19 Massively Detailed Illustrations by Shi ChunShi Chun is a recent graduate of Visual Communication in Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Design and Media in Singapore. She creates excellent illustrations that are vivid in details. Her project Bestiarum Vocabulum is an impressive one, showing her massive amount of skill and talent. Learn about the ups and downs of a design student and get to know more about Shi Chun in this interview.
Interview with Shi Chun
What are your plans after finishing your degree?
My plans are kind of fuzzy but generally in the direction of completing some personal projects while working on some freelance work and hunting for a job. Singapore’s culture does not exactly encourage taking time off for self exploration and finding one’s way in life. It is expected that one finds a job as soon as possible right after graduating so there is that constant pressure from my parents.
Bestiarum Vocabulum is such an amazingly detailed work! Can you tell us the story behind this project?
Haha thank you so much! I’ll try to keep the long story as short as possible. We were given the freedom to work on “anything we wanted” for our Year 4 Final Year Project (FYP). I simply went into it not having the slightest idea what I’ll end up with but thinking I really just wanted to draw creatures. I love fantastical creatures! Dragons, especially. It’s probably one of the few things I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid. That said, I actually doubted my own skills for most of the FYP which had caused my mentor and I much frustration. I would describe the process of the whole project something akin to fumbling in the dark damp fog, occasionally tripping over rocks, bumping into trees and sometimes I’d spot certain sources of light only to snuff them out with my own hands. After a few months, my mentor said to me, “don’t think, just draw”. The thing was, I was afraid of the blank canvas. I was afraid that I could not live up to my expectations all the time. After that, I tried to churn out as many creatures as I dared, although not nearly enough. Months before the graduation show, my mentor told me, I should do something big but retain all the small details as I had in my A4 and A3 drawings. I wanted to reject the idea but he was right, that’d make an awesome product out of this entire project. As cheesy as it sounds, one day as I was drafting ideas for the big piece, inspiration hit me. Up til then I had been thinking of how I’d draw one creature, but what if that one creature is made up of many. Paying homage to the dragon came naturally. Piecing all the small creatures together was really a fun, irritating and rewarding experience all at the same time. After the final draft was done, all that was left was to draw it on the large canvas. At the end I hope I’ve created something that’ll inspire others as much as others have inspired me with their mind blowing works since I was young. I hope that was a good summary haha. I’ve never been that good at it in my English exam papers.
How long did it take you to finish this?
The whole FYP was roughly 10 months long. If we’re talking about what can be seen in the final show, it’d be about 4 months from conceptualization to completion. The large drawing itself took up 2 months.
What made you pursue graphic design? Was this a childhood dream?
Honestly, graphic design was not a childhood dream. My childhood dream was to own a pet dragon, haha. My parents noted I had an interest in drawing when I was young and signed me up for weekly drawing lessons but little did they know I’ll eventually continue for roughly 7 years. My interest lies in seeing how the little strokes, lines and curves on a canvas eventually come together to form a visual that everyone can enjoy. Now will be a good time to quote the overused quote, “a picture speaks a thousand words,” that is not limited by language. Visual Communication was as close to what I can get in Singapore for a degree in something related to what I might want to do in future. I’m not strictly a graphic design or typography kind of person but I did enjoy the many things I’ve learnt in school about them. Life and art should never be restricted to just learning one’s own specific field. Learning more about graphic design and typography allowed me to appreciate what goes on inside a canvas even more and also distil the essences of the thoughts and processes behind working on visual communication projects.
What usually inspires you to create?
Music! I can never work without music. I’m not one that restricts myself to only a few genres. And also things I see in everyday life and the internet. They mesh up together somewhere in a dark room in my mind and outputs ideas that I’ll consciously go through. I enjoy rolling ideas I have around in my head and see what they can snowball to, though it becomes a problem when I think too much about an idea and leave myself too little time to execute it. I tend to switch around between working with ideas that revolve around more thinking and ideas that revolve around less thinking and more technical to keep the mind fresh and happy. Ah of course, gaming impacts not just my art but life too. The influence from games in some of my works can be easily traced.
You create different projects through a variety of mediums. What medium/materials do you most enjoy working with and why?
The digital age can create so much more with the power of digital mediums, it’s amazing. I’m starting to try and get myself more involved with digital mediums but currently I still enjoy working with non-digital mediums more probably out of habit. Pencils and pens are among my favourite tools although lino block prints do make a strong fight for that position too. There’s certain peace and excitement when I’m neck deep in concentrating on working on a piece of work that I can touch. It’s a certain feel about the tactile experience of working with non-digital mediums. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned haha. When it comes to colours, I’d say watercolour is my favourite although I’m less apt at it. There is something very beautiful about the translucent and transcient feel of watercolours especially in capturing sceneries or fleeting moments.
Can you tell us about the design you made for your school assignment (album cover for Mono)? Why did you choose this design and can you tell us your work process for this piece?
Before the assignment, I have never heard of Mono or their music before. When I obtained the album from my friend, I was blown away. I was thinking, how could this be the same instruments that people used to make rock music! The sounds presented were really “epic” and introspective at the same time. I imagined that I was standing before an endless horizon of a sparkling sea and the air was full of energy that was fierce at times and quiet at others. I presented some rough initial ideas to my class and one idea was almost unanimously chosen by my classmates. That idea developed to be one of an antelope running across the sea of waves, embracing the world. It will be bold and it will be elegant. It will be wild and it will be serene. Using paper cuts was almost the perfect solution. It could display a sense of fragility yet when you start to play with the form of papers and stack them up, there is suggestion it could be more than what it seems. That captured the essence of how I feel when I listen to Mono’s album. I tried a few different ways of playing around with the paper before the final design came to be. From there the colours and final design of the abstracted form of the antelope, birds and sea pieced together naturally. The final touch was the illustration of the album name which came unexpectedly as I had thought of using existing fonts beforehand.
Are there any projects that the readers should look out from you?
Haha nothing really concrete at the moment although I did start a simple web comic on gaming and nerdy stuff recently that I hope to continue for a long time. I really enjoy doing little works that brings a smile to people out there that I do not know and may never know in my life. I’ve been very occupied with the Avengers and Diablo III lately, so my new projects could very well be inspired from these sources. I’d organise and upload the other creatures I did earlier in my FYP that I feel deserve to see the light soon on my Behance profile. So that’s at least one thing to watch out for
Lastly, any message for our readers?
I wish to quote Neil Gaiman here in his recent speech. Whatever good or bad situation you find yourself in, “make good art.” I can’t believe how much that 3 words can pack such a powerful message. Additionally, finding out what you’re really passionate in or care about is very important. Only when you find something you really want can you actually change and start to really move forward in life. All my life I’ve only found out what I do not wish to be and I’ve hardly budged at all, even now. I wish everyone all the best in their journey in life and never forget to be happy and appreciate everything around us.
Sources of Information
Are you sure you want to block this user?
¿Seguro deseas procesar este post?