Frequently Asked Questions
What does #brbchasingdreams mean?
#brbchasingdreams, is this little mantra I made for myself in 2014, during a time that I found quite pivotal to me. In ways, it was the beginning of my art journey. At the time, I was still studying a different course (Physiotherapy). At the time, I had no intentions of doing art at all, with the idea that I’d just do it sometime later. But I had this sudden urge to say to hell with it, I’m going to try my hardest to build a name as an artist, whilst studying towards this completely different career trajectory. I made a deal with myself – if I could commit each day and all my spare time towards drawing and practicing and if I can one day stand on my own two feet as an artist, then maybe I really did have something to prove of myself with my art. Maybe then, just maybe, I would give art my everything and really chase that dream. So I told my friend, ‘brb, chasing dreams’
#brbchasingdreams is a reminder.
It’s a reminder for me to draw, learn and challenge myself every single day and work towards my dream
It’s a reminder for me to pause the crap, and focus on what’s important to me.
It’s a reminder that every day I am still chasing my dreams, with no intention of stopping.
A lot has changed since, but #brbchasingdreams still means exactly what it did to me those years ago. If anything, it means just as much.
How did you get into art?
I started drawing first when my sister taught me how to, way back when I was about 5 or so. She taught me how to draw Sailor Moon using one of those ‘How to Draw Manga in 5 Step’ methods, and I’ve been drawing ever since.
What is your artistic background, and what drew you to watercolour?
I am currently a full-time student from Melbourne, Australia, studying Animation at university. I am self taught in drawing and painting, drawing from a young age and taking up watercolour in 2012. Initially, I was primarily a digital artist as I loved the precision and cleanliness of it all, but it was the complete opposite that drew me to love watercolour – its spontaneity, beautiful chaos and rawness.
Who are your inspirations?
To name a few of my biggest inspirations, easily names like Lois van Baarle, Alice X Zhang, Wenqing Yan, Silvia Pelissero, Anna Dittmann and Audrey Kawasaki to name a few. Each of these artists have been my inspirations from the very start, and are still the driving forces behind my work today. I view each of them as masters, gods in their own respects because they all have something so inherently about them, whether it be their capacity to tell stories, convey emotion or even their stylistic choices, they all inspire me to continually strive for a bigger goal.
How did you develop your art style?
I think my style was a progressive amalgamation of all the styles I tried and things I liked growing up. I didn’t actually set out to develop a style per se, nor did I take any conscious steps to find my own unique style, which I think can sometimes be a harmful obsession for younger artists getting started early on. I spent a lot of my teenage years trying different styles because I didn’t know what I wanted my art to look like. I just liked so many different styles! These ranged from manga, caricature, comic, hyperrealism, abstract, vector, fantasy and even chibi art. I don’t work in these specific styles so much anymore, but I think all of these genres are evident in parts of my current style. I took things i learnt from each of these phases and I think that’s how I ended up with my current style. I experimented with everything that I liked, and took the little parts from each of those styles and adapted it into my work, whether it be the graphic linework from manga styles that I still use, or the use of graphic, geometric and abstract forms and shapes I incorporate throughout my paintings, or even the more fantasy-like elements!
So I don’t know if there’s an actual process, or a right way to develop your style. I’m sure there might be, but this is just how I developed mine — through experimentation!
What is some advice you would give to young artists who are seeking to find their own style?
This is a really hard one to actually pinpoint, but I think if you are a young artist who is JUST starting out, my personal advice would be to ignore this idea of having to ‘find your own unique style’. I honestly think there’s almost an unhealthy obsession with this mentality. It seems like there’s this fabled quest that artists must go on in order to ‘find their true style’ which suddenly makes them a ‘good artist.’ While having a distinctive style is great, I don’t think it’s what necessarily MAKES a great artist. So having this obsession early on can be really damaging to a young artist because it can be discouraging and it can often seem fruitless as there’s no real answer to ‘how to find your style.’ My advice would therefore be to not have this obsession with style, and instead just develop fundamentals, and to experiment. Instead of focussing on how to make your work look outrageously unique, do the opposite and spend time actually studying the work of artists that you like! Practice what YOU love and experiment with that, whether it’s a local manga artist, or a big-time realist painter! Study their work to improve your fundamentals, and then just continually experiment with things that you like.
One thing that I do want to say is that style is a widely debated topic, on what it is, on what defines it, and how important it is. My personal stance is that everyone has their own unique style, regardless of what you think. I say this because when I say ‘style’, I don’t just mean a visual style. If you compare two anime artists who perhaps draw similar proportions and bodies, you might say ‘oh they have the same style.’ But I don’t think that’s true, because style also comprises of technique, subject matter, colour and even taste! There’s so many different things that comprise one’s style, and frankly, EVERYONE has different tastes, and so everyone also already has a unique style. It’s not JUST about the visuals. So when I recommend to artists to ‘experiment and explore’ to develop styles, I also mean to experiment with one’s visual tastes, choices of subject matter, compositions, colours, the list goes on!
Who inspired you to paint with watercolour?
Silvia Pelissero. Also known as agnes-cecile. She will always be held in my eyes as my inspiration, still to this day! I started watercolour because I used to see her work on deviantArt and I was always drawn to how beautiful her paintings were. They were vibrant with these chaotic explosions of raw, beautiful colour, and bursting with emotion, expressiveness and stories. I couldn’t help but be drawn to her beautiful work and the medium itself.
How did you get started with watercolour?
I originally started out much like everyone else: I drew exclusively with graphite in sketchbooks and exercise books in my schooling years. It wasn’t until I was about 14 that I discovered the world of Digital Art, and instantly became obsessed. I got my own tablet for Christmas and went crazy, becoming pretty much primarily a digital artist. I loved everything about it, but most of all the fact that digitally, you could create colour palettes of your wildest imagination, with every colour possible at your disposal. You could create the most fluid, crisp and precise of lines and shapes – you were limitless.
But, in my final years of high school, we had to explore a different medium out of our comfort zone for our Art subject, and I decided to try out watercolour. Immediately, I fell in love with it for every opposite reason of why I loved digital art. It was chaotic, spontaneous and unpredictable. It was so honest and raw, something that sometimes I felt the world of digital art could lack.
Ever since, I think of myself primarily as a watercolour artist. Each day I paint, I learn something new, whether it be a new technique, a new colour mix or palette. It never ceases to make me fall more and more in love with it.
What do you love about watercolour as a medium?
Ultimately, it’s the fluidity of watercolour that draws me to the medium. There's something so intriguing about all of the chaos and spontaneity of the paint, like the way the colours bleed, bloom and blend with each other on their own. There’s only so much that you can control, and the rest you just have to ‘give in’ and let the paint work its magic. So, I think there's this sort of rawness, or honesty to the medium that just keeps me coming back to it.
What watercolour paints do you use?
I use primarily Winsor & Newton’s watercolours, but as of late I’ve been exploring different brands, particularly Daniel Smith’s watercolour range, which I am very quickly falling in love with!
What do you use to paint digitally?
I currently use a Wacom Intuits Pro, as well as Adobe Photoshop CC. When I first started out, I used a Wacom Intuos 4 that I was given by my late godfather and brother for Christmas, as well as Paint Tool SAI.
Are you self taught?
Yes! Well, depending on whether you’re asking about my painting/drawing or my animation. I am currently studying an Animation degree at University, so I’m learning how to animate in school. But regarding drawing and painting, I taught myself only because my family never really encouraged or push me with my art. I really wish I did have the opportunity to learn how to do so at an earlier age, to take formal training and even art school. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t be so afraid of drawing hands!
How did you learn how to paint and draw?
I mostly learn through observation. I learnt my anatomy through observing people around me, wherever I am and go. Which often ends up in me awkwardly staring at people for long periods of time and doing a lot of people watching. I taught myself how to paint by just experimenting and practice of what ended up working out right, and what didn’t. Trial and error.
Do you use references often for your drawings?
Occasionally! As I mentioned earlier, I wish I had formal training and education in regards to things like anatomy, it would’ve made my life so much easier by now if I did. n I am learning to draw something new like animals, environments.
This isn’t to say that using references is a bad thing though. I feel like there’s some sort of stigma about using references, but I disagree – I wish I used references more! I’ve developed a habit of preferring to draw without reference, so these characters and people form in my head and I just go from there. Which is why most of my work features subject matter with facial features and proportions that look less realistic and often quite exaggerated, which is something I do like to do. References are probably the best way to learn, and we are always learning, so we should always be using references!
Do you have any advice for someone getting started in watercolour?
Experiment, experiment, experiment. Fearlessly. Let colours run wild, let your paint drip and bleed and try out all different techniques. Get used to the chaos of it all, and from it, you’ll find what you really love about the medium.
What is the typical process for creating one of your pieces?
My work usually begins with a feeling of some sort that sparks a visual in my mind. From there, I generally sketch out the concept until the feeling of it all is there. That’s always the most important part. My painting process is quite linear from here as I just paint in layers, going from light to dark and eventually to fine details to finish the work.
Where do you find inspiration?
I can find inspiration from virtually any creative outlet, as cliché as it sounds. A lyric, a song, a colour palette, the colour of something I see in real life, a setting, a mood, a feeling, a visual, a photograph, a video, a movie. Anything. It can be the tiniest pattern in a tile that inspires the whole entire idea behind a work for me. Something just clicks in my head, almost visually, and I imagine a whole entire story or a composition or a design. For example, I was looking at pottery and came across something called kintsugi, an art of mending broken pottery, and that alone was able to inspire a whole entire artwork for me, spanned from a singular emotion, idea and feeling that I got just from seeing the almost geometric line work of the kintsugi. I envisioned an entire composition from that, and bam! Inspiration behind my work can come from anything!
If I do ever find myself running low on inspiration or ideas, I usually step back, listen to music, scroll through Tumblr, Instagram or deviantArt and immerse myself in all forms of creativity in hopes that something will click in my brain.
What inspirations/ideas/meanings are common behind your work?
One thing that has always been the primary drive behind my work is connection, on the most basic, emotional level. An emotional connection between artwork and the viewer, almost like a visual dialogue. My work is driven mostly by a feeling, an experience or a thought that has taken place in my life, whether current, in the past, or how I feel about the future. My ideas often revolve around experiences that a lot of us go through and can relate to or understand, like the feeling of being heartbroken, the experience of losing someone we love, or the memories of our childhood & the innocence that came with it. These are things that we can understand, but often find hard to communicate through words. For me, I put these down onto paper in hopes that my work will be able to communicate those feelings, and connect or resonate with someone whose experienced that similarly.
I do have other themes that I tend to revisit occasionally as well, for example, the likening of our thoughts or the human consciousness, to a stream, which is a recurring theme in my work where there are often fish involved.
What are your goals?
I’m still very unsure about where I want to go with my work and what I want to do. I used to want to be an animator so very badly at Disney or Pixar, but now I think I’m starting to really enjoy creating my own work and bringing my own ideas to life. I’d like to be a full-time working professional artist! I’d love to be able to show and exhibit my work all across the globe. I would also love to continue being a YouTube creator and continue sharing my story, as well as tutorials, painting processes and whatnot.
But! Most of all, I’d like to give back to the community one day. I hope that I’ll be able to further my career far enough, that I can start to teach new, younger aspiring artists everything that I’ve learnt along my journey. To give people inspiration and hope that a career in art isn’t as impossible as the world paints it out to be.
Can I get a tattoo of your work?
Of course! You’re more than welcome to have my work tattooed on your body, I’m genuinely flattered that people even want to consider having my work on their bodies. You don’t have to pay me for it, but I’d highly appreciate your support if you buy a print of my work or something.
Can I use your work in a study or to practice?
Of course you may! I highly encourage students and young aspiring artists to study the work of other artists! I do politely ask for my work or inspiration to be credited if the studies are to be shared online. But if it’s just personal practices, go nuts!