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Mike Austin and Jing Jing Tsong Illustration Harmony

October 9, 2015

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Mike Austin and Jing Jing Tsong are a couple who are both illustrators, live in Hawaii and spend their time split between illustrating and surfing ! No wonder their work is soooo colourful ! : ) I got in touch with Jing Jing and she kindly gave me some background information.

” Mike and I studied Graphic Design at Pennsylvania State University. We had great mentors who emphasized conceptual thinking over the compartmentalization of disciplines. The result was a way of working that incorporates time and sequence, graphic design, illustration, photography and typography. At Mike’s first job, he had the opportunity to work with art from illustrators such as Vivienne Flesher, Alan Cober, Marshall Arisman and Brad Holland. That’s when the light went on for Mike, “This is what I want to do!”.

We opened a design studio and during that time, incorporated a lot of our own illustration. Eventually we decided to focus solely on illustration. We have been collaborating in design and illustration for over 30 years. Though we don’t work on projects together, there is a constant dialogue over conceptual directions, techniques, frustrations, tiny triumphs. Also, Mike steals my art supplies—so I’ve learned to hide them! “

Mike’s work is quite bold and graphical.

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I really like the textures and patterns he creates in his work, even when it’s depicting tough topics, like global warming and pollution.

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His designs have a lot of direction and movement.

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Water, education, health and money matters, are all subjects that he’s covered in his vast portfolio over on Altpick..

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I like how there are themes which appear in slight variations.

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Shapes that re-present themselves.

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And sometimes they even turn into all over design repeats.

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Mike also has a lighter, more quirky, digital handwriting style too.

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Jing Jing has a softer feel to her work, and a collection of over 800 illustrations to call upon too !

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I really like her textured leaves and water (above).

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Jing Jing’s work looks at areas such as Animals, Ethnic, Nature, Family, Folk Art and Celebration.

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Perhaps some illustrated traditions arose from her own family memories.

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Great movement and colour too.

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Both artists have created children’s books. Here are Jing Jing’s.

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And a few from Mike.

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This ‘Fire Engine No 9’ has just been published by Random House Books. I feel it has a flavour of Miroslav Sasek’s work to it. Looks Fab.

Jing Jing says ” My newest project are illustrations for a book that will be published in May 2016 by Simon and Schuster, ‘Before We Met’ by Laura Krauss Melmed. Mike also has a new project, because in December 2015, a book that he illustrated will be published by Simon and Schuster, ‘Nellie Belle’ by Mem Fox.”

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Great work Mike and Jing Jing, thanks for taking the time to be a part of my blog and do catch a few waves for us when you’re not working, won’t you !

Jing Jing mentioned in her email ” —it’s great to be part of a blog that celebrates illustration!” which is a lovely thought.

She was already familiar with my blog, which is great and which also made me wonder which readers are the furthest away from Manchester ? Could it be you ? Please do let me know where you are readers, it would be great to find out.

As a point of interest I should mention that I’m off to visit the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair today.


It’s on until Sunday evening and well worth a visit if you’re in the area or fancy some fine craft culture over the weekend. As a result, I’ll hopefully be sharing some wonderful new businesses with you next week too.. so watch this space !

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2015 10:40 am

    Hi Craig.Thanks for your great blog.I have been introduced to some very interesting designers, illustrators and craftspeople through reading it.I am a designer and illustrator living in Auckland, New Zealand so I am quite a long way from Manchester (which I know a lot more about now) 🙂

    • October 13, 2015 11:11 am

      Hi Elspeth, I’ve been to Auckland and have relatives living there too, so I do know how far away you are from Manchester lol So glad to hear from you and that the word is spreading as far as it can.. Yay. If you come across any new trends or work from NZ that may fit the Fishink style do let me know. Have a great day.

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