Young Guns 18: Jaedoo Lee

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 18, 2020

Highlighting the creative superstars that make up the class of Young Guns 18

2020 has been one rollercoaster of a year, but fortunately, the spirit of creativity can't be dampened. Want proof? Check out the winners of Young Guns 18!

Beginning with our largest and most diverse jury in history, acclaimed creatives from across the globe spent three months reviewing hundreds of submissions from insanely talented young professionals seeking validation for all of their hard work. After narrowing down the field to 83 top-notch finalists, the jury engaged in virtual discussion and debate, deciding who will win one of the most career-impacting honors in our industry.

In the end, we are honored to present the 31 incredible winners of Young Guns 18, a diverse collection of artists, filmmakers, animators, designers, illustrators, and others, all of them representing some of the very best that their fields have to offer.

We invite you to learn about all 31 Young Guns 18 winners in this series of interviews.







When did Young Guns first pop up on your radar?

I think I first heard about Young Guns while in school. It was always fun to go through the list of winners each year.

Congrats on winning Young Guns on your second try around! What did you do this time that was different than last year?

I didn’t think I had much of a chance of winning, but I turned 30 this year and I figured I’d give it one last shot. Since the last time I entered, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with more clients to put together a portfolio with more commercial work. Naturally, I wanted to showcase this while maintaining a cohesive look among all six entries.

Young Guns is as much an exercise in self-curation as it is in sheer creative talent. After all, you are only allowed to submit six projects. How did you go about deciding which pieces to submit and which to leave out?

Coming from working at a motion design studio, I didn’t really have commercial illustration work in my portfolio. My entry last year was mainly personal work, so I chose to prioritize client work this year. I think my curation focused on showing my particular style applied to both my personal and commercial work.

What went through your mind when you discovered that you won, knowing how difficult it is to make it into Young Guns?

I didn’t know if I was reading correctly. I had to reread the email several times to make sure I had read correctly. A silent fist pump ensued.

If you had to pick one of the six projects that you entered as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

I would choose the drawing of the juice box because it best illustrates the loopy incorrect physics of my illustrations.

If you had to describe your creative style, the part of your work that’s most distinctively “you”, what would it be?

I think the part of my work that’s distinctively me might be the linework I use and the bold colors and shapes. Looking back at my earlier work, I think the more basic shapes I had been drawing have now just become a bit more complex.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career, people who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?

I’d say my biggest influences and support come from my family and friends. They are part of the process of molding how I think and produce work. Style-wise, I am am heavily influenced by Akira Toriyama, Moebius, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Hayao Miyazaki.

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

Alex Grigg (YG11), Daniel Oeffinger (YG11), Kelsey Dake (YG12), and Nicolas Menard (YG12).

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a pretty crazy year, with a global pandemic and social upheaval shaping so many facets of our lives. Aside from the positive news of winning Young Guns, how has this year been for you?

I think I’ve been learning to manage my time better this year. Other than that, I’ve just spent 2020 trying to stay healthy.

Name a creative/professional dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction!

Maybe a sculptor!

Any last words about winning Young Guns 18 that you'd like to share?

Thank you so much! I don’t have any words of wisdom other than keep on keeping on!


"Jaedoo Lee's work is giving us a whole new perspective on things. He is not afraid to explore the world. The way he transforms simple shapes speaks volumes. His use of bold elements, bright colors, and clean lines rendered in a different perspective is powerful in the sense that it makes you think and rethink."

June Digan
Designer and Illustrator

"Jaedoo's artwork is fun and colorful. The management of synthesizing ideas to communicate is expertly achieved."

Katalina Silva
Creative Director & Co-Founder
Enigma Creative

"Jaedoo Lee's work is dynamic in every way, still images somehow move and sparkle, and flat color has never had so much dimension. There's a great sense of story and mood to the work. I especially appreciate the tension between delicate linework and playful compositions."

Shyama Golden



Make sure to check out all the Young Guns 18 Winners in the archive!

Young Guns 18 Archive



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