INTERVIEW BY LYTEARTS
Do you have a very specific way of working? Or are there major differences in how you approach your projects?
Projects usually get done in the same manner, there's a comfort for everyone in having a nailed down system for working. Most projects start with the concept, whether editorial, advertising or any other miscellaneous project, there's always an objective and a message to communicate, this is where I start, nailing down the concept. Next I rub my magic idol, which is a battle damage He-Man action figure and then I pull out a slap of paper from my printer tray, grab a mechanical pencil and I start doodling out some idea thumbnails, the more the better, just to get everything that comes to me out of my head. Next I pick the good ideas and do clearer thumbnails to send to the client for conversation. Once a concept is agreed upon, I work up a refined linear sketch on paper and the client has a chance to sign off on this before I scan the linear in and start working on the final colour version on the computer.
Some illustrators enjoy the whole creation process of a piece, while others find joy only in the completed piece. The rest enjoy both the process and the finished product. How about you?
My favourite part of a project is the last 3 hours before the final is completed, the final tweaks stage. I enjoy this the most because the tough part of coming up with the concept is achieved and the work in rendering the image is almost complete (and deadlines are on track), so I can take comfort in knowing that it's looking exactly like I want it to. Now I can look forward to putting the final polish on it, realizing that what once started, and only existed, in my head, is about to become a reality. That excites me.
When you begin an art piece, do you know where you're going to be at the end, or does that develop as you move along?
I alluded to some of this in the previous answer; I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to making sure my final image looks like how I have it envisioned in my head. There are always a few random unknown surprises, but generally on the bulk, everything is planned from the start and I have a very clear sense of how I want it to look in the end.
Hand drawing then transferring to digital is a common practice to many illustrators. Of these two processes which do you prefer? and why?
I don't really have a preference, I like using my hands still and I love using the computer. Hand drawing something first allows for quicker changes and a more efficient way to flush out all the compositional details, that and I like using my eraser, I look forward to when I've rubbed it down to a slither and I need to buy a new one, just to eventually rub it out of existence as well, like it's former cousin. On the computer, I use a tablet, so the leap from paper to computer isn't too extreme of a difference. Here I amuse myself by seeing how long I can go before I hit the undo command.
Having a voice or unique style is usually something that satisfies one's conception of being an illustrator. Do you feel that it is important for one to have a distinguishable style or; for a lack of better words, "fit in"?
A unique personal style is something that most artist initially strive for, but I caution it as the only objective, because it's one thing to push a style to "fit in" with the cool crowd and another to find a style that you enjoy, and are comfortable working in, and that is also 'hire-able'. So there's a line to walk between a unique style and the practicality of that style in the sense of how versatile it is and how it can be applied.
We at LyteArts have felt that illustration in Toronto is not fully represented to its full potential out of the city. As an Illustrator living in our great city, what is your take on this?
I don't feel that illustration can be localized; it's a profession that doesn't distinguish itself by where the illustrator lives. I could be living in Peru or Greece right now, and I don't think it would matter. Community wise, illustration can be an isolating career, so in that regard, it is always welcome if your local city has a scene that you can socialize in and share with your peers. In this way, Toronto is definitely lacking, but I think it's the same case for every city that illustrators live.
The few years that you have been a full fledged illustrator after graduating, do you feel that you have accomplished a lot?
Prior to graduating, I already had a degree in another field and had been working in design and marketing consulting, so after graduating from illustration, I knew what I wanted to get accomplished and set milestones for when to achieve them. Now I doodle, draw and come up with ideas for a full time gig, I can't complain.
Well Huan, it has truly been a pleasure to have you here. Anything else you would like to add about yourself that would be really interesting for us to know? Upcoming exhibitions?
I recommend wearing funny socks, if you can't laugh at your socks; you're taking everything too seriously.