(sketchbook) recent watercolour paintings

2019 was planned to be a year of challenging myself when it comes to art. A year has passed and I’m proud to take every small step forward to practice with different materials that I’ve always been hesitated to push myself further.

Watercolour is my biggest fear. I cannot feel at ease with the act of controlling the amount of pigment and water on paper. I got stuck with lighting and colour harmony all the time. The composition looks so off whenever I finish a painting.

But it feels so good to determine and challenge yourself, how you eventually embrace your work a little bit better.

Here are my few recent watercolour paintings.

(sketchbook) quick studies (2)

Here are a few studies that I did in April. I hope with this kind of practice, I will have good understanding of line art before doing more drawings from life in the following months.

you can find part 1 here.

I took advantage of the huge resource in a local public library to make sketches from picture books/ comics as a way of learning from successful illustrators and improving my drawing skills.

I challenged myself to do it with one pen and no eraser, which is a good practice to get rid of my sketchy lines and I must say it was such a fascinating experience for me! Thanks to this opportunity, I thought more about lighting and values, discovered beautiful picture books and some more favourite artists, had another way to record what I read and found my strength/weaknesses along the way.

the last slideshow is sketches from the book All about Oz, edited by Linda Sunshine

{WIP) ReImagine: London - City In The Sky

For my Illustration class, we were assigned to make a fantasy poster for some well-known cities across the globe. Here is the process, from the brief, my presentation to the final work.


Brief: The year is 2050. The world is post-apocalyptic, meaning that the apocalypse of 2037 has happened and we are recovering as a civilization. In fact, humans are taking vacations again! You are an illustrator working for the New International Tourism Board and your job is to entice travellers to visit your city with a contemporary poster design.




My instructor made small pieces of paper with random alphabets so each students had to choose their city randomly this way. Mine is London, which has been my all time favourite! However, drawing buildings and making a poster have never been my strength. I carefully did research as well as create a overall mood board for the city before coming up with my own sketches in the form of a presentation.

I eventually chose the first thumbnail to refine and paint in full colour.

trip2future-LONDON-SOCIAL.png

FINAL POSTER

(WIP) Under The Rain

In the middle of my mental breakdown recently, I also had to tackle this work.

It truly reflects the turbulence beyond words inside me. The inner storm that swept through all emotions, exhausted you at the very worst and left you with an absolute hollow. The deadly silence, eventually, is the loudest scream. But you have to go through it all and cling to what can water your heart - just like how flowers being under and after the rain - you soak up everything and bloom again.

scribbles

scribbles

thumbnails

thumbnails

colour sketch in gouache

colour sketch in gouache

preliminary sketch to transfer on canvas

preliminary sketch to transfer on canvas

colour study  oil on 9’’x12’’ canvas board

colour study

oil on 9’’x12’’ canvas board

final work  oil on 24’’x30’’ canvas

final work

oil on 24’’x30’’ canvas


(WIP) How We Die - Reflections on Life's Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland

For contemporary treatment of the picture plane assignment, I made an illustration for my favourite book: How We Die - Reflections on Life's Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland.

The non-fiction book demystifies the process of death with technical descriptions (since the author is a surgeon and a teacher at the Yale University School of Medicine) along with moving stories from real events (a shocking death of a child has haunted me since the night I was reading that page).

Nuland’s narrative is so genuine and insightful that I was deeply immersed in this more than 300-page book. I read How We Die in Vietnamese but I bet you can find the English version on Amazon or any local bookstore. It got me to think more about the brutality of life as well as the inevitability of death so I highly recommend it for every bookworm out there!

Below is a brief process on how I tried to justify my whimsical style into this raw and scientific book.

My goal is simply to recall personal’s emotional journey when reading the book in a visual language.

The final sketch

The final sketch

The first colour test which I made for the initial sketch  I didn’t like the colour palette in this work because of its dark tone and I couldn’t get the feeling of a medical book here.

The first colour test which I made for the initial sketch

I didn’t like the colour palette in this work because of its dark tone and I couldn’t get the feeling of a medical book here.

The second coloured option. I was also struggling with the composition so I had to make some adjustments.

The second coloured option. I was also struggling with the composition so I had to make some adjustments.

Again, I didn’t use this second colour version. It seems to be too surrealistic and fantastical.

Again, I didn’t use this second colour version. It seems to be too surrealistic and fantastical.

Below is the final work. I usually avoid a complex perspective approach in my illustrations so I think this is something I need to practice more from now on. The last self-reminder is to have a various colour options from the thumbnail-making stage.

I will do more illustrations for some books that I read very soon since the reader in me is too excited for that! :)