Julien Chung portrait I draw animals with hats. I collect comic books. And I still believe in Santa Claus.

In my more than 25 years as a professional designer and illustrator, I’ve created a lot of crazy characters. I’ve worked with a variety of clients, including book publishers, art directors, interior designers, licensing agents, craftspeople and product manufacturers (one of my designs appears on a limited-edition Coca-Cola glass). In addition to creating licensed characters for brands around the world, I also work for Montreal’s French-language newspaper La Presse where I design pages for the travel, food and home sections and illustrate all sorts of things like superhero ducks, globe-trotting pigs and frolicking ladybugs for La Presse+.

Despite my tendency toward the silly, I’ve been recognized by some pretty serious organizations, including Applied Arts, 3×3, Society for News Design and National Newspaper Awards.

I find inspiration in children’s books, comics, street art, pop culture and nature—especially animals and the outdoors. In my world, cute animals with quirky personalities wander brightly colored scenes. My work is modern, cheerful and playful, appealing to people all over the world, across borders and cultural barriers.

I live in Montreal, Canada, where my wife and I share an empty nest with a lovebird named Cookie. When I’m not working, you can find me scribbling in a sketchbook, hunting for flea market treasures or planning my next travel adventure.

Photo by Karine Dontigny

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Awards

2015 Applied Arts, Canada (2 awards)
2015 3×3 Picture Book Show, New York (2 awards)
2015 World Illustration Awards, London (finalist)
2014 Applied Arts, Canada  (1 award)
2014 3×3 Children’s Show, New York (4 awards)
2014 3×3 Pro Show, New York (2 awards)
2013 Applied Arts, Canada (1 award)
2013 3×3 Pro Show, New York (1 award)
2013 Society for News Design (2 awards)
2012 Applied Arts, Canada (2 awards)

2012 3×3 Children’s Show, New York (2 awards)
2011 3×3 Children’s Show, New York (1 award)
2011 3×3 Pro Show, New York (2 awards)
2011 Society for News Design (2 awards)
2010 3×3 Children’s Show, New York (3 awards)
2010 Society for News Design (8 awards)
2009 LUX, Canada (2 awards)
2009 Society for News Design (5 awards)
2008 LUX, Canada (3 awards)
2008 National Newspaper Awards, Canada, Design of the Year

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Frequently asked questions

What’s your creative process like?
I always carry around a sketchbook, mostly to record ideas, draw characters and collect inspiration that I find on my travels. I collect the books, then, when I’m running low on ideas, I go through them and always find something I had forgotten about. They’re invaluable.
I sketch more complex ideas on tracing paper, and sometimes I will scan those to trace in the computer. I use Adobe Illustrator to draw. I like to cut out shapes, like cutting out paper. I also like to combine perfect shapes with rough ones. I use lots of flat color though I’m starting to incorporate a bit of texture and hand drawn elements into my work.

What do your house and studio look like?
I inherited a couple of Danish furniture pieces from my parents and have made them the focal point of our decor. Like my drawing style, the decor is contemporary with mid-century modern influences. I have a lot of art prints from different illustrators displayed. I show off my collection of art toys and figurines, my latest products and also I pin up whatever inspires me at the moment.

Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a collector. My wife says that my interest in cute cards, stickers, packaging and all kinds of paper products is a bit unusual. Right now I’m building up my children’s book collection. That’s in addition to my extensive stamp collection, my art toys and figurines collection, my illustrated map collection, my European comics collection and my lapel pin collection (yes, you read that correctly). All these objects have an illustrated image attached to them that I love.

What’s your favorite animal?
It changes. Right now I’m interested in tigers for some reason …