

Joan Miro, CY Twombly, Paul Klee, Lesley Barnes, Fiona Rae, Emma Block, Gizem Vural (Little Teashi)… I could go on and on!