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!


Spotlight On: Cassandra Rhodin

Firstly, I’d to explain that I’m not really that into fashion in terms of clothing and what I wear. It’s just the illustrations of fashion that fascinate me, and I have a feeling that it’s due to the heavy amount of stylized features they use, especially the legs and faces.

Cassandra Rhodin is a Swedish fashion illustrator whose name is more or less known in the fashion world. I, myself, have never heard of her name and only came to know her through research on generic fashion illustrations.

Though I know I mentioned previously that I tend to be drawn to stylized and elongated arms, fingers, legs, etc., Cassandra Rhodin’s figures seem to also emit a strange emphasis on facial features in the head, whereas the elongated figures seem more of an side-effect than a main feature in her drawings.

They eyes are gigantic, of course, and the eyelashes and makeup is considerably drawn out and abundant. Even the hair is stylized and the lips drawn fuller than normal.

Though different, her artwork gives me a strange feeling, sometimes humorous, other times creepy. The clothes, which are (I assume) the most pivotal point of a fashion illustrator’s work, are designed with mainly neutral colors, none too vibrant. Though I understand that skin for fashionable subjects or figures should be pale, she rarely seems to use any color on her figures, only their clothes, which gives the viewer a more focused look on the clothes and accessories they’re wearing, I suppose. Her compositions also incorporate, on the most part, a sense of symmetry or pattern. I think this is why sometimes when I look at her work I get a strange, creepy feeling because it looks somewhat unnatural.

She also draws these really bizarre animals, such as rabbits, ostriches, cats, dogs, etc. in her work. It almost seems to be incorporating a personal fetish of hers into her work. One of the other noticeable contingencies in her work is the fact that all of the eyes in her figures share the same design. Though I realize all the works are by the same artist, I’m trying to say that there is little differentiation between them.

I regard eyes in an artwork to be the drawing point for viewers. Personally, I start drawing a character with their eyes first (after drawing the general outline, of course), and then I work from the eyes to the rest of the body. I try to make them to most detailed of all – this, I think, is one of the main points that sets manga apart from other comics. The lips, on the other hand, are not as prominent a feature in manga (unless you are a mangaka interested in fashion like Ai Yazawa).

Though she isn’t as influential an artist to me as Zarina Liew or Natusme Ono, if you guys are interested, check her out!

Spotlight On: Natsume Ono

So I just blogged about a not-so-popular manga artist, so here’s a more well-known one.

Natsume Ono was one of the huge artists that I love in the field of graphic novels and manga. I admire her art style the most, of all the artists in the manga world. It’s because her works is really different than others – it has a loose, relaxed characteristic that sets it apart from everything else I’ve read or seen. Mot of her drawings in fact seem to look like they’re contour drawings – messy and unplanned. Ironically, I’m the exact opposite when it comes to drawing as I like things precise and “clean”.

I first saw her style in the anime series, Ristorante Paradiso, a fairly popular anime and manga series. I think it portrays her style and interests fairly well. If you browse the link above to her website, you’ll immediately notice that she’s very interested in Italian culture. In fact Ristorante Paradiso, her debut series, took place in Rome.
Her characters may look strange when you look at her drawings, so it takes a while to get used to. I’d even say it requires a specific taste to like her drawings, and fortunately I have it.
Her works reminds me a lot of fashion illustrations, messy and stylized. Her characters have long fingers, legs, arms, and eyelashes. They look like porcelain doll figures, but more aesthetically pleasing. Her colors are also fairly simple and look as if they were just slapped on in the last minute. She uses mainly neutral color schemes, a color selection that I approve of. I also enjoy a lot of her Italian cultural references and personal touches. I can tell she’s very interested in their surrounds, architecture, and style.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to pick up her Ristorante Paradiso series from a bookstore, I suggest you try doing so. Her characters may still contain the large eyes that many other manga artists use, but they are also all very distinct in terms of physical features. I personally feel like she is one of the few artists that really have tried diverging away from the manga and anime “norm” in terms of drawing. If anyone were to ask me to choose one person that inspires me to draw manga, I’d more than likely put her on the top of my list.

This picture is reminiscent of her more recent works, House of Five Leaves.

Spotlight On: Zelda C. Wang

Hello, hello, hello!

So I haven’t gone to work on the novel for a while now, and I’m beginning to feel guilty for the slacking, but somehow I just haven’t gotten into the mood to work at all lately.

And when I say ‘work’, I’m referring to my actual project. However, I’m still looking around the inter-webs for inspiration, tutorials, and various other techniques I could use when I do get around to start working. I’m still on the planning stage, and I’m gotten around 12 pages planned out so far for Fabulae Orsa.

But for today, I’d like to introduce an artist that I just found out about (literally about 30 minutes ago) on smackjeeves.

Zelda C. Wang doesn’t seem to be employed at the moment in any company in particular, but her artwork is very soft and light. The characters and layout of her comics, thought at times I can tell they need some work as they can be a little confusing, shows how talented she is.

But what drew me into her artwork was the Classical Greek theme. Her stories are loosely based on Greek Mythology, and though the idea may seem a little clichéd, like using the moon, stars, planets, etc. I guess you can call me old-fashioned because I’m a sucker for things like that ever since I started watching SailorMoon.

One thing I enjoyed after reading through the entire series she has up on her website thus far, is the fact that she uses Classical Greek garments, armor, and architecture. I can tell immediately that she has, at the least, done some research and homework prior to starting her projects.

In any case, her colored works are still beautiful, though after a while her characters start to look similar, especially the men, as I feel she lacks the skill to draw non-feminine males. Though it’s fine with me, that is a matter of personal taste I suppose.

Here are the links to her novel series and her Deviant Art page, hopefully many will find her as enjoyable as I, especially her graphic novels. They are short, but enjoyable!

Spotlight On: Alice Duke

Three words: Green and Brown.

Apart from her classy name, Alice Duke has been as artsy as they come. She is a freelance illustrator with fantastic skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and drawing.

Most of the subjects of her work include “imaginary animals, lasers, transforming humans”, and folklore. She definitely uses a lot of visual textures, and mythological inspiration.

Her main focus is “book illustration, video game concept art, visualization for films, character/creature design, posters, sequential work, private commissions”.

Slime DragonMost of her pictures seem Photoshop-oriented and have a recreational concept.

I absolutely adore her use of natural colors. It may be because I myself am a fan of these colors that I like them, but they are very appealing to me. The way she draws her paintings by pencil first is also very similar to my own style as I’m not too well adapted to the Wacom tablets. As she claims in the mini-biography, she’s very into folklore and mythology, and a lot of her creativity seems to revolve around interpreting them in her own way. I’m also very similar to her in this way, in particular to Greek mythology and philosophical ideas.

More importantly, she also has a link to her character designs and illustrations for a graphic novel, which is exactly what I inspire to do.

She really seems to like using that wave-like spirals and lines as a texture and movement in her compositions, and it’s similar to the spiral leaves design that I do too, which is another reason I liked her. A lot of her work has nature in their theme, which is probably why there’s so much green and brown. She has twisted wood branches, tigers, people, and a lot of fantasy creatures as her subjects. However, she also has very creative ideas incorporated on her figures, as well as a nice texture.

Her humans also look like they’re taken from fashion illustration art models and cartoons, a approach that I’m trying to take when I develop my graphic novel.

Spotlight On: Marguerite Sauvage

Marguerite Sauvage, “Cups of Tea” – Exquise Design [Click Picture Above for Artist Website]

For the longest time, I’ve been really into Fashion Illustration and design, so I try to incorporate those styles into my own. It may be the really long legs that I find aesthetically pleasing, regardless of subject’s gender.

In any case, I really like Marguerite Sauvage’s colors, especially their bright lips and long eyelashes. She seems to have a fascination on girls with freckles and well-defined lips. She also has a section on the page marked ‘Sexy’, where she displays some erotic artwork samples, some exploring female homosexuality. While it makes the viewer wonder, they are all fascinating pieces.

So check her out, guys!