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Interview with vector illustrator Charlene Chua

Toronto, Canada –

Charlene Chua is an illustrator based in Singapore with her fiance and two cats, who’s developed a very slick vector style of drawing. Her favourite subject is the female form, particularly vampy, powerful and sexy women. She says “I try to tell a story with my illustrations… It’s always easier and more rewarding for me to have the illustration accompany a story.” 

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Before taking the plunge to do illustration Charlene worked as a graphic designer, a web producer and an interactive project manager, and this is reflected in her polished personal website. We took the opportunity to chat to her about drawing girls and her weird psychological desires… 

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Tell us a little bit about your upbringing: were you always good at drawing?

CHARLENE: No, I wasn’t always good at drawing! Frankly I don’t think I’m all that great now, but I’m quite happy with my style so I guess it’s ok.


When did you start drawing, and at what point did you think you’d like to offer your services as a illustrator? 

The earliest I remember drawing anything was when I was 4 years old or so. I kinda recall drawing birds, very inhuman people and various swirly patterns. I stopped drawing when I was about 19 or so, around the time I got my first job as a designer. It was only after I quit my job as a Interactive Project Manager that I decided I wanted to try being an illustrator again.


Your online biography indicates that your education was mostly “The School of Hard Knocks” does this imply you’ve had a tough life? 

Well I don’t think my life has been particularly bad. On the other hand, I didn’t get to go to a good design or art school to get a degree or anything. What I meant was that all I’ve learnt, I’ve learnt by trial and error, which to me seems like the best teacher you can get.


Many of your characters seem very Vampy, even slightly Goth: is this a reflection of you personally? 

Haha, you know people tend to say I’m Goth but I can’t understand why. It’s not like I go around with mascara and fishnets! But I suppose I do have a fascination with slightly dark and morbid stuff and I do like black. Although these days you’d think that about describes anyone!

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You draw mostly girls – and sexy ones at that! Why the interest in the female form?