Illustrator Janice Chang uses humour and bendy limbs to tell personal stories

Illustrator Janice Chang is a master of using composition to tell a story. Born and raised in LA, her work sees bodies and limbs intertwined with each other, honing in on gestural details which express so much with so little. Taking inspiration from the people around her – friends, family and “random strangers I see dancing in their cars” – Janice uses illustration to “[reveal] things that may be foreign to others and [allow] them to empathise with different types of people.”

Having studied just one city over from where she grew up at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, living and growing up in this area has had a big impact on Janice’s output. “I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by so many different cultures and people,” she explains. “I feel like my work takes on an honest representation of the sometimes humorous and bendy limbs of my characters, to talk about social issues, technology, feminism, the importance of diversity, and personal stories.”

Her illustrations, whether personal or for clients like The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and Dropbox resonate as they draw on real-life moments, triggering recognition in body language or facial expressions. They do this despite their playful, larger-than-life aesthetic thanks to Janice’s astute observations of the real world. “I carry around this little notebook and whenever I see something or a random thought pops up that could be interesting to explore, I’ll write it down,” she tells us. “I also have what feels like a million notes on my phone with different scenes or ideas.”

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