"It ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
Illustrator Yu-Ming shares where he finds inspiration for his creations, the quote that keeps him motivated, his advice for other designers and more.
DesignRush: What inspired you to become an illustrator?
Yu-Ming Huang: When I studied at the Taipei University Visual Art Department, I was watching Boby Chiu's (one of the best digital artists) online tutorial on Youtube, which amazed me and made me wanted to know more about illustration. During my time in college, I found illustration as a great art form for me to develop in the future because I love to tell stories through my images. Therefore, I decided to become an illustrator and studied at Savannah College of Art and Design's Illustration Department. I hope I can eventually become one of the finest illustrators in the world soon.
DR: What are some projects of your own that you are particularly proud of?
YH: The first piece is Beautiful Animals. I love animals -- I even use a credit card which can donate money to the wild animal protection organizations for each purchased. However, illegal hunting tremendously breaks my heart when I see it in the news. Accordingly, I created this piece and hoped people could stop this sad “sport.” Beautiful Animals got selected in different international illustration competitions. It is also the only piece that represents the USA get selected in 48th Golden Pen Of Belgrade, The 13th International Biennial Of Illustration.
The second artwork is Jealousy. This man is getting the best thing in his life. However, people who can not get or share the joy of the best things will become jealous and try a different way to get it from the man. Jealousy is inspired by Greek myth "Golden Apple," and this is also the first work I got recognition for.
The last one -- "Confidence" -- is one of my new works, and it also combines some new aesthetics I am processing. In this illustration, the tapir is a legendary creature that spread from China to Japan. It is said the tapir eats a person's bad dreams. As artists, we all so-called dreamers, which means we need this creature to stand behind our backs to help us avoid bad things. Regarding this piece, I hope people can have that confidence when they are chasing their dreams.
DR: Tell us about your approach to illustration?
YH: I love to do eye-catching and fascinating images to attract people's attention, which can fit in editorial and advertising industry. Therefore, keeping my eyes open to see the great contemporary art and trending elements to develop the depth of my illustration is very important. When I had my first exhibition, some visitors gave me the kind compliment that they were inspired and motivated after they saw my works. Accordingly, my goal is to make more audiences interested in the stories I tell.
DR: Do you have any favorite illustration or design tools?
YH: Chinese brushes can provide lines with beautiful varieties of expression to accomplish the freehand style feeling. Accordingly, I use Chinese ink and brushes for inking lines and do the colors in Photoshop.
DR: What illustrators or brands speak to you, and what projects or campaigns of theirs are your favorites?
YH: There are many remarkable illustrators and great projects in the world. I think it all speaks to me and affects me when I am creating my illustrations. However, Dongyun Lee and Dola Sun influenced me a lot. They are my mentors and friends who lead me and inspired me from the very beginning of my career. Their works are fantastic, but most importantly, they have such a strong working ethic. They take care of every detail, and that makes their work outstanding. I can’t pick the favorite works from them, though, because I admire them all.
DR: You have the day off. What can we find you doing?
YH: Besides drawing, playing basketball is one of my favorite thing to do in the world -- I always play basketball when I have the day off. Visiting galleries, watching movies, and cooking nice food are also things I love to do.
DR: What quote motivates you in your work?
YH: The quote from the movie "Rocky Balboa" (2006) motivates me a lot and the reason I still keep moving forward in this industry. “The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”
DR: Any final thoughts, comments, or words of wisdom you’d like to share with someone in the industry?
YH: Be confident and working hard. Before I get one job, I might be turned down or ignored by hundreds of people who saw my work. You need to have persistence and just keep creating great work. It might be very frustrating at times, but if you stay focused and believe in yourself, the right jobs will eventually come to you.
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