Need a creativity boost? Have a kid.
While most artists fear that children will inhibit their creativity and stunt their ability to create, for Jonathan Jui it was the opposite. Having a child was what he needed to become an artist.
Filled with the excitement of new fatherhood and a desire to document the journey, he picked up a brand new passion project - drawing funny cartoons of his son and documenting his childhood journeys.
The result? An Instagram following of over 34k active parents and parents-to-be, who are enjoying following the journey of his son (who he refers to as "Bao Bao") as much as he enjoys documenting it.
I've been following Jonathan on Instagram since our first pregnancy (following his journey through comics makes me even more excited to start our own) and decided to reach out and ask a few questions - particularly about how fatherhood impacts artistry.
"In a way he inspired my ability to make art as much as he inspired my art." - Jonathan Jui, Cartoonist
Your cartoons are entirely inspired by your son and his adventures, how much has he inspired your art?
Jonathan: I only started cartooning/drawing when my son was born. Not the best time to pick up a new hobby, but I can't think of a better motivation than documenting the precious and oft-forgotten memories not captured on camera. So in a way he inspired my ability to make art as much as he inspired my art.
How much is your son aware of the cartoon version of himself? As he grows older do you see yourself documenting his journey into school and even beyond?
Jonathan: I show him pictures I draw of him, but he actually hasn't taken much interest in it to date. He's more into watching actual videos of himself. I would love to keep up with these cartoons, but I'm also really sensitive to his digital footprint that I'm creating sort of without his permission. I would definitely stop making the journey public the moment he isn't comfortable with it. Sometimes I wonder whether I should be stopping it earlier, but it has also been such a wonderful revelation meeting and relating to other parents who have followed our journey so far.
You consistently put out great original content on Instagram, with a toddler at home, how difficult is it to have a routine? When do you usually create your content?
Jonathan: I normally have 2-3 hours of free time between him going to bed and when I go to bed. A lot of it comes down to my own priorities. Exercising, for example, is a casualty of my cartooning. But as I've gotten better with drawing, I get faster at it. It definitely was a struggle in the beginning!
This is a selfish question (for my own research so I don't screw this up as an expecting dad): what's the worst piece of fatherhood advice you've ever received?
Jonathan: I've never thought about this in the negative form. I never liked the whole "Just wait until they're X years old...it gets worse." It somehow hits the holy trinity of being completely unhelpful, annoying, and belittling of your actual situation all at the same time.
Follow Jonathan and Bao Bao's journey on his Instagram: @jonajooey