We had the good fortune of connecting with Cloris Chou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cloris, what are you inspired by?
As a pet portrait artist, I’m most inspired by my two fur babies, Kai (the Husky) and Bella (the black-and-white cat). I include them in a lot of my work, from branding to products to photos. They make me smile every day and I’m grateful for their companionship. I know other pet parents feel similarly—I’m honored I can help them celebrate their pets in a unique way!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a freelance illustrator and pet portrait artist who loves creating work that makes people smile! I also run a small shop where I sell custom pet products. I’ve always loved animals and drawing, and I love that a two of my passions became my career! However, it did take a lot of exploration before I figured out what I really wanted to do. After graduating from college, I worked multiple part-time jobs while diving into different hobbies until I realized I wanted to pursue a creative path. I started with web development, which led to web design, then graphic design, and finally, illustration. But even after I started illustrating, I had to develop my technique and style and discover my favorite subjects. When I started drawing animals in a cute, cartoon style, something clicked—I was having fun, receiving positive feedback, and making money from it! I’m a firm believer in putting out the type of work you want to be hired for. When you’re passionate about what you’re creating, others can sense the care you put into it. It’s also easier to overcome obstacles, like burnout, art block, and the unpredictability of a freelance career, when you truly love what you’re doing. If you told my childhood self that I’d be drawing for a living, my mind would be blown. I spent most of my free time doodling, writing stories, and making crafts. I never imagined I would still be doing the same things as an adult!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If you love Asian food, you have to check out the 626 (aka San Gabriel Valley). It’s just outside Los Angeles, but you’ll be surrounded by the most authentic food you’ll find in California. As a bonus, the entire area has beautiful mountain views! I highly recommend taking a waterfall hike in the Angeles National Forest and rewarding yourself with a good meal afterwards. For museum lovers, I personally love the La Brea Tar Pits museum. I always feel like I’m traveling back in time when I visit. I can’t believe they’re constantly unearthing prehistoric fossils in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world! It’s also easy to pair it with LACMA, located right next door, for an artistic and cultural experience. Finally, Descanso Gardens north of LA is one of the best local places to relax. Each themed garden is such a treat and you can easily spend an entire day wandering around, but it’s not so large that it’s overwhelming. The colors of the flowers, the beautiful pathways, and hidden groves makes it a great place to seek inspiration.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout my husband, Young Lee, for always encouraging me to pursue my passions. His constant support throughout my art journey, from the day I bought my first drawing tablet, to the time I got my first client, and even on days when I’m burnt out and working late into the night to meet deadlines, has been invaluable.
Photo of me on the grass, holding my cat, and hands on my table were taken by Young Lee.