Leying Chen aka Shadow Chen aka Salty Shadow is a mixed media artist, a true talented master in illustration. She chose the English artist name “Shadow” because of her obsession with creating strong contrasted images. She loves to adopt light/dark compositions and liquid shapes, but always add a creative twist and some bright colors. Shadow takes traditional Chinese art to new places by adding vector elements and street art influences. Shadow Chen is from Ningbo, China and mainly works as a freelance illustrator.
Shadow Chen has excelled in Industrial Design and is an Art & Design post-graduate but her love for art tempted her to explore more opportunities as an illustrator and graphic designer. Her professional specialization as a freelance artist includes illustration, graphic design and web development.
Originally, Shadow Chen was completely devoted to product design, especially furniture. Her big examples were futuristic product designer Marc Newson and fashion designer Paul Smith. Since her other passions are art and painting she started applying for graphic design and illustration jobs after she graduated. She felt that graphic design was easier and trendier than designing products. Shadow Chen quickly fell in love with digital art, as it is a cool way to express your ideas in a quick way. Her work is very unique and creative.
While working, Shadow Chen always plays some cool tunes with strong rhythms to help her add emotions and atmosphere to her illustration projects. She gets her inspiration from her inner self, from all her talented friends and creative soul mates, the people she has met, the outside world and different forms of art like traditional painting, street art, fashion and music. Over the years, Chen collaborated with many prominent graphic designer, illustrators and typo artists: Archan Nair, Mixmasterangel, Anneli Olander, Typefunk, Matheus Lopes, Kdoodles and Beacoupzero.
Shadow Chen’s favorite creative websites are:
James Jean – This is the blog of Shadow Chen’s favorite illustrator James Jean. He posts beautiful sketches, background information about his working process plus recent news on his blog. His updates are never to be missed.
DepthCore – This website is one of the key players in the digital arts world. A lot of Shadow Chen’s top favorite designers and illustrators are associated with DepthCore.
Behance – An amazing creative community site that is geared towards all creative disciplines. Artists can submit their own pieces on Behance to be ranked by other members of the online network.
Infectious – This site is all about “community designed goodness”, from iPhone and Blackberry skins, wall and car decals to t-shirts and art prints.
DesignByHumans –This website displays trendy T-shirt artworks and has a very creative and innovative team.
deviantArt – For Shadow Chen digital art begins with this website. It’s the most popular online art community in the world where she has made a lot of designer and artist friends. deviantArt has surely helped her a lot to enhance her career and boost her fame in the creative community.
Threadless – Threadless is without a doubt one of the most original t-shirt websites around. The community spirit on this website is immense and the t-shirt designs are very creative.
Lookbook – The perfect site to spend time when you are bored. A huge database of fashion inspiration from real people all around the world. Collective fashion consciousness!
Shadow Chen spends a lot of time on sketching when it comes to illustrations with more specific styles and characters. She usually makes 3 to 4 sketches and then digitalizes it on her computer. The most important and hardest part of the whole process is to figure out a way to insert line art and colours. For abstract freestyle or mixed media works, Shadow Chen mostly prepares a rough sketch and then digitalizes it on the computer. She finds working with Photoshop more enjoyable, free and expressional – it’s like painting on a digital canvas. She uses a very basic computer with windows XP OS and a 15” Sharp flat screen monitor. Like almost every designer, her weapons of choice are popular graphic design programs like Photoshop, Corel Draw and Flash for her web projects. She is mainly freelancing, as it gives her more freedom: “The major advantage of freelance jobs is that you can be more creative and have more freedom at work. It’s cool to work for clients from different industries. You can have full control of your schedule and can always go out with friends and family for lunch, dinner or a nice cup of coffee. As a designer or artist you never feel bored or lonely because you can create art anytime and be lost in your own thoughts. The disadvantage of this job is that it harms your social life as you spend way too much time in front of your computer. It’s not exactly a healthy lifestyle, but being creative is all I ever wanted to do.”
As an artist and a designer, Shadow Chen feels more fulfilled mentally and loves to observe things and details around her. She loves the great details and crazy colors of Buddhist art but even more that every bit of it carries blessings, longings and a meaning. Getting into creative areas gives her different point of views to life. She believes that searching your inner self is more important than following the latest trends. Her forthcoming projects include creating lots more amazing artworks, participating in fresh collabs and starting a brand with her friend - that is still a secret but knowing Shadow it will be worth the wait! To see more of Shadow’s wonderful illustrations, visit www.saltyshadow.com.
Related tags: Anneli Olander, Archan Nair, Beacoupzero, Behance, China, Chinese, Color, Creative, Depthcore, Designbyhumans, Deviantart, Flash, Illustration, Illustrator, Infectious, Kdoodles, Lookbook, Marc Newson, Matheus Lopes, Mixmasterangel, Ningbo, Paul Smith, Photoshop, Processrecess, Salty Shadow, Shadow Chen, Threadless, Typefunk, Website