6th December 2021 |
The Process: Jennifer Hayashi on being a multi-disciplinary

Jennifer Hayashi is an energetic and colourful art director, designer and illustrator who recently spoke at our Glug x Fora event during Clerkenwell design week. While she fills her time working as a Senior Graphic Design freelancer, and as if that wasn't enough she's also agency side, currently at Social Life, working for clients like Netflix.

Over the years Jenny has become increasingly recognised for her doodle bomb illustration, which is the art of taking existing imagery and illustrating over the top of it. These creative explorations are not only eye catching, they open up a door for new ways to communicate to an audience and also to create a way in which to unwind and let off some steam.


Participant Doodle Bomb - Jennifer Hayashi Workshop - GlugxFora 

We were so impressed with the workshop and talk she gave at our event we reached out to find out more about her background, process and if she had trouble balancing her day to day freelance and work life. 

Why did you choose design/illustration, what excites you about it?

From a young age, I was obsessed with Disney movies and cartoons which were full of colour and beautiful art. This fuelled my passion for design and illustration. I’ve always been creative and was really lucky to know that I wanted to be in that industry from a young age. I’m most excited by the change in mediums and technology. Everything is up for grabs, it’s an industry that is ever evolving and I love keeping up with it.

You’ve become increasingly known for your doodle bomb illustrations. How did all that begin?

I originally started doodle bombs when I found an old Lady Gaga magazine whilst moving house and I thought it a waste to throw out. I tried drawing on top of it to add my own style. I really enjoyed having something to draw on as I didn’t have to think about how to fill the canvas. Once I had drawn a few, I got the doodle bug and have been doing it since. I started documenting the journey on Instagram to keep track and it became a habit. Every morning I get up and work on my doodle bombs as a way to set myself up for the day and to relax. It’s super therapeutic.


Participant Doodle Bomb - Jennifer Hayashi Workshop - GlugxFora 

Colour seems to play a huge role not only within your creative but also your life. What is it that draws you towards colour?

I love colour, it brings me so much joy. It might just be a bit of the ’80s that just stuck with me, but I ADORE it. I don’t feel like myself when I’m wearing black. There are so many colors in the world, I don’t really stick to the same colour palette that most people would. Even with my work, I’ve been very very lucky to work with brands who embrace a more rainbow world, making it easier to enjoy my job as a designer

Do you find it challenging to juggle both an in-house position and freelance life?

It can be difficult to schedule in meetings or briefing’s as I have a full-time job, and the majority of my clients work during normal working hours. But thankfully technology helps in this area and I can always Skype on my lunch break. I try and inform the client that I do work out of hours on projects and usually everything works out ok. I never take on projects that would affect my day job. Good project planning is essential, but luckily I love it. If it’s a project I love working on, it makes it so much easier to dedicate my time on it.

What’s been your favourite project of work to date, regardless of medium?

It’s so difficult to name my favourite project! I think I might have to say the Impulse Academy with VCCP kin. I just loved it. The team were so nice and really wanted to bring my doodles to life in the adverts. It was a lovely mix of video and animation and a joy to work on. It was on a project to help young teen’s with their self-confidence through workshops with industry leaders and Anne-Marie. I am a big fan of Anne-Marie, so it was great doodling on her! It was the first project I worked on freelance so it will always have a special place in my heart. I learned so much.


Impulse Academy Still - Jennifer Hayashi 

If you could only work within one media for the rest of your life, without the concern of money, which would it be and why?

Oh tough question... I love keeping up with new technology but also loving having that real-world feel of traditional pens. I did briefly get to try out drawing in VR which was interesting, but kind of weird. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d love to dedicate some time working out that new media. I loved all the different colour’s and effects that VR can bring to design and illustration that’s not possible in the real world.

Are there any criteria you look for when choosing a photograph to doodle bomb?

I usually go for a model that's a bit different or directly look at the viewer. Anything that's small doesn’t really work for me, so I like larger shots of the upper body, or photography where the model is in a weird pose. I try and draw on as many different kinds of models as I can find, regardless of race, gender or size. Although I do find this difficult to find in fashion magazines. Over the years this seems to be changing. Hunger Magazine is a fantastic magazine to draw on as it has such fantastic photography and a diverse range of models and icons.

Do you feel there’s more of a need for multidisciplinary designers in today’s world and what would you say the strengths and weaknesses of becoming one are?

I find that being multidisciplinary really helps when finding the best route for a brief. Usually, when I get a brief, I find multiple ways it could be executed. Having the ability to carry out these executions really helps bring the project to life. Even if you aren’t multidisciplinary, having the ability to understand other mediums and how things work will go a long way. The weakness of this is that sometimes we try to be good at many things without having the basic’s covered. It’s very important to keep this in mind and have a solid set of skills at the core of your practice.

What advice would you give to anyone starting off doodle bombing?

Pick up a pen and give it a go! Find a magazine or a poster that you don’t really mind messing up (just in case it goes wrong!) and some good pens like Posca paint pens and give it a bash. If you’d like, you can try digitally with Microsoft Surface or an iPad. Just remember to have fun!

You can check out Jenny's portfolio and channels by visiting her website.


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