Andrea Wan

Andrea Wan may seem introverted but the work of this Vancouver-based illustrator is nothing close to shy. Having worked with a slew of notable publications like Nylon and The Globe and Mail as well as participated in numerous gallery shows, Andrea is mustering up a portfolio desirable by any young and budding illustrator.

Andrea got her start by enrolling in film studies at Emily Carr. “For some reason, I just chose film,” she explains. “I used to draw just here and there but they were just doodles. I never really practice drawing or anything like that.” However, soon after her graduation project, which featured some of these doodles, her friends urged her to pursue illustration. Andrea ended up landing in Denmark to study illustration and design at Designskolen Kolding.

Taking a good look at her personal work, which can consist of images of roofs


houses, chairs with flipped and curling legs, and black and blue rivers coming out of the mouth of a person with a bird instead of eyes. On top of this, there are human sweaters, boys with random rolls of toilet paper and a cat’s cradle of houses. Her work is like viewing a stream of consciousness; you think there’s no way that any of this could be planned, and indeed it isn’t. “I am inspired by my environment—it is like an emotional landscape,” says Andrea. “I spontaneously come up with an idea or an image and I just have to draw it out. I don’t really make a lot of sketches or pre-plans.”

While she’s always happy to take on commercial jobs, Andrea says that she feels more restricted with them because she’s usually given a theme or a few keywords and has to build an image around that, a method which sometimes curbs spontaneity. However when you’re working as a freelance illustrator, you can’t be too picky.


At this point, Andrea still faces the same problems that a lot of young people in the creative field face: having to juggle a part-time job while pursuing her dream. “I really wish that I could do this full-time and not have to worry about working part-time somewhere else that’s totally unrelated,” she shares. But looking ahead, with plans for more magazine work, commercial work and personal art projects, it’s unlikely she’ll have to work that part-time job much longer.


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