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Junissa Bianda

Junissa Bianda

Meet author and picture book illustrator from Jakarta, Junissa Bianda

GirlsclubAsia-Illustrator-Junissa Bianda-profile

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m a happily married girl with 5 cats in the house. Also, I’m an author and a picture book illustrator that specialises in children. It has been 4 years since I’ve worked in this industry and right now I’m grateful to have an illustration representative agent that is based in New York, United Kingdom and Singapore. This year finally I have the courage to publish my own illustrated and written book that is titled Kareem and Khaleel in my home country. So at the moment, I’m trying to gracefully juggle between commissions from the agency and the newly released book.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Right now during the pandemic, not a lot of people are hanging out in Jakarta. Jakarta is supposed to be high in traffic and full of people in malls (we’re well known for huge malls everywhere), cafes, rich in community events, live music, etc. All parts of the city in Jakarta have their own perks. It used to be a very lively city, but sadly now every place has a curfew. So what I see now, most people switched gears and became productive in the morning, such as lots of cyclists are popping up, more people running, outdoor training, etc.

 

What I see now, most people switched gears and became productive in the morning, such as lots of cyclists are popping up, more people running, outdoor training, etc.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing would be this delivery service called the “Gojek app” that we can order food from various restaurants, order groceries to be delivered, sending goods to their people, etc. So it minimizes us having to go out during the pandemic and staying safe.

Also, I think the people in Jakarta are so innovative and diverse. There are always new places, cafes, malls, bars and whatnot that are popping up even though it’s during the pandemic. I guess the people in Jakarta’s hope, passion and positive attitude are pretty strong.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Fast, diverse, growing

 

How did you start your career in art?

Academy of Art University in San Francisco, majoring in illustration for children’s books. I was lucky that an illustration agency scouted me and asked if they can be a representative of my illustrations. At that time I haven’t graduated yet, but at the same time, I didn’t want to miss this golden opportunity. As a result, I said yes and it had become the busiest and hardest year for me because I juggled agency works and the finals at the same time. Though I’m grateful that it all worked out well, and now ongoing my 4th year with the agency.

 

Overall I’m grateful that the closest people around are on board with my passion.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes, they are, especially my parents. Growing up, I wasn’t that special compared to the other kids in the class. Just an average girl that blends in with all her classmates. My grades were all average, though I believe the first compliment I got was from an art teacher. That was when it sparked me to draw more and asked my parents to enroll me in many art lessons. My Mom and Dad enrolled me in painting lessons, manga comic lessons, and also 3D Maya. Also, they encouraged me to take art lessons as an extracurricular in school.

My husband also is very supportive of my passion. He is now helping me in my book sales and always gave me advice to not give up. Overall I’m grateful that the closest people around are on board with my passion.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I think I have two goals that I really hope I can achieve, but both are insanely hard to do. One of them is to be successful as a children’s book illustrator, which means to be hired by my wish list of publishers. The other one would be my written and illustrated book “Kareem and Khaleel” to be developed into different medias such as a short animation, movie, educational games, merchandise, video games, etc. Because recently I’m interested in studying the business of intellectual property.

 

I think I have two goals that I really hope I can achieve, but both are insanely hard to do. One of them is to be successful as a children’s book illustrator, which means to be hired by my wish list of publishers.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Of course Steve Irwin! Sadly he had passed away 🙁

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in working as a creative?

Of course, time management, developing my style while adjusting with my current one, finding the right investor or partner, and trying to always be motivated in difficult times.

 

They are loving but also tough, humble, and passionate

 

How would you describe the women around you?

They are loving but also tough, humble, and passionate

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

From locally I wasn’t really aware of them when I was young, but I think back then I looked up to a singer named Sherina, because “Petualangan Sherina” was one of my favourite movies. She’s a brilliant singer and actress.

 

Just do what you’re passionate about no matter what it is, and do it a lot! That way I believe you’ll find your own style and voice. Don’t be hard on yourself and doubt yourself too much. Just be yourself and have a blast!

 

Do you have any advice for other women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Just do what you’re passionate about no matter what it is, and do it a lot! That way I believe you’ll find your own style and voice. Don’t be hard on yourself and doubt yourself too much. Just be yourself and have a blast!

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

For work, I like Studio Ghibli piano music.

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

Plataran Darmawangsa, they have a great variety of Indonesian food there.

 

Chi Ngo asks: Where do you usually go to clear your head?

To my plant corner of the house.

 

Vishakha Darbha asks: What is your biggest motivating factor?

When I see my work and criticise them. Yes, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself but I can’t help it 🙁

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

What do you do when you are stuck?

 

 

Photos courtesy of Junissa Bianda

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