I grew up with strong interest in creating things. In my teenage years I spent most of my time drawing, designing brochures, t-shirts, funfair tickets, banners and websites for school, making animations in powerpoint (using every existing transition), and obsessing over animated gifs and digital painting. I knew early on that I wanted to be an artist, but didn't realise at the time that what I loved doing also involved design, which is an entirely different field. When it came to tertiary education, I was torn between visual communication design and interactive media design; but having considered the prospects, I eventually decided on the latter.
As with many people, I first began with crude attempts at drawing directly from references, which taught me about forms, anatomy and lighting. Over the span of a few years I had learned to paint realistically and found creative ways to compose my images. Rene Magritte and MC Escher were among my first artistic influences, so the ideas of surrealism and illusion have always stuck.
By the time I had the chance to integrate illustrations into my digital designs at my first job, at local design agency Kinetic, my style has evolved into a mashup of psychedelic colours, as seen in the project Maki-San. I also love discovering hidden details and finding humour in an image, so I guess it reflects a lot in my work.
I think illustrators can further develop their own style by broadening their minds and moving away from their current inspirations to study other types of work that they don't normally look at, be it by traditional or contemporary artists. Also, experimenting with colours, composition, scale and perspective is another way their style can evolve.
I love working with clients who respect the work we do. They are the ones who are most likely to be open to suggestions, are not hell-bent on approaching things only in one particular way and trust that I produce illustrations that meet the brief and work for their brand. After all, besides my skills, they are also paying for my creative input and years of experience.
My schedule varies from project to project and can be very irregular, but I frequently start work in the afternoon. Half the time I would be clearing emails, making artwork revisions and updating existing clients as well as working out quotations to send to potential ones. I would occasionally check on my work-related finances, manage invoices and log payments and bills on spreadsheets.
As for the illustrations, once I'm done with the tedious admin tasks, I like to have an uninterrupted stretch to work on them, usually through the night. The process can take days or weeks, and it involves putting together moodboards and references, brainstorming, sketching layout thumbnails, filling in colours and trying out a bunch of colour schemes to find the right one. When I'm happy with the colours, I proceed to add details and textures, but of course with the client's approval during the various stages.
Professionally I would like to work on more global projects and self-initiated illustration series, reinvent my illustration style and experiment with more mediums. Personally I aim to check off items on my bucket list and go backpacking more often. Parts of my professional and personal life tend to overlap, so I guess for both aspects working and living in new cities will be a welcome change too.