Doris Chang. Photo credit: Heidi Wolff Photography
Australia’s flora and fauna is recreated in an adorable and charming manner in Doris Chang’s lush illustrations that feature on the cover of her witty greeting cards and eye-catching posters. In our latest spotlight, Doris tells us about her creative process, and her ongoing exhibitions and projects.
Q: Hello Doris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Hi there! I’m an Adelaide-based water colour Illustrator. I design and distribute my own range of greeting cards, printed artwork and other illustrated products under the label ‘Little Sister Co.’ I also run workshops in water colour illustration and lettering, and have been working on some children’s books and other freelance projects.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: As products in the Little Sister Co. range are so often purchased as gifts, I make an effort to articulate these relationships in my work (as well as find the perfect balance of good/bad puns!). Ideas can really come from anywhere; I just try to stay observant to my surroundings and keep a pen and paper handy.
Australian plants and animals also feature in my work constantly – we have such a beautiful and diverse range of wildlife, with so many species unique to our continent, so I try to celebrate the local landscape in my work as much as possible.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: I work pretty much exclusively in water colour paint for my illustrative work, and use ink and a calligraphy brush for line-work and lettering.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: When I’m painting I try to exaggerate the natural qualities of the medium I’m working with – essentially just pigmented water – so the final product is quite organic and loose. I often describe my method of rendering as less like painting and more like pushing and pulling pigment around.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: I have two ugly journals for recording ideas – one for writing, and one for illustrative pieces – that basically just contain scribbled notes and thumbnail drawings (I’m talking, like, a triangle with some stink lines above it to resemble a wedge of cheese). When I’m planning a new product range I’ll flick through and make a list of what I’d like to do next. My selection process is usually quite random, but I do try to keep in mind whether or not I need more products for a certain occasion.
All designs are then sketched out and illustrated by hand (to scale or larger), and scanned, retouched and laid out digitally and sent off to my printer. As I handle distribution for my own work as well, there is also a lot of work still to do after I receive the ‘final product’.
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: My business is still new and constantly changing, so I’ve fallen out of the habit of setting too many long-term goals – at any one time, I’ll know more-or-less what I’ll be doing for the next 6 months, and that’s about it! Over the coming year however I will be adding a lot of new designs and different products to my range, and I do have a pretty big personal project that I’m aiming to launch late in the year.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: Sorry to be fickle, but I would have to say that it really depends! There are so many practitioners in different fields whose work that I admire that I can’t choose just one favourite overall.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: I don’t exhibit my work very often so I’m not an authority on local galleries in a traditional sense, however I did have a solo exhibition at Brick+Mortar Creative in Norwood not long after starting Little Sister Co. – this is a fantastic space that houses creative studios, a café and a gift shop in addition to gallery space. It’s also where I run my own workshops, and I have a lot of my products stocked in their retail area.
I also currently have a few pieces in a group show at Peanut Gallery in Adelaide Arcade in a collection from local female artists which will be open until the end of January 2017.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
A: You can find my Little Sister Co. products online, as well as in a range of stockists listed on my website. To stay up to date with market dates and other events, you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram.
Q: When are you the happiest?
A: I really enjoy all the different aspects of running my small product line, especially interacting with customers at markets, working with stockists and teaching workshops; however, the (few and far-between) moments in the studio when I’m completely absorbed in the process of rendering a painting are still something special.