We catch up with Cindy Kang to talk about her latest project; Therapy Toolkit.
The Therapy Toolkit features sixty cards devised by an experienced and qualified therapist to help the user explore their issues in a compassionate and safe space. Split into four categories – Experiences, Emotions, Relationships and Childhood – each card features questions and reflections that emulate the process of therapy, guiding the user through their journey of self-exploration in order to create deep, meaningful change. It also features a comprehensive booklet, which includes an introduction to the therapeutic process, how to use the deck and further resources. A tool for those who are interested in exploring therapy or companion to therapy itself.
Welcome to the blog Cindy, it’s lovely to have you here. Can you firstly give us a brief introduction in to who you are and what you do?
My name is Cindy Kang and I’m an illustrator from Seoul, South Korea. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, I started working professionally as an illustrator, creating painterly works for various clients. I also work on personal projects that often stem from emotional responses to my surroundings.
Are you able to tell us a bit about your process? What steps do you take from the initial brief to completion of the project?
After receiving the brief, I made sixty small cards on which I brainstormed about everyday objects and specific, interesting situations. I also wrote down all the words that came to mind. Some cards immediately sparked ideas for drawings, but some needed longer to process.
I then sketched multiple thumbnails on paper and chose the ones I was most satisfied with. These were transferred to the computer, where I started to refine and finalise them digitally.
The illustrations next went through several rounds of feedback and editing. We tried to pick the most metaphorical and poetic, those which would help readers easily understand and respond to their own experiences and emotions.
What are your go-to tools, digital or physical or both?
I predominantly work digitally, but always try to add the organic texture of traditional mediums. I love the texture of pastel and charcoal, and the roughness of dry paint brushes. Working digitally allows you to move around elements or change colours easily, so it’s much more convenient for client projects.
Which is your favourite illustration from the deck?
The parents card: it reminds me of the bittersweet emotion I have every time I leave my home and family in Seoul to go to New York. New York has everything and everyone else but them. I visit home often, but seeing them wave goodbye is always difficult. This illustration evokes that complex combination of excitement and nerves that comes with leaving a place so emotionally and physically safe. Also an overwhelming gratitude for everything they provide and represent.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about being an illustrator?
My favourite thing is that I get to draw every single day! I also like that being an illustrator allows me to be someone different on each project. I’m sometimes an architect, and sometimes an explorer. Sometimes I’m a mom, or a grandad, or a little girl from the opposite side of the earth, or even a king from ancient times. It all depends on what I’m working on. It’s always a joy to learn about something outside my world that I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. Having that deep dive into different kinds of projects gives me amazing opportunities to empathise with others and explore myself.