Using clean lines, minimalist composition, and muted color palettes, South Korean graphic designer and illustrator Jo In Hyuk creates beautiful portrait illustrations of young men and women. Jo’s digital artwork has a unique style, featuring solid pastel colors, fine lines and textures, and abundant negative space. Despite the simplicity of the illustrations, however, the artist manages to evoke strong emotions in his delicate renderings of the subjects, whose half-lidded eyes and faraway stares are exquisite in their expressiveness.
Caught between childhood and adulthood, the enigmatic youths seem to be searching for something beyond the frame of each image. Many of them lay half-clothed, baring their flesh and their vulnerabilities to the viewer. Although the style of each illustration is dreamy and soft, the figures’ eyes are piercing, their gazes suggesting hidden secrets, hazy regrets, and longing for something or someone. Looking at these portraits, the viewer cannot help but be transported to thoughts of their own youth, a time marked by the same themes of sexuality, fragility, nostalgia, desire, and secrets that trace each delicate line of Jo’s illustrations.