Outdoor, drawing and thoughts

This past Sunday, I went to Montrose beach to do some sketching.
Compared to other beaches, this wasn’t as scenic as I expected, maybe due to the cooler weather, not many people were out.
But I still had a good time just being out there for drawing and getting familiar with my tools. For my outdoor drawing, I’ve been using pencils and pastels for two reasons. They are easy to carry and I already had a whole bunch of them.
I started out the sketch of an artist making water color painting with a nice beach background, but after smearing and reapplying multiple times on the same spot, I took away the artist and all the other details. I forgot how impossible it is to render details with pastels! It’d be good for impressionistic drawing. So after much endeavor, I came up with this.

2013-07-30 22.21.18

Not proud of it, but the fact that I finally started drawing again, I know I’m on a good note. And it wasn’t a total waste of time, because I experimented different techniques about pastels, on which I still need more practice until I get a better result.

On my way back, I saw the beautiful Chicago skyline. It would be perfect if I can stop in the middle of the road to sketch and paint. Since that will never happen, I took a mental snapshot.


And I was thinking water color would be perfect medium for this view. Then I started comparing artists in my mind based on how I think they use their medium.

Water colorist would be the smartest because they have to plan before layering the colors and variation of color due to the wetness of the brush. They must have a picture in their mind and knows every step from the start.
Oil painters are perfectionists because they make the painting look so realistic and dimensional.
People who are good at drawing or enjoy drawing are great observers.

I don’t know why all of a sudden I come with these theories about artists. I wonder if you can understand/judge people by their trades. It’s a good thought, right?


Urban explorers

Never knew they exist and I’m intrigued after watching this news segment.

I’m all about seeing things in a different perspective and these artist are good at that. They bring life out of urban decay in spite of dangers. Personally, I would never pursue this type of art forms, because photography is not my forte and I don’t have a taste for rusty abandoned buildings. But I have to admit, their works transform my vision. Looking at their pictures, I can appreciate the buildings more than ever. That’s the magical things about art. The Chinese saying-化腐朽为神奇 would describe this perfectly.

Also kudos to those who go out of their way to pursue their passion, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, or how inexplicable their actions are, their effort and courage are beautiful.

Saturday photo shoot

I had a blast this saturday at a photography workshop in my local library. The workshop was hosted by John Dziekan, who had been an experienced photojournalist at Chicago Tribune for nearly 35 years. He shared some tricks and tips of digital photography and technicalities about adjusting the aperture, focus and shutter speed of digital cameras. As John suggests, good pictures are inseparable from good compositions, good lighting, people and color.
Here his website, http://www.johndziekan.com/.

During the workshop, the most valuable thing I learnt was to interacting with your surrounding during the creative process.

So there was a photo assignment portion after the discussion. As I was adjusting the camera setting, a lady came up to me. It took me by surprise, she wanted me to be her model. I wouldn’t see why not. As she snapping away, I thought, why don’t I do the same? After a few close-ups, I was most intrigued by the reflection of her sunglasses. Due to the strong sunlight, the picture looked a little foggy, but the sunglasses gives a vignette feel and it shows a narrative.

With only 10 minutes left til the deadline, I couldn’t stop without trying my original idea for the picture shoot-a person waiting for bus. I wanted to capture the person’s gesture and expression and see if my observation evokes some kind of backstories. Luckily, I found an elderly Asian man waiting by the bus stop. I went right up to him, “Can you be my model?” He said “Yes.” without hesitation. In the brief 10 minutes, I found out so much about him. lol TMI

Thanks for the nice weather, friendly people and John’s great knowledge sharing, I came up with these pictures. What do you think?

siyun SAM_1575

If we see the world a little differently and create things just for the heck of creating, we can all have some fun! 😉

How to price your work

I recently went to a presentation about how to price your work properly, and I’d want to share my notes/thoughts.

It’s hard to live as a freelancer, especially in the field of art and design. Art/design is not a necessity? It’s arguable. Most clients don’t understand the true value of a work, and they can’t afford to pay their hard earned cash for things based on perception. What really bothers me are those websites and contests that take people’s work/ideas for dirt-cheap or no money at all! The bottom line is how can we as artists and designers help each other out? How to bring up our market value?

Here are my notes from the presentation:

  • Know what you worth
    Know the business, market by location, category(understand the demand), client, and how other perceived value of the product.
  • Understand your capability, competition and risk tolerance
  • Type of pricing
    -Project based-someone was being very adamant about never do a logo for less than $250. It makes sense, but it’s probably easier said than done especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience.
    -Retainer (get paid first)
    -I come up with a rule myself-try to estimate how much time you will put in the work, and times how much you want to get paid hourly-easy enough right?:)
    -Decide your hourly wage- you can think about your expenses and your opportunity cost
  • Know the work and get back with a proposal
    Give yourself enough time to think through the scope of work, the proposal should contains details about alternation, charge for additional work, outline specific numbers of items/functions you will deliver.
  • Educate your clients-(This is VERY IMPORTANT, and it’s true in every field, people come to you because they think you are the expert. And as the expert, you have the right to educate and so they know what you did for them.)
  • Specs.-find a object, maybe a company, a campaign as a target, create specs and use it for your portfolio.

*supposedly I took more notes than this but somehow I didn’t save everything- -||

Well I hope you enjoy reading this and please share your thoughts!

Draw my life videos

Is this cheating?

I haven’t wrote anything for weeks and I’m showing you a video for the 2nd post already. It’s like a teacher trying to fill up classroom time by playing a movie. But I promise you it’s a good one!

Well this is related to art right? It’s a drawing video! I thought the scene and feeling were nicely captured, along with the wonderful voice over. I have a confession! I am a big fan of Michelle Phan. Not just because she can do awesome drawing, makeup, or she’s successful and beautiful. It’s really her attitude and passion brought her where she is today. I can relate to her in many ways-being an artist, an Asian girl, someone who moves a lot, and having a not-so-perfect father, etc…

After watching the video, it really makes me want to draw a story book too, it will take forever because I’m not a graphic artist like her…I do hope that one day, I can design/draw/paint my way to success!

PS Here are a few more videos for you to enjoy,  http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/videos/10-best-draw-my-life-videos. I believe this Draw my life meme started early 2013, it’s been outrageously popular. I think there are millions of Draw my life videos on Youtube O.O

First Launch!


I am so excited to write the first post of this blog!!!

This blog will be dedicated to art, design and everything that inspires me.

Have you ever asked this question-What is happiness? 还记得小学语文课本里面的一个故事吗?题目叫幸福是什么,哈哈 里面的答案太伟大。
It’s a little cliché but I am curious to hear your answer. For me, being able to do what I love is happiness. It’s not a secret, I love draw/paint and design! I still remember my first art work, it was an image of Sika deers nibbling on grass. When I was little, those doodles here and there got me swimming in compliments. But now, I do it for the creative process and a sense of accomplishment.

About a year ago, I started pursuing a certificate in Graphic Design from School of Art Institute of Chicago. Design didn’t come natural to me, I always thought that if you are an artist you are automatically a designer, I was wrong! Seriously, I have been baffled by the relationship between art and design. How can something be so similar in nature yet so different?

Thank you for reading my first post!
I will be sharing more experience and information later on. I just want to say whatever your passion may be, embrace it! Until next time… 😉

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