2016 Outstanding Illustration Artists in Asia

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At this rate I could spam my website with all that’s happened in the Asia Art and Design exhibition but I’ve probably done enough of that across my social media channels. The Asia Art and Design platform hosted their exhibition this year along with a publication showcasing 40 selected artists from the Asia Pacific region. Last September I was announced to be in the lineup to represent Australia and was also proud to hear that some of my artist friends were on board as well, Croter Hung from Taipei, Miloza Ma from Hong Kong and Evan Raditya Pratomo from Indonesia.

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Held in the  Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, the AAD exhibition promotes a diverse body of artists, each having their own unique style made with different materials. Each piece had their own lightbox.

I wasn’t able to attend the exhibition but I did manage to get my hands on a copy of the official AAD book (thanks for mailing a huge book!). The beautiful cover art is taken from Evan’s illustration “Filled Her Lungs”. The design makes the book feel special from the moment you hold it. The idea of using a transparent cover to create the illusion of depth is an instant eye-catcher and Evan’s graphic amplifies that effect.

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In one of my recent posts I mentioned SAKIROO being the guest speaker of the event. His work has received international recognition and his A-list clientele is living proof of how memorable his work is. A South Korean-born character designer and illustrator, he took to the stage to share his inspiration and his vibrant portfolio with the much-captivated audience. It is bold artists like SAKIROO who are the fabric of this modern creative era.

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It’s worth taking a careful look at his work. www.sakiroo.com is the cure to your creative block if you ever come across one.

June update

Sometimes it’s easier to sum everything up in one big post…then create smaller ones based on the big post down the track. Warning: It’s a long post.

To sum things up I’ve put together a list:

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1. Last September it was announced my artworks are going to be part of a publication of inspiring artists in Asia plus a potential exhibition was going to be held based on it. The exhibition officially happened last week with guest speaker and artist SAKIROO hosting the opening in Taiwan. There were many attendees (sad I couldn’t make it) but it was a delight to be updated with emails of photos and videos showcasing the event. I’ll make a post about this as soon as I can!

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In the mean time please check out SAKIROO’s works. He  lives in Seoul, has exhibited  in 10 countries and has his own Wikipedia page (yep, you can’t get more legit than that). Finally, he  is a true inspiration who’s made a successful living out of his love for art and design.

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2. Lately Roth Management and I have been working on launching online campaigns for Malala Coffee. It’s still in its early stages but you can check out our kickstarter campaign here.  To get a clearer vision of what the coffee’s about and how we got on board, I also made a post about the brand months ago.  Malala Coffee was in concept development last year and only this year has the brand been refined. Again, I will make a post about this in the coming weeks.

Photo-17-05-2016,-11-46-58-PM3.  I’ve temporarily moved into the city for work purposes! The city isn’t a foreign place to me. I enjoy the city buzz and the imperfections that come with it ie: distant sound of police sirens, loud people yapping their night away. Something about these background noises bring a vivid memory of Manhattan – my favorite place  on earth outside of home.

Photo-30-05-2016,-2-12-18-PM Photo-20-05-2016,-5-53-09-PMI’ve found some awesome food places around the city, even a quick take out from the food mall downstairs is so tasty. One of them is  Donburi & BBQ – they do the best spicy pork dish and they have great lunch specials with a mini buffet. I live upstairs so going downstairs for food proves to be the biggest convenience. There’s also a sushi burger joint next door which chris surprised me with dinner one day. Tastiest bento box I’ve had!

Photo-1-06-2016,-6-20-03-PMThere are also some places I’d like to throw under the spotlight. Here we go… (excuse the mess)Photo-24-05-2016,-6-32-06-PMSliced beef, pad thai, calamari and thai iced tea at Fomo Thai
Photo-31-05-2016,-6-51-54-PMCold noodles, takoyaki, Sapporo beer and Ox tongue at Shimbashi Soba and Sake bar

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Mini tofu, barley water and the sweet pork buns at the the crowded Tim Ho Wan

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Spicy raviolli at Vapiano

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Combination laksa and fried rice at Laksa King
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One thing I get excited about is the idea of a small gym and a rooftop tennis court in the apartment complex. The only person in the building who uses the tennis court is me and my roommate. Together, we have 9 years of combined tennis experience so thankfully we’re not that bad on the court – at least the ball doesn’t go over the fence and land on someone’s head downstairs!

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It’s a nice experience being in exposed to a different environment in contrast to the suburbs and living with a bubbly roommate is an added bonus to this city lifestyle.

4. I got invited back to see the 2016 Top Arts Exhibition  so I’ll be sure to catch that before it all ends. It was also a slight reminder for me to  return to my artworks and work on more creative goodies for this second half of the year. I haven’t drawn since the end of February and it already feels weird to delay my drawings for this long!

What got me into Design?

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It started in my 2010 Tokyo trip. I’ll delve into that 3/4 into this blog but right now I wanna share a timeline with  key checkpoints that had a significant part in the development of my design passion.

I drew a lot as a child. I always drew faces and people doing ordinary things such as shopping, eating or playing sport. I liked creating scenes for these people.

I started drawing people with Faber Castell connector pens (it was an obligatory purchase back in the day. Every kid had a collection in their pencil case) and ball point pens.  My Dad was a printer and every week he’d bring home stacks of blank A4s, fresh for me to draw on. One week he came home with our first new computer and he said he got it for work purposes. This happened when  I was about 8-years-old. I wasn’t allowed to go on it but being a curious person didn’t stop me from learning how to use it. It wasn’t too long till I somehow found MS paint. I remember selecting the pencil tool and creating outlines of people with a mouse…I was completely attached to it. I loved making pixelated drawings and the idea of being able to print them out on paper blew me away even more – this was also when I first used our printer hah!

During this period, I discovered the complexity of drawing anime characters. My bestie, her brother and I used to watch Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon every morning – we were so into it! Even other animes like Sailor Moon, Beyblades and Cardcaptors were televised daily on Australian TV – we made sure we got up in time to watch these too. Anime characters are the most humanoid cartoons and I thought it’d be pretty cool to draw them and create scenes for them just as I was doing with my own made-up-people drawings. 

I ditched the computer and went back to the traditional pencil and paper method because there was no way I could draw anime characters with a mouse. My first ever drawing that got published into a magazine was a character from the anime “Beyblades”. I was so proud that it sparked an interest to continue drawing anime for a few years.

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After a while there was a point where I missed MS paint but what annoyed me was that you could only do rudimentary pixel-by-pixel drawings  which I found to be unaesthetically pleasing. In 7th grade I spent heaps of time uploading my pencil drawings on DeviantArt and I came across a user who used a free software called GIMP. I felt a little more pro using GIMP because there  were  more advanced tools, though I only used the ones I was most familiar with – the brush and pen tool. I didn’t understand the software properly and only used it briefly because I hated the interface. In fact, MS paint looked more user-friendly than GIMP. I only created one piece on GIMP and that was a chibi naruto graphic.  Bad UI wrecks my mood so after the Naruto drawing, I uninstalled the program.

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Clearly I had NO idea about pixels and canvas sizes and I saved the image at 400px wide. I thought 400px was huge, hence the pixelation! The low resolution didn’t bother me at the time as I had nothing high quality to compare it to (and coming from MS paint, that Naruto graphic looked so high quality). I was impressed. I wanted to get better and better at this and achieve the exact same quality as the anime I saw on tv. 

The following year when Visual Communication was a compulsory subject in 8th grade, I was finally introduced to this unfamiliar program called Adobe Photoshop. Like GIMP, I had no idea how to use it. The Vis Com subject occurred twice a week so learning Photoshop was mandatory in our classes. The UI looked better so I had a little more motivation to learn it properly and avoid being lazy like I was with GIMP (I still wanted to achieve my desired quality of digital anime drawings). I recall my first photoshop graphic being a Hello Kitty collage masked in a silhouette of myself. I can’t find it anywhere in my folders, I know it was that bad I had to delete it forever.

I didn’t know how powerful photoshop was until now. This was the point I took more interest in design software.

Photoshop had everything I wanted. I studied most of the tools and played around with it for hours….I was like a kid with crayons. I noticed some of my favourite anime artists on DeviantArt had used photoshop to create their graphics. They’ve obviously mastered the program because their works kept me in awe and I envied the perfection of it. On my quest to brush up my anime skills, I started reading Photoshop tutorials posted by DeviantArt users. Thanks to them, I found them really helpful and were able to produce these:

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With a love  for  anime art, nightlife and kawaii things, my Mom, sister and I went on a trip to Tokyo in 2010 for a short break. This holiday was the most memorable. First, because it was the first city I’ve ever been to that seemed so perfectly perfect. Nothing was an eyesore. The local girls  were dressed in trench coats, had chiffon-buttoned shirts underneath, plaid skirts, tights and heeled boots and the guys carried  suitcases,  leather laptop bags, umbrellas and generally wore neat casual or business attire. In other words, every local had a great fashion sense and looked presentable in their own way. Tokyo offered a visually appealing experience. 

Then there was me, standing in the middle of a crowded  Shibuya crossing in my dirty white sneakers, non fitted jeans and baggy jacket complemented with my bed hair. I felt like..s***. My sis and Mom  naturally wore  nice clothes everyday, I didn’t fully take notice of fashion until this very moment in one crowded place. It goes back to the idea of good design being thoughtful and what I wore was an eyesore. If I kept doing this to myself, I would probably wreck someone else’s mood, because that’s what bad design does to you – it affects your mood. Tourists love taking photos of themselves travelling but at that time, I didn’t want to be in any photo. This is the second  reason why Tokyo was the most memorable for me.

Shibuya-062I ended up buying  my first trench coat in GAP  Harajuku. I also took the time to buy some nicely fitted clothes and boots. Every time I wore my new clothes  during  my Tokyo trip, I felt confident. It felt odd as I didn’t think fashion would EVER positively affect me this much.

Coming back to Melbourne I had my first Textiles class of the year and we used photoshop to design patterns for prototype garment designs.  Feeling inspired after my trip,  I wanted to know more about what Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator had to offer other than just making digital artworks so I was excited by the prospect of this fashion project. My teachers made us do a variety of design projects…my most memorable ones being brand design and product packaging.

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Throughout high school I thought design was about aesthetics. I was completely wrong. Design is just about caring deeply for the end-user. As soon as I found a fond interest  in fashion and graphics design, I fully understood and appreciated luxury brands like Burberry and Chanel because they only care about a  specific type of audience. Not everyone. Their time in carefully designing and hand-making their goods for a selected bunch  makes the end-user feel exclusive and special.

I’ve said this in my interviews before but if all of my artworks and designs  looked the same, it would be boring. That’s why I’m all for creating custom designs for my clients and  ensuring  my art is not mass produced. I believe that making anything “affordable” and “accessible” brings down the value of a product.

eve-designDesigning customer journeys, brand and digital experiences  is my way of creating lasting impressions for myself and for the client. With every new client a designer  encounters,  every new project they set out becomes a new subject to learn.  One day you are working in the fashion industry, the next day you find yourself in a boardroom meeting with a group  of politicians.  Cultural visionaries and passionate entrepreneurs have fuelled the craft of design and without them, I wouldn’t know the true meaning of this field.

In saying that, I’m thankful to find this passion. Taken from a small hobby of doing digital anime drawings has lead to something greater where you learn that  visual graphics is a universal language for leaders, multinationals, investors and the general public.

A right-brainer by day and occasional blogger by night, you've landed on a place where I live and breathe all things art, design, culture and fashion. You'll find me documenting my life in the creative field, endless travels with friends and family and a bit of food.

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