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Q&A with Maggie Li

Illustrator and designer working in London / Seoul

I'm Maggie Li and I'm an illustrator and designer usually working in London but currently working from Seoul. I also make children's books.

You work as freelancer now. Have you ever been interested in full time employment with its full-time salary and other benefits?

For the past 5 years I've worked part time for popular children's publication Okido magazine. So I've had the best of both worlds really, I'm able to take advantage of stable work whilst also pursuing freelance work.

Why did you choose London as a city for creative work? Does graphic design in uk offer many more career prospects than anywhere else?

I was born in London and stayed fairly close for my studies in Kingston university. So I guess I didn't really choose London! I do think it's a fantastic place to be for illustration. There are so many wonderful talented creative people in the city which brings with it many opportunities as well as being really inspiring!

What famous illustrators from your childhood influenced your worldview and creative thinking?

I don't think I consciously knew what illustration was when I was a child. I think I just responded to things around me that were visual like my book collection. It wasn't until I studied illustration at university that I knew about actual illustrators and that it could be a real job. Some of the ones along the way who have influenced me are: Eric Carle, Richard Scarry, Alain Gree, Anthony Browne, Oliver Jeffers, Sara Fanelli.

What helped you to broaden your creative outlook? Where do you find inspiration?

I think freeing myself from thinking too much about the kind of illustrator I should be. Since graduating 6 years ago it's been a huge learning curve in terms of developing my own style and feeling confident about my creative output. I think a lot of it has to do with balancing my commercial work and personal work and really finding the time to enjoy what I do. That's why I've escaped to Asia for the next few months to find some balance and inspiration! Travelling - it's good for the soul :)