Esther Kim is a Korean-American illustrator, born in Los Angeles, who spent her teenage years in Tokyo. She is inspired by the fashionable girls in Tokyo and L.A.. Both cities have been very influential to the development of her aesthetic. Her drawings have a girly sweet feeling and are detailed yet simple.
Esther is relatively new to creating work as an illustrator, only doing it for about two years now, but she’s been quickly gaining popularity.
Her first big assignment was for Nylon Japan in 2007. Since then she has worked with many brands including Ellegirl Korea, Human Potential, Nylon US, Urban Outfitters, and more. This spring she has different t-shirt projects coming out with Anna Sui, Heather and Nissen.
Esther on Esther:
hello, my name is esther kim. i like to draw. as you may have noticed i draw mainly females. i am a single young woman and like most people my age i am fascinated with being a young woman, who i am, who i want to be and how the world sees me(i’m guessing this self-fascination probably won’t fade with age but i’ll probably have more things to worry about by then so you’ll hear about it less).
Above is a look at Esther Kim’s collaboration with Kid Dangerous, from a series of t-shirts that’s kind a kind of love letter to L.A. and Tokyo style.
After the jump, you’ll see a lot more of Esther’s work including one of the cutest handwritten surveys we’ve ever received!
Esther’s illustrations always come off as soft and gentle pieces.
Below are some shots of Esther’s collabo with the clothing company, Heather.
I almost overloaded on cuteness when I saw Esther’s survey! It’s a such a great display of her fun illustrative style and mind! Plus it gives us a little insight on the artist herself. Peep it:
Lovely, right?! Now for some Q&A with Esther below:
1. What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
In terms of illustration I really love Fafi. She was the first illustrator/artist that I really got into. I remember being blown away by her work because I had never seen anything so girly and personal. Her career is very inspiring as well.
2. How did you get your start?
I started drawing around six years ago. I just felt a creative urge to do something and I just bought some sketchbooks and started drawing everyday. I took a figure drawing class and my teacher Justin Bua encouraged me to pursue art/illustration. It was my first sense that I might be able to do something with this. After that I met a lot of people who really helped me get my act together. One of my good friends, Jessica Lopez, and I drew and created together as a group called Charm School. We had so much fun just making stuff for fun but she also urged me be professional and get a website, business card, etc. Another friend, Andrei Kalamkarov made my website for me. After that I was drawing and doing a lot of stuff for free for little publications. My breakthrough moment came in 2007 when I got my first assignment for Nylon Japan. It was a two page spread right off the bat and I was so excited. I got a lot of work just based off that first Nylon spread alone and since than it’s just been word of mouth and little by little working towards my bigger goals as an illustrator.
3. What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created?
I don’t think I’ve created my favorite piece yet and I don’t know if I ever will.
4. Who do you want to work with?
I was/am a big fan of Nagi Noda, a Japanese director and artist. She passed away this past September at the age of 35. It would have been an ultimate dream to work with her. She was amazing, really whimsical but world class.
5. What part of illustrating/working with clients is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
It’s funny a lot of the people I work with are really busy so they give me free reign to do what I like. I don’t know if I’m spoiled because of that but it’s always the worst when someone is micro-managing me. Having said that even that is not a big deal, I mean, honestly to be able to draw and have people appreciate and want to use my work is so amazing to me. For things I want to plug I’m really trying to get the word out about my collaboration with Kid Dangerous. It’s a series of t-shirts that’s kind of my love letter to L.A. and Tokyo style. It’s coming out in June 09. It will be available on their website which they are in the process of revamping and in retailers worldwide.
Thanks, Esther! Below are some more shots of work by Esther Kim:
Above: When sweet goes tough, an illustration of Esther’s on a hoodie for Human Potential.
Below: Some images from Esther’s collaboration with Kid Dangerous. A series of t-shirts that she describes as a kind of my love letter to L.A. and Tokyo style.
Can’t get enough of Esther Kim? Well, at the rate that she’s going, we’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the months to come but more now, EstherKimLovesYou.com!
- Esther Kim Loves You
- M.I.S.S. Paper Dolls @ FIFTY24LA: Esther Kim
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