COFFEE WITH: Grace Choi from A Little Bite By Grace

Coffee with Grace Choi

Grace is a Sydney-based Illustrator, specialising in illustrations that capture beauty, love, smiles and imaginations.

Grace started to share her illustrations on Instagram since August 2016, almost instantly the popularity of her feed took off, as people were drawn to discover the hidden details through precious lines that were beyond words. This has since led to a series of unique commissions from QVB, Wollongong Central, Peony Parcel, The Little Bairn, Life of Luxe, Garnish with 24K, White Clover Music and collaborations with The Style Doctor, Snaps by Tiffany, Merlinblu, Splash of Life Co and so on.

Illustrating everything from love inspired portraits to designer boutique storefronts, Grace describes her illustration style as simple, delicate and full of love. When not tapping away on her laptop, you can most likely find Grace spending her time with her son Aiden or doodling with pen on one hand and coffee in the other. We’re so excited that Grace has offered to share her story with the tribe. We’ve asked her our burning question regarding balancing mum life, work life and her love of illustration.

Thanks for letting us interview you! We have been following you on Instagram for months and are always seeing you out and about with your adorable son – how do you manage to balance mum life and work life?  

Thank you! I’ve always been a big fan of Mama Tribe so I feel super lucky to be interviewed!

I totally love embracing mum and son time and this only comes once right?! I started illustrating few months after my son was born so I think I have learnt to balance work and mum life along the way. I never stopped working 10-6 after uni, so I know how lucky I am to be able to look after my son full time. I give my full attention to Aiden during the day and this side hustle of mine kicks in during nap times and late nights. When I first started, I illustrated until 2-3am for about a year while taking naps with him, now Aiden is 2.5 years old and refuses to nap so I tend to work just until midnight after putting him to sleep. And because of this, I only take work that I can really commit to, I’ve had to say no to some amazing opportunities at times because nothing was more important than spending time with Aiden. At the same time I really love illustrating, I don’t see this as work (except all the technical side of things, they totally feel like work). I think once you prioritise what is most important, everything falls nicely together. For me family always comes first and my hustle comes next. I have a very supportive husband which makes my hustling so much easier.

Grace and Aiden

Grace and Aiden

For a lot of mums, the transition into becoming a mum can bring a lot of unknown challenges and situations. What has surprised you most about being a mum?

My mother had my youngest brother when I was 18 and because I had spent so much time with him, I knew children weren’t easy. I had no unrealistic expectations of kids and knew a lot sacrifices had to be made when raising a child so parenting didn’t come to me as a surprise. What surprised me the most was how Aiden brought so much more love and joy than what I imagined.

How did you get started in illustration?

I’ve always loved doodling since young age and was always passionate about art. I took printmaking and painting in highschool and studied Visual art (Life drawing really helped me to build a solid foundation) in AUT. Then I worked, got married, traveled and had my lil one. When I became a fulltime mother, I felt something was missing. All my close friends were still single with no kids, working, talking the latest gossip/trends and none of these interested me anymore. It was then when I realised I had no hobby and decided to revisit my old passion. I picked up a pen and went from there.

Starting him young

Starting him young

Where do you find your inspiration?

I’ve always loved fashion but after becoming a mother, I became fascinated in how much love a child could bring to the family. I love exploring relationships, beautiful moments of love and from this I create bespoke illustrations.

I am often very challenged and inspired by how Aiden finds beauty in the smallest things and this gives me so much inspiration too.

You started your Instagram account @alittlebitebygrace in 2016 and it seems like it just hasn’t stopped! Tell us what opportunities Instagram has brought you and your business and how have you gone about building your profile?

Yes!! I love Instagram and how it is all about capturing that instant moment. I started Instagram to build my visual portfolio, and met friends, connections, commissions and so much more along the way. Anyone can jump on Instagram and build their own lil world which I think is amazing! I actually wrote a wee post about my insta journey a while ago right here.

Grace and Aiden

Cuties

 

One of the things I really miss from mum life is being creative and having a creative outlet. We saw you now offer workshops, do you need to know how to draw to go along?

As mums we get so caught up with parenting and life we forget how to treat ourselves once in a while.  Illustration may sound like something you would never dare to try and so many people ask if it’s ok if they can’t draw at all. And yes, that’s totally fine! Why would you learn if you naturally gifted anyway?

There’s nothing worse than spending money on a workshop that leaves you with nothing. I spend a great amount of time planning and sourcing the very best to give all my attendees a fun, informative, visually satisfying experience. You are provided with everything- materials, goodie bags to take home, time to network / build new creative friends and 1:1 time with me in between classes. I also collaborate with other amazing creative talents- photographers, cakers, florists, stylists etc so there’s something to look forward to every workshop!

We go through all the basic skills together where you learn the tips and tricks to finding your own illustration style. It’s not about drawing like a pro, it’s about learning all the tips and tricks so you can discover your own style. You will be able to practice more at home on your own and apply these illustration techniques everywhere- decoration, events, business etc

What’s the latest book you read that you would recommend to a friend?

I love visual books (wee bit obsessed with collecting magazines actually) and recently I’ve fallen in love with ‘101 moments of joy and inspiration’ by Meredith Gaston. It’s a book filled with pretty illustrations and beautiful quotes so I highly recommend this book to everyone. I also love ‘Naked Cakes’ by Lyndel Miller. It’s a baking book but packed with so much creative and visual inspiration!

Do you have any daily mantras, rituals or quotes that you use or would recommend?

“Live every moment, laugh every day and love beyond words.”

 

Want to grab another virtual coffee with Grace?

You can check out her website, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook!

Exclusive Mama Tribe Discount + Giveaway!

DISCOUNT – Grace has extended a 10% discount to her workshops across Melbourne, Sydney and soon in Brisbane. You can grab the info on her workshops here.

She’s also offering a 20% discount on all custom / art prints – check out her Etsy store for more details.

Use the code MAMATRIBE for both offers (valid til 01. November 2017)

GIVEAWAY – Sydney Mamas! Grace has given us one ticket to attend her Sydney workshop on the 16th September valued at $179.50. You can enter the giveaway via our Facebook page and read more about Grace’s workshop on her website and get the event details and tickets here.

 

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