The Legendary Kim Jung Gi

I was originally going to write this post because of my agenda against AI Generated Art. That didn’t seem right. The reason they’re linked is because some ass-clown decided to input the work of the late, great Kim Jung Gi into an AI program and reproduce it for free (and wanted CREDIT FOR IT).

But instead I wanna write about the man himself, because he was one of those artists who felt like a magician. When you watch him draw it felt like watching a true living, breathing master. There are a lot of contemporary artists who I admire and think are out of this world, but if one person were to sit atop of everyone, it would be Kim Jung Gi.

I never had the fortune or privilege to meet the man, but if you read the eulogies of those who knew him, they never had a bad thing to say about him. He came across as fun, joyous and honest. He knew what he liked and he expressed that in his drawings.

One of the things he liked drawing was women because, to paraphrase him “I like women”. They weren’t gratuitous or gross, but some you could define as pornographic, I suppose. This really clicked with me because not only do I like women too, but I prefer to draw women more than men. I think it’s pretty common and I can’t speak for everyone but, for me at least, women tend to have more interesting silhouettes. Once you get over giggling at boobies, you really tend to appreciate the shapes that women can produce. This isn’t anti-man by any stretch, because I also enjoy drawing men too but if I could pick one it would be women. In a weird way, Kim Jung Gi helped me legitimise that thought process. He enjoys drawing women so he drew them. And that's one of the things I admire most about him, beyond his skill. He openly and unapologetically drew what he enjoyed drawing. Good on you, Kim Jung Gi.

Master of Ink

Kim Jung Gi worked with a lot of brands but that’s less interesting to me. What’s more interesting is his technique. He rarely, if ever, used pencil. He would look at a blank piece of paper and would go straight in with ink, often improvising as he went. He was like a jazz musician, but the jazz was nice to listen to (sick burn). One of the most impressive things he was able to master was perspective. Not only could he draw with ZERO sketch lines, but he could draw in fish bowl perspectives from his imagination. Yeah, from his imagination. The guy drew so much that he rarely required reference for anything.

If you’re an artist, you know how ridiculous that is. But if you’re not, try and draw something relatively simple from your imagination and hit every detail accurately. His talent was immense.

I came across Kim Jung Gi through the works of Karl Kopinski, who worked very closely with him, as well as Stan Prokopenko. These are two other artists I have admired for years and whenever they speak of Kim Jung Gi, they speak with reverence for the man. He had no peers.

If you’ve never heard of Kim Jung Gi before then let his death be your introduction to his incredible work. Look at his work and then look at him work. There’s nothing closer to a guarantee that you’ll be enthralled by what he can do with a single pen and a blank canvas.

Rest in peace, Kim Jung Gi. 47 is no damn age at all.

Also, I said I wouldn’t bring AI generated art into this but I feel I have to at this point because of the disgusting nature of what I described in the first paragraph of this post. If you ever see any AI program develop the distinct style of Kim Jung Gi, denounce it immediately. It’s horrific.

Like Kim Jung Gi did, have fun drawing.