This article was originally published here: Shanlyn Chew – Illustrator at Mushroom Mountain
Shanlyn Chew’s move from science to design has given her a platform from which to demonstrate her curiosity and creativity.
What’s your story?
If there’s one major leap that I took in life, it was to pursue a design course after graduating from poly with a science diploma. With almost zero art background, I entered the art and design scene without knowing what was in it for me. However, I have no regrets as I truly find enjoyment in what I’m doing. This makes me the person I am now, an illustrator, and Mushroom Chief of my own branding, Mushroom Mountain.
Surrounding myself with imagination and aesthetics allows me to have different perspectives on this complicated and fast-paced world.
What excites you most about your industry?
Images are often a powerful tool to convey messages or emotions. Likewise, an illustrator/artist too, using their creativity to convey stories and emotions into artworks of their own art style. Often these stories or emotions are very personal to the artists, hence when receiving appreciation from strangers or friends it feels that there is a special connection that is being built up. Our artworks can also bring positivity to people or create light-hearted moments in our stressful life.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
The desire to continue to draw and create, and expand my creativity.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Having both good observation skills and a curious youthful mind is very important as they help me in creative thinking, and to have fun in the process.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Instead of trying to be what’s popular in the mainstream, do what you strongly believe in. Because if your work can’t pass your own criteria, how are you going to convince people to like your work?
This is so important for me, especially in times of self-doubt. It always pulls me back from that black hole and gets me moving on with creation.
Who inspires you?
I have been inspired by different people at different stages of my art career. However, the one similarity between all these people is that they have faith in their own artistic creations and thoughts. Probably there were stages where people started to doubt their skills or whether it fits the mainstream, but they never stopped their passion.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I started taking up pottery classes recently and the process of pottery making is another level from drawing. A well handmade ceramic piece requires a different level of patience, determination, and also an eye for detail. I really admire the skills of the pottery makers and am aiming to achieve their level with lots of practice.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I won’t try to change anything in terms of the route to my creative path, because I believe each step is destined and they lead you to what you are. However, I would want to have been more adventurous in trying new things in my younger days!
How do you unwind?
Doodling mindlessly usually helps with unwinding. Or else, going out for a walk in nature or roaming around in bookstores, and having sweet treats for myself!
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
To be yourself and believe in yourself in whatever you do is so so so important because this is what gives me the push to create and be a better artist. I can’t emphasise this too much especially when we are easily bombarded with visuals on social media nowadays. If one doesn’t believe in his/her own work, they will lose their determination to be a better artist/illustrator.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I read the Chinese version of this book “How to Be an Artist – Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, or Your Creative Compass” by JoAnneh Nagler. It’s very helpful for people who want to be freelance creative.
Shameless plug for your business:
Hello! I’m Shanlyn, illustrator and Mushroom Chief of Mushroom Mountain!
I find the joy of ‘humanizing’ objects from streets, books, and photos, giving life to these imaginary beings in my playful illustrations. Drawing is my favourite platform as it allows me to channel inner random and quirky thoughts. Plants, people, mushrooms, and cats are frequently drawn subjects in my imaginary world, which I named ‘Mushroom Mountain’!
If you love quirky and happy drawings, please take a look at my website! The Mushroom Chief will always welcome you!
How can people connect with you?
Drop me a message on Facebook or Instagram or email me at [email protected]
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series. Every entrepreneur featured has been recommended by one of our previous guests.