Saturday, August 18, 2018

Kim Jung Gi explains his thinking

Korean artist Kim Jung Gi is well known for his fabulously complex ink drawings, which he creates in impromptu settings before live audiences.

What's not as well known is what he's thinking as he creates them. This short documentary explores his working process via an subtitled interview. He talks about how he uses visual memory and what he's trying to accomplish in the realm of imaginative drawing in Korea and beyond. (Link to YouTube)
Book with Kim Jung Gi's artwork
Kim Jung Gi Sketch Collection, 2103
Books that include Kim Jung Gi's work with others
Terada Katsuya + Kim Jung Ill illustrations collection
Sketching from the Imagination: Characters
Masters of Sketching


James Gurney said...

Rujii, who couldn't leave a message on the blog, asks:
"Hey Mr gurney
In regards of your recent kim jung gi post, I wanted to ask you do you personally believe that it is possible for another person to learn how to draw like him? Is his ability to draw perfect strokes and visual memory a gift or a skill? I have drawn daily for many years and have no visual memory and not even close to the skills in inking. Although for example I've drawn hundreds of horses and studied their anatomy I couldn't draw one from my head. Although very inspiring I really don't know what separates my mind from his when drawing or know how to practice to become like him other than trail and error and luck. I apologize for not posting this question to your blog but it doesn't allow me to add my comment there."

James Gurney answers:
Rujii, I believe Mr. Kim's ability is some combination of innate gift and a acquired skill. Focused practice is a remarkable thing, and the human mind is capable of a lot. Any of us can improve with study and practice.
However: Can we get our work to his level or create work that resembles his? That's unlikely. He has unique innate abilities and he has very hard to improve them. And he has been shaped by his personal experiences and culture which is probably very different from yours or mind. Learning about his practices and his thought process and then applying that to our own practice can lift us up a little higher. The key is to not just watch him draw, but to model our thought process and our practice on his. Each of us has skills and talents that can be improved, and that's where we can start.

Carole Pivarnik said...

What a remarkable artist and process!! Thank you for sharing this. It is really inspiring and a joy to see this work.

Howie Green said...

I watched him work last year at the New York Comic Con and it was like watching a magician do something your eyes and mind can't process. I have never seen another artist with his ability. Remarkable.

Paul Sullivan said...

James—The link provided to “Omphalos”, the book by Kim Jung Gi, is way below your usual standards. The work is in bad taste, to say the least. Actually, it is raw pornography.

I have followed you and your work for years and I believe this is one that just got by you. In the past I have trusted your blog and on occasion have recommended it to young artists including my nephew.—Paul

James Gurney said...

Paul, I haven't looked in detail at Omphalos, but I have seen other books by him. I offered the link for someone who might want to order the book and decide for themselves. But I am aware that KJG deals with violent and sexual imagery, as did Moebius and Goya and Rubens and Caravaggio and many old masters who painted scenes from the Bible.

I don't think anything in the blog post about KJG is terribly objectionable—it's a YouTube video after all. I'm not making judgments about the subject matter of his overall output. However, I believe that KJG is an exceptionally skilled and inspired artist.

In this post, I'm primarily interested in KJG's memory and drawing skills, and that was the focus of the post. It's a rare chance to learn more about what he's thinking, something that can benefit any artist, regardless of what he or she paints.