Framed: Pearl A Yang
Get to know the artist behind our 'New Adventures Of Sable' campaign.
Pearl Yang appeared to us from the murky depths of DeviantART in a burst of 'this is exactly what we're looking for!' one afternoon when putting together the final pieces for the release of Sables new EP URL LUV. With experience in full colour artwork in a variety of different styles, the young and talented artist jumped at the chance to work in black and white on a bunch of character designs and live visuals for Young Sable (see the full story HERE). Get to know her below, and catch Sable on his final URL LUV IRL tour at Oxford Art Factory on Saturday 24 October (details HERE).
Tell us a bit about yourself, whats a typical day for you?
Hi! I was born in Singapore and at 5 years old, I migrated to Australia because my parents found work in Perth. My mother noticed that I had a thing for drawing when I was young, so she encouraged me to pursue something in the arts. During my first year at high school, I started to teach myself on how to use Photoshop and a bit of Illustrator, and this is where I bought my first Wacom Graphire tablet. From then on, I started joining online art communities and participating in drawing challenges with online friends, or just posting my art in general. I enrolled for Digital Design at Curtin, because I wanted to get better at digital art and expand my skills with the Adobe Suite.
My routine starts off by waking up at 8am to get breakfast and get a couple of chores done. I start my work from 9-10 with a few warm up pose sketches or thumbnail layouts. I usually have 1 to 2 hours of sketching, then I go over the sketches with line art which could take 1-3 hours, and in between I take 2 hours of a break to get away from the computer. In between drawing, I would be replying to my clients or my followers via email or social media. Colouring and rendering on photoshop takes longer to do, so I can finish a detailed piece in about 6-10 hours.
What mediums do you use and why? Whats your creative process like?
For a majority of digital works, I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Sai Paint Tool. Photoshop is excellent for textured brushes, rendering and switching from RGB to CMYK for print, however Sai's brush and pen utilities are more stabilised, so your lines and penwork are a lot more smoother and it doesn't take up much space on your PC.
My creative process is unpredictable. Sometimes an idea or a visual just comes into my mind, so immediately I draw it out on a canvas with just a single sketch layer, then I keep working and re-working it until I'm satisfied with the result. Otherwise, I take the time to do some visual research for pose and colour palette inspirations. Then I storyboard or draw thumbnails of the idea, but with different interpretations of it.
Digital painting is my default method because then you don't have to spend a lot on art supplies and you can get a lot of textures and brush tools that emulate painterly or chalky lines, but I still love using design markers from Mepxy and Copic Markers.
How much creative control have you been given over the Sable campaign?
I was given a good amount of control over the Sable illustrations. When I started out, I would ask first on what their ideas they had, and I was given the freedom to figure out how to compose and frame some of the story images. I felt it was a lot more important that John/Sable and Pilerats had a majority of input. The Sable campaign seemed like something that John dreamt of doing for a long time, hence why John's and Pilerat's feedback came first.
Where have you drawn inspiration from, any particular artists or other creatives?
My art teacher in high school, Ms Robbins, inspired me to study art history and iconic art movements and taught me the importance of visual research and using different mediums. If it weren't for her, I would very much be lost.
My first inspirations were a lot of the 2D Disney and Dreamworks films, particularly The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Atlantis, The Prince Of Egypt and The Road To El Dorado.
A lot of my art heroes come from manga artists, because I felt they could draw really epic action scenes, effects, facial expressions and have really weird, unique characters in the storyline. I cite Araki Hirohiko who created and drew JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Akiko Higashimura, writer and artist of Princess Jellyfish, Yoshihiro Togashi of Hunter x Hunter and Yusuke Murata who drew Eyeshield 21 and One Punch Man.
Has it been rewarding watching the campaign unfold and seeing the reaction of people?
Everyone's reactions were so incredible and entertaining to read! I've been holding on reading through the reactions of people until I completely finished my part for Sable, so the wait was definitely worthwhile! However, the most rewarding part is that I've had a couple of friends messaging me saying 'Hang on...did you draw for Sable? I can recognise your art style anywhere!'. I felt really joyous with that response, because it indicates to me that I had achieved a unique look for the Sable Campaign.
Do you grow attached to any of the characters you create?
I do have a couple of original characters that I have been redesigning since 2-4 years ago. I guess when you've been working on something for a long time, you grow fond of it no matter what. Sable-Campaign wise, I have really grown attached to drawing Kuro! Perhaps John wouldn't mind me suggesting that we create a bunch of Saybot and Kuro stickers with different expressions and greetings?
Have you worked on anything like this before? Do you have any other projects planned in the near future?
I've worked in a few instances where I got to personally exhibit my work to the public and self promote it on my tumblr blog, but the Sable Campaign is a totally new experience for me and seeing the results was definitely worth it in the end! In the near future, I aim to have a web comic/graphic novel published. I'm looking forward to distributing it on the web and add animations to it, so for now I've been posting some rough concept pieces on my blog and Twitter beforehand, and I'm pleased with the feedback from my followers! It's going to take a long time, but I'm determind to get published!
Are there any creatives/people you hope to work with in the future?
Yes! I would love to work for Sable or Pilerats on any 2D projects again, because they have awesome ideas. Currently I am collaborating/working with some creative projects with local illustrator and best friend, Jennifer aka 'thedrawingbirb' on tumblr, along with my other close friends, Alexis van Leeuwen, Soolagna Majumdar, and Simona Jovanovska.
One of my dream goals for the future is to work with Camila/prsurate. She's been a long time friend who's a wonderful artist and animation student based in Chile, and she's responsible for getting me into the Ace Attorney series. I can't wait to collaborate with her and even meet her in real life one day!
What do you do when you get the illustrator's version of 'writers block'?
Haha! Artist's block is very frustrating to deal with. The longest that I've been art blocked for a long time was for three months. For one instance, I couldn't draw anything because I was fretting so much on my anatomy drawing skills, so to overcome that I either try to learn a new painting technique or start from sketching really simple figures and relearn the basics.
When I'm stressed over finished an art piece, I say to myself "Hey, you could probably call it quits and give up...but wouldn't it be more better and exciting to see the finished result instead?" (Or if I wanted to be really cheesy and emotional, I put this song on really loud).
A lot of things can contribute to art blocks, such as emotional barriers, having too much or too little ideas, poor work habits and not communicating with fellow artists. Personally, I think what motivates to overcome art block is the fear that I'll suddenly forget how to draw one day, I'll hit rock bottom and then I'll ultimately lose my desire and ambition to create.
Any advice for those wanting to forge a career in illustration?
Research, research, research! I don't want to dictate what art styles that people should aim for and replicate because that would be something for every artist to figure out for themselves, but if you want to have a career in illustration, you have to think about your clientele, where and how you are going to build up your portfolio online, and where will you network for clients/commission work and followers.
Freelance isn't easy because it either comes with little to no work at all, and then suddenly waves of potential clients and emails come chasing after you! So definitely have a part-time job on the side as back-up income. When you get to the stage of meeting with clients, have an invoice template ready and a contract template that discusses your terms (e.g. payment by hour, cancellations, late fees, timelines) for the jobs you do.
Also, you gotta have business cards! Many new-comer artists who do artist alleys in conventions or exhibitions have awesome portfolios and sketch books, but then they don't have anything to give to their new fans or customers details on how and where to contact them for commissions and to find and support their work! Be in the know and stay up to date with trends on with techniques and new ways to get your work out there.
Pearl A Yang | pyangpyang.com | facebook.com/artofpearlyang