Spotlight On: Zarina Liew (What?! I’ve never shown this?)

After my last post and rereading my previous posts, I’ve realized that I had never posted anything on one of my personal favorites of the fashion illustrator/artists that I’ve seen thus far. How could that be? I think after my first post on Maguerite Sauvage, I forgot that I still had to post an entry on Zarina, because I discovered the two of them at roughly the same time.

In any case, it’s time for me to introduce you to Zarina Liew, a personal favorite of mine. Why is she my favorite, you ask?

I honestly have a hard time answering these types of questions. With artists, it’s easy for me to fall in love with their artwork, sometimes even ones that are reminiscent of others and are not as good-looking as you would assume. But I suppose everyone has different tastes. I myself like Zarina Liew’s vibrant colors, watercolor affects, flowing rhythm, and highly stylized legs and adorable faces. She also uses lovely colors, patterns, and a dreamy, pastel look to all of her works. I was actually influenced by her a long time ago on a project for my Computer Art class, and that was when I first started looking at her work.

My first encounter with Zarina Liew’s work centered around one particular piece I enjoyed very much, both in its composition and colors.

On the very bottom is her “Grateful Crane” piece, illustrating the Japanese folktale of a poor man who is blessed by a crane spirit after he saves her. She, in return, gives him a lot of wealth by weaving precious, rich cloth for him to sell. However, she tells him never to look into her warehouse when she is weaving the cloth, but he does so anyway. Once he sees that she plucks the feathers from her own body to produce this wonderful silken cloth, she flies away and he loses her forever.

For my class project, we had to illustrate the story and the concept behind it in two separate art pieces (the two pieces shown below). I chose this tale because her painting inspired me to do so, and because the concept behind it centered around moral values (as does any other folktale, I suppose). This project can also be found on my artist website here.  In any case, this was the first time I encountered Liew’s work, and she directly influenced me to produce the two pieces. As you can probably tell, I tried to emulate her colors in the left piece. In any case, I hope you enjoy!


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