New Children's Colouring and Activities Book

YAY!!! I am so excited showing you my new book that I illustrated last Fall for Running Press Book Publishing. The first copy just came in mail today! It is a colouring and activities book about "SPACE" for children age 7 to 10. There are 4 big posters to colour, plus games and puzzles etc.

It is my first time illustrating a book about spacecraft, astronauts and solar system. I meant in a fun way that appeals to kids. The most complicated and challenging images are two robots "Curiosity" and "Opportunity" which landed on Mars. Especially when drawing the space is about a place I have never been! :D Compare with my pervious book projects about all the cute babies and animals, this is a very different but interesting project.

I was always told that one of the most important skills of being an illustrator is problem solving. I totally agree with this. Every book project has different voices, for different readers and age groups. There is also about the business side that my art has to be sellable, to be appealing to buyers, readers and outstanding from bookshelf. I am not saying that this is all my job, it is certainly a team work between the artist, the writer and the publisher. As an illustrator I aware my art takes a big part of it, so I keep on learning each day to make nice art!

Thank you for my agent and her team connected me and Running Press Publishing. It is so nice working with their senior designer, with her help and art direction this project made so much fun!

"Space" will be coming in June 2016. You can find more detail info about the book here. I made a quick video for now, and I am looking forward to share more art from the inside pages in the near future. Stay tuned~ :)

Creative Process for Global Talent Search GTS 2014

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I have decided to take the challenge from the Global Talent Search coordinated by Lilla Rogers Studio this year. To be honest to say that I am not a big fan of competition, but I think GTS is a great opportunity to give a little push to myself in this summer. It is fun to see what I would come up with among hundreds of artists from around the globe. The theme of the assignment was "Little Terrarium". I know terrarium and succulent have became popular objects these days, so there are so many great arts have been already done by talented artists. I wondered what could I be able to create through my own interpretation? From a new perspective? With a different colour palette? Is it going to be serenity or dreamy? Quirky or traditional? Is there any surprises or messages I like to deliver to the audiences through my art? I had quite a few questions to figure out before picking up my pencil to do my sketches. Don't' get me wrong, I was not nervous or confused. I was just trying to set a direction for this specific piece of art. I do not have a high expectation to be the winner, but I expected to gain a new experience in creating. I want to see my growth. It is my calling to create professional art to deliver happiness to both adults and children. Hey, I am running a happiness business! Seriously! No kidding!

I like to share my creative process below, it also helps me to recap what I have learned:

1. After I read through the detail of the theme, I took couple photos from what inspired me at home, the most easiest and nearest resources that I can find immediately: My two terrariums, plus the colour palettes from my old wooden spools collections:

2. Sat down at my desk and did LOT of sketches! I drew whatever came across my mind, different shapes of terrariums I could think of, and how it coordinates with plants, birds and letterings.

3. Then I started my hand letters. I used black ink with brush and tried to write in different styles, kept on writing until I got one looks right. I like the clouds and rain from my sketches, so I drew a nice set as well. Then I scanned them to my computer, edited by Photoshop to prepare for future use.

4. Now the fun dirty time had began! I first played around with different colour combinations on watercolour papers, it helped me to get the actual look of the background colour for my final painting. Then I tried to transfer some sketches into colours. I started with small pieces, they are only 4"x6" paintings. I just made them quick and easy. I also pulled out few old paintings from a while ago, I picked some icons that I like to use for this assignment such as the bird, the pattern on the rocks and some geometric patterns on the leaves.

After I gathered all icons, I was ready to make a large collage painting! I use acrylic paints (including my favourite neon colours), acrylic markers, oil pastel, charcoal pencil, old magazine papers and paper tapes. I also made a few rubber stamps so I could create some repeated patterns for the background.

5. I created my final assignment by the combination of different techniques:  acrylic brush painting, paper cut out, stamp and digital. I found my bright colours are better well control when I finished my art in digital.

Finally I came out two collage paintings I like the most. My first attempt was in vivid red orange colour background with a single terrarium. The second attempt was in light yellow green with multiple terrariums.

When I have hard time to pick one, I will leave it for a day or two, and go back to look at them again with my fresh eyes. I also showed both to my good artist friend to get her opinion. We both agreed that we like the red background but we like the composition of the triple terrariums. She also suggested me the text changed to "Life is Awesome". I played around different text styles I did earlier and picked a more free style to go with the final art. So…. here is the one I submitted to GTS. YEAH~

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I enjoyed the creative process very much for two reasons. First, I found so much fun in making mixed media art, it gave a lot more possibilities than purely digital art. I will certainly take this approach more often from now on. Second, I have learned how to set a clear direction before I started creating. Although I explored many interesting ideas from photo captures to sketches to final art, but I did not get lost during the process, my direction always brought me back to the track. At the end, what surprise me was I did not stress out myself by doing this assignment at all, I completely dived into it. This art was so ME! :-)

There are total of 999 artists participated in this event. Although I may not be selected to get into the top 50 artists in 2nd round, but what I have learned will leave great impact on me. I am so looking forward to see other submissions from my fellow artists. It is like we are writing the same book in 999 different languages! Isn't it exciting?!!!

 

My favourite green...

 

Everyone has own favourite color. For artists, we may have a SET of our favourite colors for our designs. To me, green is always my color. Today I create a color set base on green, it is inspired by a photo shot by Jing Ling. Um... thinking to take this set for my next design, will be continued...

 

February Colors

First month of 2012 is gone fast! Today I am thinking what is the color combinations for the month of February? I came up this set, hope it will inspire you too see the world in a different way.
Photo: Jing Ling

fall colors

Believe me, I am totally a summer person. I am not too crazy about fall and winter. But today I'm working on an illustration for a fall issue magazine, it is nice to check out fall colors. It is not just for art only, it could be your clothing, foods and drinks, home decor, make up and so on... enjoy your fall season~



photo: http://pinterest.com/pin/178986005/

Hot Orang

By looking at those pics reminds me that I have a piece of hot orange summer top which is always my favorite one to wear. It is about time to dig it out~

Today color pick is HOT ORANGE, don't you feel the intense love?

Hot orange always goes well with navy blue (blue jean), dark charcoal grey and chocolate brown.

 

Lovely Pink Flowers...

There are few pink flower trees right outside my home, it is way too pretty in spring~ How did God create such a beautiful pink? not to dark and not too light, it is just right! Today is only 12c with heavy clouds, it's little depressing for mid May,  but the little pink flowers became a piece of uplifting music. I brought them even closer today, now a small bunch is sitting on my studio book shelve. : )


Hope will last for few more days... both the flowers and my spirit...

Mustard Yellow

Mustard Yellow is always the color I die for. It is nice to go with any earth tone colors, or turquoise blue, navy blue or olive green. Today I pick mustard yellow and grey brown, I don't wear in this combination very often but you can see these colors on my illustrations all the time.

Love it! : )

Today is peachy pink

Today I like to continue my color inspiration of peach and pink. Deep pink is always my favorite color, a tree is sitting right outside my studio window is blooming pink flowers now.

It is a beautiful day, it lifts up my spirit~