Rider’s Lens: Jinny Draws Life
We recently stumbled upon the whimsical illustrations of Jinny Chen and reached out to learn more. Find a collection of these unique animal-bikepacking drawings alongside an interview with Jinny about her illustrations and the technique behind them here…
Jinny Chen is a Taiwanese artist living in Sweden. While in college, Jinny studied horticulture and landscape design with the hopes of drawing and designing gardens. However, things didn’t go as planned, so she’s recently started focusing on her own work. She now combines her two loves, cycling and drawing, and hopes to share the joy of cycling with people through these whimsical animal illustrations. We caught up with Jinny and asked a few questions about the work and the process behind it. Read the interview and find a full gallery below.
What drew you to illustrating bikepacking bikes alongside animals?
Cycling brings me many joyful memories and takes me to amazing places in nature. In the beginning ,I thought it could be fun to draw beautiful views I’ve seen or places where I want to cycle. However, I always felt it lacked something when I’d draw just a cyclist with a beautiful views. One day while pedaling, a rabbit jumped beside me on my way home. The idea of drawing animals that cyclists meet came to my mind, so I started to draw them. I continued with different animals and ultimately found it to be something I really enjoy. It made my drawings more lively and fun. I also started to look forward to meeting animals that I could draw while out cycling.
How do you decide what animals you want to draw?
Most of them I’ve seen on my bicycle trips, some come to my mind when I shower, some even come from my dreams. I normally research the animal and try to find some fun facts, then those facts and my own feelings about the animal will help complete the drawing. I also like to draw animals and bikepackers that interact in a humorous and imaginative way, for example the Snail-Uber drawing.
In most of my drawings, humans are much smaller than animals or nature. That’s because I think humans are so small in comparison to nature. We should respectand be friends with nature, not overpower it. This is also the core concept behind my drawings.
How has traveling by bicycle impacted your work?
I enjoy bicycle trips and have many fun memories from them. Through my work, I would like to share the happiness of cycling with others and excite them to try riding as well. I love making colorful and joyful drawings to share the happiness that I get from cycling.
Tell us about some of the bikepacking trips you’ve taken.
I haven’t taken any long bikepacking trips yet, but I have taken several smaller trips. I still remember my first bikepacking trip from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Skagen, Denmark. My partner and I took the boat with our bikes to Denmark and started to cycle north about 40 kilometers. I was so fascinated by the views on the way that I rode straight over a pile of broken glass about five kilometers in, causing a flat tire in a super dramatic way. It was annoying at that point, but it do become a funny memory from that trip. Another fun memory from the trip is that we cycled to the northernmost point of Denmark and met a bunch of cute seals, which was exciting for me as I hadn’t ever encountered them in the wild before.
Another memorable cycling trip was when I rode along the coast from Gothenburg to a nature reservation area called Vallda Sandö. That was also about 40 km one way. The route is a mix of coast and countryside. You have sea views and meet animals, such as rabbits, hedgehogs, horses, and cows. The funny memory from this trip is that we saw 10 or 15 cows playing in the sea, which I thought was really funny and decided to draw.
Where do you hope your drawing will take you?
I hope that I can make picture books in the future, and bikepacking with animal is a theme that I definitely would like to continue pursuing. Also I would like to have a solo exhibition with my drawings in a gallery. And hopefully when people talk about bikepacking art, my name will be mentioned.
What’s your favorite drawing you’ve done?
My favorite is a cyclist diving with a crocodile. I think that humans are equal to everything in this world. I always want to be friends with animals and do activities with them. This is a dream that’s obviously hard to achieve in reality, but I made it in my drawing. In addition, cycling and diving are two activities that I am passion about. To be cycling and diving with a crocodile would really be a dream come true!
Tell us a little about the tools you use and your drawing process.
The tools I use for watercolor have very deep relationships with me. I started to draw with watercolors when I was about 12 years old, and I still use the same palette today. My palette has gone through all my journeys with me.
Other tools I use are Holbein transparent watercolor set, Winsor & Newton’s brush, and Arches watercolor paper. I started to use them few years after I began drawing and I’m happy that they keep good quality over so many years.
For digital drawing, I use a Wacom drawing board to connect to my laptop and draw in Photoshop. It is quite smooth to use for a beginner digital painter like me. I’m hoping to upgrade it to a graphic tablet and would like to make more complicated digital art in the future.
You can find Jinny’s drawings at her website, JinnyChen.com, and be sure to follow her on Instagram @JinnyDrawsLife.
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