Meet the Artist: Kimberlie Clinthorne-Wong

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 Interview with Kimberlie Clinthorne-Wong, Illustrator, Designer and Ceramicist 

Pink background with white text: Your artwork is amazing, how did you get started in illustration?

That’s so kind, thank you! I come from a very creative family and so my creativity was nurtured from a young age. I’ve always loved the power of illustration and was particularly drawn to children’s book illustration. I received a BFA in drawing from the University of Hawai’i in 2011 and then furthered my education in illustration at the Art Center College of Design, where I fell in love with editorial and children’s book illustration as well as surface design.  

Pink background with white text: How do you get the commissions to produce the work?

 After graduating in 2017, I jumped into freelance and slowly began building up my clients. I was able to get commissions by sharing my work through social media and sending out cold emails. In 2021, I was fortunate to have been asked to join Inkling Agency, which has brought me this wonderful opportunity to work on Lessons From Our Ancestors. 

Pink background with white text: Other than book illustrations is your work delivered to a wider audience elsewhere ?

 Yes, I actually started my career with editorial illustration with clients such as Hawaii Magazine and the Washington Post. I’ve also worked on surface design, game boards, concept art, just to name a few. My clients range from small business owners to the Oregon Zoo, 7-Eleven Hawaii, and Starbucks. Illustration takes so many forms and it keeps projects fun and interesting. I also started a collaborative ceramics business called Two Hold Studios with my husband. 

What is the process behind the images– do you look at academic papers and articles, in Lessons from our Ancestors did you have to go to look at a lot of online images to get a feel for the landscape?

 I’d love to visit some of these areas in the future! I depended a lot on the online resources that Raksha Dave put together for me as well as doing my own online research to get a feel of what these landscapes were like in the past. This included photos, videos and articles. 

Pink background with white text:How do you start the artwork – pencil for example or is it all digital?

 Once I receive the brief and script, I’ll do some quick digital sketches in Procreate to figure out what the composition might be. I work loose initially to try out as many ideas as possible and then I tighten things up. 

Pink background with white text: You have such a simplicity of stroke yet it portrays so much information, is it hard to hold back and not add lots and lots of detail?

 Definitely, it can be a bit of a push and pull. There are a lot of activities happening in these scenes, so I felt it was important to not overwhelm the illustrations with too much detail. 

Pink background with white text:    Looking at your profile  there are two mediums that you work in, digital art and  ceramics what influenced your unique style, perhaps where you are from in Oahu?

Growing up in Oahu’s lush and vibrant landscape has definitely helped influence my style, I’d say particularly my colour palettes. Working in different mediums helps keep my creativity moving because they work off each other. I’m influenced by contemporary ceramics, fashion and animals, just to name a few.  

Pink background with white text: have you got a wish list for future creative mediums?

I’d love to jump back into analog work for a bit. I currently feel pulled towards mural work and fiber arts, and I’ve missed working with gouache, watercolour, and printmaking. It would be awesome to develop these skills and have them in future commissions.  

Find out more about Kimberlie's art! Twitter | Instagram | Website 




This interview was produced as part of the 2023 Festival of Archaeology's Archaeology and Creativity Theme Day sponsored by Thames & Hudson.

Thames & Hudson are one of the world’s leading publishers of illustrated books. They publish high-quality titles across ‎all areas of visual creativity. Their mission is to create a ‘museum without walls’ and to make accessible to a large reading public the world of art and the research of top scholars.