Novinske ilustracije koje nadilaze povod i spiralno se uzdižu u svijet proljetnih sablasti i čudovišta. Budistička psihodelija.
1. Where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I am from Hong Kong and didn't become a full-time illustrator until I graduated from RISD in 2010. However, I started drawing since I was a kid; my parents were very busy and I would tell stories with my drawings to keep myself entertained.
2. How has moving from Hong Kong, to Providence to attend RISD, affected your way of thinking about making art?
RISD is awesome, I learnt a lot and have met some of the most influential people there_including my teacher Chris Buzelli . Chris reminded me why I like to draw in the first place when I was overwhelmed by grades and competitions . He also pointed out to me that" style is merely one's habit of drawing, everyone is born with a unique style as everyone is born unique". This helped me to be honest with myself and eventually found my own voice. Being away from home/parent's protection and the insanely high RISD tuition also motivate/haunt me to work my butt off.
3.What are the biggest difficulties of being a female illustrator from HK living in New York, and what are it’s advantages from not being born and bred here?
It's interesting that you emphasize "female" in your question. I have always been referred as "he/him" on blogs maybe because of my confusing name-"Victo", but I actually kind of enjoy the androgeness . Being a foreigner can be hard sometimes when it comes to socializing- not understanding cultural references and American slangs make it difficult to carry on conversations. I also have made many stupid mistakes because of language barrier. I once got a phone call asking me to do a full page and 3 quarter pages and I misunderstood it as one full page and one 3/4 page...
Advantage- I think the fuel of creativity often comes from our personal experiences. So having an international background and experience of living in different cultures definitely helps when it comes to finding inspirations.
4. Every time I look, I see that your illustrating for someone new, somewhere. Is there a particular method of promotion that you prefer over another that has helped you get work?
I think the new media, especially blogs, has helped me a lot to get my works out there. I e-mailed a few major blogs about my work when I graduated and they were kind enough to feature them. Then a lot of reblogging happened and everything kind of snow-balled from there.Through the power of internet, I was contacted for gallery shows, magazine interview and jobs from places and people I had never heard of and therefore wouldn't have reached on my own. I think it's important to keep it a two-way street -mailers and other promotional materials are great for reaching people but it's even better if people are able to discover you and come to you. For the same reason, I think getting into annuals and competitions is also a wonderful promotion.
5. Are you interested in animating your work?
For sure! I love animations and have thought about being an animator at some point. Actually, I have a little animation on my site.
6. How would you define a good illustration?
Well thought out ( communicate an idea clearly and creatively), well executed ( solid composition, intriguing style and characters .etc ) and hopefully thought-provoking.
7. Why do you work in a hybrid of making things, scanning them in, and changing them digitally?
The hybrid enables me to achieve the hand-made organic look I like while still enjoy the beauty of digital. Digital is great as it enables me to combine materials previously made with various media which are traditionally "incompatible". It also lets me work backward thanks to the layer function-i.e. have my line work done before working out the colors and value but can still have the line on top of everything in the final illustration.
8. What are you up to when your not illustrating? Do you find it important to take a break?
Just chill and enjoy life, I especially like to eat and travel! I think It's very important to take breaks for both the body and mind. Body- freelance illustration is a pretty high-stress job and since you are your own boss, it's very easy to overwork and compromise health if "breaks" are not planned into the schedule. I have learned that in the past 1 year with big prices paid. Mind- it's essential to take breaks to recharge and refresh, otherwise it's easy to run out of steam if there's only output but no input.
9. What’s your goals for 2011?
Get back at reading and exercising; travel to at least one new place; get better with using greys and subtle colors; work for new clients.
10. Any Advice for the young guns just getting out of school?
Not just work really really really hard, but work really really really hard at the right things at the right time. For example,concentrate on building a strong portfolio before being bothered and distracted with promotions.
11. Any advice for the old guys?
I don't think I am in the position to give them any advice. But I guess if I had been doing illustration for a while, I would like to remind myself from time to time why I started drawing in the first place, so illustration won't turn into a mundane job. Maybe also change things up a bit every once in a while to keep things fresh and interesting for myself?
12. Final Word?
Thank you very much Fish! I haven't typed so much since I did that Art History paper about Islamic architecture in senior year. :) - nonslick.blogspot.com/
Old Book Illustrations: Your work is somewhat remiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, with its strong linear quality, its vigorous contrasts and the favored use of flat, subdued colors… can you tell us a bit about your technique and how you came to elaborate it?
Victo Ngai: I do have a strong influence from Japanese woodblock prints, or rather, Asian arts and crafts in general. And I think it is largely because of my cultural background.
My portfolio teacher Chris Buzelli once told me this:
Style is overrated. Style merely means one’s habit of drawing based on one’s own experiences. Therefore everyone has a unique style because everyone has a unique life.I think this is very true and very well said.
Everything I saw when I was growing up contributed to my preferences, my way of thinking and the decisions I make in illustration nowadays. Therefore, strangely enough, I didn’t realize my influences until people around me pointed them out.
About my technique, I usually work both traditionally and digitally. The lines are done with nib pens or rapidograph pens. The textures are done on different pieces of paper with various mediums, like graphite, acrylic, oil pastels… depending on what look I am trying to achieve. Then everything is digitally composed and colored in Adobe Photoshop. - nonslick.blogspot.com
V. N.: I definitely enjoy doing editorial illustrations a lot. I realized it was quite difficult for my mind to generate an image without some sort of content. My drawings always start from an idea or a story. So I guess the current issues and topics serve as jumping boards to get the illustration and creation process rolling.
I also really enjoy the process of problem solving: getting an assignment, understanding the mission and trying to figure out the best solution to it within the given time.
Being able to convert an abstract concept or argument into powerful visuals is something very exciting for me; the satisfaction is kind of like solving a five-star level Suduko question, only better.
OBI: The experience of feeling uprooted runs through your bio, and it finds a direct artistic expression in your recent piece, Lost in Translation. In your case, we soon get to realize that what has been lost in translation is your own name, so when you say that you find your true identity in being an illustrator, this is a rather strong statement. Do you feel that your artistic identity has been spared this instability, or has it been influenced and shaken and by it too? V. N.: I would say the instability and my artistic identity are in a very complicated relationship.
I think the instability actually gave birth to my artistic identity; while my artistic identity has saved me from personal crises due to instability.
When I was young, my family had to move around a lot, so it was almost impossible for me to make friends. Since I am the only child and my parents were always busy, my childhood was rather lonely.
I started drawing to keep myself entertained and in company. I would create characters and have all sorts of adventures with them in the worlds on paper. (Thinking back now, maybe because the only drawing utensils I had at that time were writing pens, line drawing became the most natural artistic expression for me.) At some point, other kids started gathering around me whenever I was drawing at school. And through drawing, I was able to make friends with people from Hong Kong, UK, Japan, America and around the world.
Drawing/illustration has never been just a habit or a job for me, it defines me.
OBI: You’re now starting your career as a freelance illustrator: ideally, what sort of assignment would you be looking for at this point, and what will your first steps be? And ideally again, how do you picture yourself five years from now?
V. N.: I am up for any kind of illustration job at the moment, really. One of my very first goals is to be hired by a second art director. My works have been published a few times so far but they were all commissioned by the same art director: SooJin Buzelli. (SooJin took the chance and gave me my first job when I was still a junior, so I am very thankful to her.) I think I need the experience of working for a second art director to convince myself that I will be able to survive doing freelancing. I have been sending out promotional e-mails to art directors lately. I plan on mailing out postcards next. Then hopefully I will be able to meet with some of of them to show my portfolio after I move to NYC in September.
Ideally after five years, I want to be able to support myself and my parents by doing freelance illustrations. I hope I will improve enough so that all the portfolio pieces I am proud of right now will be replaced by new works. I also wish to see my works being used in different places: t-shirts, advertisements, animations, children’s books… www.oldbookillustrations.com/
Artist Statement: I really believe in artist community and was very excited when I was invited to participate in this project. There's a Chinese saying: "it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be successful". I believe having good relationships with people makes up a large part of the "luck". Since graduating in 2010, I've been trying to find a place in the highly competitive editorial illustration industry. In the limited few months of my career, I was very lucky to encounter and be helped out by a lot of great people. Some gave me constructive criticisms, some extended job opportunities, some shared their experiences and business tactics with me, some inspired me, and some helped me get back on my feet when times were hard. I can't possibly imagine where I would be without all these people. Be genuine to people; gratefully receive generous help and help generously, I think that's what community is for me.
For the concept of this piece my art directors, Greg and Robyn, and I agreed that a dreamy scene about achieving a goal together as a community would serve the best for the quote: "Notice what you care about, assume many others share your dream". After going through a series of sketches, I came up with this idea of a bear handing out whale-balloons to kids to help water the flowers in the field. I worked both traditionally and digitally, creating the line work with pen and ink and the texture with various media such as pencil, watercolor, prints, photo, etc. Then I composed and colored everything digitally.
I hope you enjoy the poster!