Don’t be fooled by how quiet Angela Huang can be. Angela is one of the best illustrators Simpatico has ever had the privilege of working with! She’s brought such a unique style to the team and has expanded our design skillset so much. Let’s learn a bit more about how she got to where she is today.
I never thought that all the skills I’ve learned would gradually make me a designer, and I LOVE being a designer! Therefore, enjoy every kind of opportunity that comes your way, because it will someday become your most valuable experience.
Tell us a little about yourself! How did you start in design?
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts with an illustration major, I realized the difficulty of finding a full time job as an illustrator. Just like 80% of my peers, I was very excited for our future careers, but at the same time also felt uncertainty. I took every opportunity that came and learned whatever I could and spent most of my time on drawing different ideas. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to publish my own children’s book, work with many editorial illustration pieces, and participate in different art book fairs to meet people. By having an internship opportunity with some motion experience, some friends suggested that I learn motion graphics…to take my illustration to another level—making them move. After taking motion graphics at FIT and some online classes, I realized that it also required design skills for me to create better visuals.
It was quite a turning point for me, even though I did some design projects in the past, I never thought I’d become a designer. I started to take classes and focus on learning more fundamental design during the pandemic. I suddenly found out how interesting and expandable design can be, and I felt the excitement that I couldn’t wait to dive deeper into the design world. I’m looking forward to all the progress and growth I’ll make in the future.
What does your typical work day at Simpatico look like?
I really love to start a day with a morning ritual, such as exercising, reading a book, preparing a hot latte, and saying good morning to everyone on Slack. Being a freelancer for years, I have a habit of keeping track of all tasks in my notes, and I schedule them on each day based on the priority. Therefore, every day when I start working, I will clearly know how many tasks I have today, and if I have any bandwidth to take on more projects. Since I’m more of a morning person, I usually love using this time to brainstorm ideas and do more complicated projects. In the afternoon, I usually do something that’s more routine, or do bigger projects that need a longer block of time. It’s very typical that we’ll have to jump into some urgent tasks and provide support, so it’s very important to keep track of your own workload everyday.
What led you to design and illustration? What are your favorite types of designs to work on?
I started to learn drawing and all different kinds of hand-making skills since I was young for after school activities. I came to the US alone to study when I was 15, but the huge difference between here and Taiwan is that I was able to choose elective subjects during high school. I started building more skills in art and decided to go to an art school for college.
It is hard to say what my favorite types of design are. There are too many things you can do and learn, and I haven’t explored enough yet. However, I really enjoy the design process from brainstorming to polishing, and I always love to see what other new techniques I can add. I would say the whole experience from learning design, illustration, and animation helped me improve all the skills, such as I started using design methods in illustration, using animation to show the design process, or producing my design works with illustrative elements. I’m learning and developing in my own unique way.
Your illustration work has brought a new level of skill to Studio Simpatico. How do you continue developing your illustration style?
Yeah, sometimes I still do illustrations for children’s magazines or online editorial pieces. Besides that, I have a sketchbook that I always put down ideas and inspiration on. My favorite activity before the pandemic is filling up the pages in my sketchbook while visiting different coffee shops. I always have some WIP pieces that I’m planning to produce into zines and art books, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity and time to participate in different art book fairs again. My works now are mostly in digital due to the frequency of moving and traveling, so I mostly use Procreate on iPad and Adobe Illustrator for image making.
You and Bruce work really closely together – what are the things you’ve learned from him? Have you taught him anything new as well?
I’ve learned A LOT from Bruce. I’m very grateful for the trust Bruce and Tamara have in me, so I have the opportunity to try things and experience different projects. I’ve learned how to be organized and pay attention more to details because that could always affect the collaborations between you and your teammates.
Bruce plays a very important role in our design process and has helped me a lot. From large to tiny tasks, whenever I have questions, I can ask him without hesitations or feeling embarrassed. We usually have our random “secret design meeting” to review design works together, and he will point out designs that need improvement, and give out a lot of useful tips and design logics. I’m not sure if Bruce has learned anything from me, but we constantly exchange ideas and design tips that we found online.
What attracted you to working at Studio Simpatico? Why do you think Bruce and Tamara hired you?
Everyone seemed very fun and energetic during my interview, and I was also attracted by the beautiful work Studio Simpatico made. In general, I was looking for a small place that I could learn faster and get the excitement to see our projects go live in a short period of time.
I guess what Tamara and Bruce were looking for is a designer who can design, illustrate, animate, and who knows how to project manage their own work. However, I’m so glad I have a great team to rely on if I’m stuck on different kinds of tasks, and we can always sort out the solution together through everyone’s experience. I think this is one of the most beautiful achievements in Studio Simpatico – TEAMWORK.