Illustrator & Graphic designer Candy Ng has taken a year off commercial designing to get hands on with her creative pursuits. We caught up over a coffee at Cafe BÜ in Carlton to see her latest public mural, and find out more about her hand-drawn world.

Hi Candy, Welcome to DuckFeatures.


Tell us about yourself?

I’m a graphic designer & illustrator originally from Hong Kong. I have been living in Melbourne for 11 years now.

I worked as a graphic designer for four years after graduation, and earlier this year I decided it was time to try something new, so I’ve taken the year off to develop myself and practice art more freely, mostly to get away from the computer screen!

I really enjoy creating things by hand, so it’s been great to have this time to get all my side projects off my plate. I have since completed a few murals and collaborations. I have also launched my line of ceramics, which I hand make, all from scratch. 

All images taken by Val @ Big Picture Stuff, or supplied by Candy's website.

You have a ceramics line coming out? Cool, tell us more about that.

My ceramics brand is called Little Something. I learnt how to create ceramics last year, and I have so many ideas that I want to create. I asked a few friends what they thought & they all responded really well, so launched my first range and sold some!

It’s mainly a hobby at this stage, as mass production is really hard and it takes the love and passion out of the job. I just want to do this in a small scale at this point so that I can create each piece with same amount of love.

That’s fantastic; you’re a jack-of-all-trades. How do you enjoy practicing art and being creative in Melbourne?

Well, I love it. My happiness has definitely gone up, but my savings has gone down!

There are so many creative supporting each other, sharing ideas and that’s what I like. I think people are very passionate, and it’s nice to be around that. 

I decided to quit my job so I could put more time back to the community, learn something new, make more connections and create meaningful work.

I help out with Creative Mornings & also at a social enterprise called Kinfolk Café. I haven’t done any hospitality before but they provide me a good training. I love food and they feed me well also they provide a good sense of community, so it’s a really cool volunteer job! 

I really enjoy meeting new people and interacting with all kinds of people from the creative industry, and from outside it too. People inspire me and that help me to grow as a person and to develop my creative work further.

And how did you come to start illustrating and practicing graphic design?

I was a really, really shy child and I used to draw to escape reality in a way. I like illustrating because I can express my imagination in a way that I choose. 

I studied fine arts at school, and I think my parents were keener for me to become a doctor or accountant, but then they saw me more capable in creative work, so they gave me an opportunity to move to Melbourne to study a graphic design course at Swinburne.

After graduation, I worked as a freelancer for a year before working as a full time graphic designer in a design agency up until early this year. I realised shortly after I graduated that people can work as illustrators, so I decided to start some illustrative projects, and now I wanted to really push this side of me a little further; to see if I can make a career out of it.

I find creative activities really soothing and meditative; so far it’s soul-good. 

That’s fantastic; your drawings are quite whimsical and linear, I think we found you on Instagram. How do you think has social media changed the creative community?

Well, I think people find out about me online through projects. I feel really overwhelmed when people contact me, and I think it’s amazing how the Internet has helped me grow my career. 

I think social media can be both positive and negative; it’s great for artistic inspiration and for having your work discovered by new people, to connect and to build a creative network but it can be so distracting, especially if you are addicted to it.

I don’t want my social media to be all about the number of likes I get, I still want my work to be the focus. I love creating work that has meaning and has a story behind it before sharing it with everyone on social media. 

That’s a great approach, and maybe one that is quickly becoming rare. Where does your inspiration come from? 

I use Instagram, blogs and day-to-day stories to gain inspiration, I particularly love the work of Oliver Jeffers, he is an illustrator but also a really talented painter. I think he’s great because he is quirky, has a sense of humour, a good storyteller and has some real good skills to pay the bills. That’s something I really admire and hope to become one day.

What do you think you’ve gained from taking this year off?

Occasionally I doubt myself, but most of the time I would transform that “fear of uncertainty” into my motivation. I get really excited by the prospect of doing projects I am interested in and that make me happy.

I think I’ve definitely developed my artistic skills, as I have more time to focus on this side of things now. This is a pivotal time for me to try; it’s all about trial and error.

I have a list of plans I am preparing for next year, so keep an eye out on my Instagram to find out more updates!

Connect with Candy here:

Instagram: yanyancandyng
Twitter: yanyancandyng

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