We recently caught up with multidisciplinary graphic designer and illustrator Jenny Lelong from Lyon, France. Jenny has experience working in various projects from branding, packaging, illustrations and Web design.
We discuss the pro and cons of being a multi-disciplinary designer as well as her design process and how to overcome creative blocks!
Hi Jenny! Can you tell us a bit about your background?

The road to becoming a graphic designer and an illustrator was long and it is still far from finished. I studied applied arts for 5 years at uni in Toulouse, in France, where classes were mostly theorical and general, we didn’t really learn anything technical or specific.

I was into graphic design since the beginning and the teachers were open-minded and supported each of us. Studying at uni taught me to know me better, to be independent and to always go forward to reach my goals. 

I also studied as an exchange student in a graphic design class in Poznan, Poland where teachers were very helpful and patient. During this time I started drawing comics on my blog just for fun. Through my comics, I met a lot of amazing people from illustrators, authors, readers who still support me in my work. I was featured in a collective book called Kokekokko alongside amazing illustrators. It was a great and positive opportunity!

Since university I did several internships and was employed as a designer in advertising agencies which allowed me to work with talented people and learn a lot of versatile skills.

A year ago I quit my design job to travel and work as a freelancer. I didn’t know what I was going to do exactly so I opened an Instagram account to post my personal and professional illustrations. It quickly became a habit and a challenge to be rigorous in improving my skills. For the last year I mostly worked on illustrations.

Even a few years back I couldn’t imagine that I was going to work as an illustrator! Of course I’m still into graphic design projects in general and I’m looking forward to work on new ones! Recently I got hired as a designer in a digital agency, which will challenge me to improve my digital skills. I also continue to take on freelance work.

We love your illustration style, can you walk us through your design process?

Reading a lot of graphic novels, travelling, photography and home decoration inspire me a lot! When I get an idea, I take my sketchbook, I draw very quickly with my pencils and add notes for colors. I sometimes scan or take a pic of this sketch and work directly on Photoshop where I re-do my sketch and apply colors. Sometimes I struggle with finding a color palette so I try a lot of colors, I compare and look in home decoration and fashion magazines (they are great!) and on Pinterest.

You do a bit of everything from branding, Web design to illustration! How important is it for graphic designers to have experience in all of these areas?

I won’t say it’s important for graphic designers to be multidisciplinary because it is quite difficult to manage everything at the same level. I’m multidisciplinary, because I’m curious, and everything visual is exciting to me. I’m always keen to learn new things, to discover new trends and I always try to keep updated. The most difficult part of being multidisciplinary is keeping a strong identity that others can easily recognise. Having experience in all of these areas is great because I can work with a lot of different passionate people. I’m always excited for every new project I take part in!

Do you ever get creative block? How do you deal with it?

Yes I have creative blocks almost everyday but they leave very fast! When I feel like I am having one, I just stop doing what I do. For example if I work on a web design project, I would draw in my sketchbook to have a break. Some other times, I read my favourite graphic novels to give me energy and recharge me with inspiration. Also seeing other people’s work on Pinterest and Behance helps a bit and makes me motivated.

We love Jenny’s style. Be sure to check out her Instagram and Behance  for more inspiration!

If you would prefer to carry on reading check out some similar posts here or here.

About the author 

Shumi Perhiniak

Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer, in 2012 she took one-year sabbatical career break, where she devoted her time studying Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. In just after 6 months she started freelancing and within a year become a Certified Photoshop Expert. Over the years she worked both in-house and in agency roles as a retoucher, artworker and moved on from junior to senior design roles.

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