Sunday, February 03, 2008


Why are you interested in drawing?
Frankly, I am not sure whether I am 100% interested in drawing because when I have free time, I’d rather do something else. But I guess I am interested to draw when I want to express some feelings strongly (for personal projects).

What is your personal favourite drawing style and art tool?

So far, it’s Sophie Black in “See you in the dark” series for my first exhibition. Outlines drawn by hand and painted digitally. But I can’t stick to one style for long because I will find it boring after a while. However, I will continue developing Sophie Black, drawing her in different styles. My art tools are basically pencil, brush, layout paper, camera, scanner, and Photoshop and occasionally acrylic etc.

Show us the very oldest drawing in your collection and one good recent one.

For commissioned job, One of the oldest is a series of astrology girls done for HerWorld Magazine while I was still working full-time in advertising.

This is done for Motorola in 2007. It might not be what I wanted to achive personally, but it’s done up to the satisfaction of the agency and client.

For personal work, I did it to as a getaway from frustrating day job in late 90s.

I did this for my first exhibition, it was a hell rushing period, but I like the darkness in this series.

Which artists do you study and admire. And what can you learn from each?
I admire Yoshitomo Nara’s little girl’s evil eyes, Uesugi Tadahiro’s harmonious and elegant mood, Tim Burton’s dark world, David Downton’s detailed simplicity, WK Interact’s explosive B&W figures and many more.

What did you have to do to become a full-time illustrator?
It’s very simple. I guess for a start, build your portfolio first. Then let the market (agencies or design houses) know about your existence by blasting them your portfolio. It would be better to have an online portfolio, convenient for art directors or art buyers to know what you can do before they want to meet you up for briefing (they are busy people). You can be a freelancer in the beginning. Slowly, when there are more jobs coming in, you can then register your own company for long run (if you want to). You can register online at The registration fee is affordable.

On the other hand, as a commercial illustrator, I think passion alone is not enough, we should also be prepared with the following:
  • Good and versatile drawing skills.
  • Fashion sense, art sense, design sense.
  • Awareness of new trends.
  • Understand concept given in the brief so that we know why we are drawing this.
  • Don’t just follow visual blindly. Be initiative to improve from visual given.
  • Answer the brief and understand why client give such comment, so that we can make a revision that works.
  • Sometimes we have to put aside so called “artist pride” because we are paid to solve the problem with commercial purpose. Artist pride is for our personal project.
  • Beware of deadline and give prompt reply to clients.
  • Be prepared to burn ourselves for long hours and even weekends.
  • Patience
What were your early projects like compared to what you do now?
My early projects were mostly done for fashion magazines which were much more simpler. Now mostly for advertising agencies, some were complicated.

“Show and tell” your studio.

My “studio” is my home, it consists of a cheap and very worn out desk which paint is peeling… a working light (for tracing purpose), a lamp (for more relax and softer mood when necessary), a scanner, a mini Japanese tea table (not for tea cups but piles of sketches and data CDs), 2 plastic drawers (for stationery and document files). That’s all. On the busiest craziest days, I will sit in front of my desk more than 14 hours including meal time. Which make my bottom collects fat!! *sigh*


mindflyer 小飞人 said...

Wah !!! Very good advice given on how to start up!!

Well done & thanks for sharing :)

drewscape said...

i think your japanese tea table is useful. i know that wild pile that just collects. Your personal work's colours looks more somber and mature. It's nice coz i think it's more focused. thanks for sharing!

Mr.B said...

Thks for sharing! Its really inspiring especially for artist wanting to strike out on their own!

F L E E said...

I absolutely agree that you must have multi aesthetics eye training/knowledge, knowing how to appreciate beauty in design, furniture, films will in time improve skills/taste in illustration. It was good to read your interview because it offered lots of useful info and tips of budding illustrator.
Having collaborated with you was a really rewarding experience and your attention to details is something i always look forward in your work. Your hardworking ethics is what establish you as one of the successful illustrator in this country.
Hope to see more of your exhibitions in the future.

adeline said...

awesome sauce interview

brick said...

u r really really good! respect! respect!

zeropointfive said...

your bottom very fat meh? any skinnier you will be super model liao!

but u super illustrator la! love your attitude to work! really shows your practical and simple perspective to life :D


sokkuan said...

Glad that it inspires somebody. ('u')
And big thanks to your kind comments and support! Anyway, I am still learning too!

ken lee said...

so inspiring....! thanks!