From an Architect to an Illustrator
The life story of Jung Jin-ho as an author and illustrator
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While some university students choose their double majors in accordance with their academic preferences and passions, others only apply for the majors that correspond to certain conditions such as grades. For the latter group, it is important that they find their true interest during their college years. Jung Jin-ho (Department of Architecture, ’13) is an illustrator from the Department of Architecture who went through such a situation. His life-long dream of becoming an architect changed into the dream of being an illustrator who inspires and pleases young readers.
Originally, Jung’s dream was to become a renowned architect, which is why he chose the Department of Architecture. During his 4th year, he signed a contract for a year-long internship at the architecture company he always wanted to join. However, the reality was considerably different from his expectations, and this internship experience became the turning point of reconsidering his original dream. Jung struggled to find a job that genuinely suited his passion during his 5th year of college, since his life-long goal to become a successful architect had suddenly collapsed due to the experience of the frustrating reality of the field. While he was contemplating his future, Jung recalled that since his childhood he had always liked reading picture books. Due to a serious burn he had received, Jung had to spend most of his time in the hospital. “I made a lot of friends at the hospital. Some of them were seriously ill. I remember a friend who had lost an arm. However, I had no prejudice against them. They were just like ordinary people and I felt no sense of difference between us. Through this experience at the hospital, I learned that having such bias was meaningless,” Jung stated.
As activities for children are quite limited in the hospital, it was natural that he read a lot of picture books, which eventually became a major hobby that lasted to his adulthood. Considering his childhood background, Jung decided to create a picture book that also included a story of his 5th year of university life. Jung made four pieces in total that year.
The books Look up! (위를 봐요!), Wall (벽), Soil and a Worm (벽과 지렁이), and Owl (부엉이), received great attention and love from the public, and also won Jung an award. The piece Look up! was especially highly evaluated in terms of architecture. He applied what he had learned in university over four years to his book, and this challenging spirit and refreshing attempt gained recognition from experts. Jung notes, “Whereas many authors get inspiration from other peoples’ stories, I focus on my past experiences. In Wall I reflected the knowledge I learned from my major, and in 3 Second Diving I reflected on my elementary school life. Since my first piece, which was the primary momentum to become an illustrator-author, reflects the most about my personal story, I feel the greatest attachment to it.” After receiving several awards, he gets numerous calls from interested libraries and schools.
Jung also has been giving lectures to both teenagers and adults since 2015. The content of the lectures differs depending on the audiences' level of understanding level about art. For younger generations, he prepares a variety of activities such as building blocks and drawing simple pictures, while giving theoretical explanations of picture books to adults. While he travels around giving lectures, he plans to write one or two books a year at the same time.
It was lucky for him to debut in the field of illustration and novels, as Professor Kang Min-kyung from the College of Humanities sent Jung’s pieces to several publishing companies, all of which offered a positive response. Jung’s goal is not grand. He just wants to maintain his career in this field for a lifetime; however, many illustrators are unable to due to inconsistent income. Jung said, “There was one respectable professor that I really liked. He always insisted that becoming a master is achieved when you constantly put forth a strong effort without craving for it. I just want to survive in this field and work for my true interest.” Jung adds, “Many people work in a different area that is irrelevant to their major, but it’s okay. By doing so, they can make their own attractive story. Broaden your perspective and be confident. Everything you have learned can always be helpful to what you will be in the future.”
Kim Min-jae firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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