We chat to Hong Kong artist Vivan Wong who creates amazing intricate and colorful illustrations in her spare time when she isn’t studying at university for her Architecture degree.
I’ve been drawing ever since I was 5 years old and haven’t stopped for one day. There is something about drawing and art that feels so therapeutic and enjoyable, I could draw for hours on end!
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into illustration? How long have you been drawing?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong for the majority of my life and have been going to school there since kindergarten. I have also lived in Beijing when I was younger and half of my family resides in Australia and the other half in Shanghai. I studied in International schools and so I was exposed to many different culture and traditions and that is especially important when growing up in a such a dense metropolitan city. Like all students in Hong Kong, my parents made me join typical classes like piano, swimming and taekwondo but I never seemed to truly enjoy it. The times I should be practicing piano, I would be in my room drawing. The times when I should be practicing taekwondo moves, I would be drawing. So my mom decided to send me to an art class and yep, you guessed it, I absolutely loved it and it would be the only thing I was excited to attend. I’ve been drawing ever since I was 5 years old and haven’t stopped for one day.
There is something about drawing and art that feels so therapeutic and enjoyable, I could draw for hours on end! I started posting my artwork on social media around 3 years ago and have just recently been uploading art videos onto YouTube. The support I have received has been incredibly motivating and I like to think that I’m inspiring and helping other people out there (i.e. my tutorial videos on YouTube), even if it’s just one person! Now, I’m currently studying Architecture at an undergraduate level at the University of Edinburgh whilst drawing and illustrating in my spare time. I also sell my artwork on www.society6.com/vivianhitsugaya!
You now study architecture at the University of Edinburgh. What do you want to do in the future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I’ve just finished my first year at the University and it definitely has been a challenging and interesting year with many all-nighters and scars on my hand thanks to craft knives! I think I will definitely be pursuing an Architecture career in the future but that’s going to be a long time away because I will still need to complete a master degree before even thinking about becoming a qualified architect! It is an extremely tough but rewarding subject to study. Nevertheless, I know for certain I will not give up on the side illustrations and drawings I do in my spare time. Those will remain as one of my biggest passions and a side business for me alongside architecture.
I enjoy looking at other artists’ works and draw inspiration from their techniques and design. It’s like having an imaginary teacher indirectly teaching you knowledge just from looking at the art they have created.
Your drawings are varied; sometimes of people, sometimes intricate patterns. Where do you find inspiration for your pictures? Do you have a favourite subject to draw?
Like I’ve always believed, having your portfolio revolve around only one subject matter is too restricting. There are so many beautiful, creative and interesting things to draw in this world, why just stick to one? I know there are many artists out there who stick to one particular theme and subject matter in their line of work and that is completely fine but that’s not my style. I like to experiment and explore because that way, you get to learn a lot more, be more versatile and master various techniques. I enjoy looking at other artists’ works and draw inspiration from their techniques and design. It’s like having an imaginary teacher indirectly teaching you knowledge just from looking at the art they have created. I also like to look at websites like Pinterest or Behance to find inspiration.
You also use varied mediums to create your work, from colouring pencils to water colours. Can you tell us more about these? Do you have a favourite to work with?
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been attending drawing classes since I was 5 and there I was taught to use various mediums, ranging from crayons to colouring and sketching pencils to water colours and acrylic paint. Each medium has a completely different effect; it really depends what kind of mood you want your drawing to convey. For example, if I wanted to create an intricate and delicate doodle involving many ornate details and patterns, I would use fine-liner pens. Or if I wanted to draw one of my themed girl portraits, I would use colouring pencils because I can create vibrant colours effortlessly. Admittedly, colouring pencils do take a longer time to complete the drawing and so if I were to draw something which was very detailed and requires a lot of colouring, I would probably use water colour paint instead because it is much quicker to create different colours and tones in one go. An example of this is my Studio Ghibli watercolour tribute painting. In terms of having a favourite medium, it’s honestly very hard to say! Each medium has its own speciality and they all come in handy, especially when my subject matter is so varied. But I think colouring pencils and fine-liners are my go-to mediums and recently I began to use copic markers as well.
If you could collaborate with any person and/or organisation who would it be and what would you create for them?
I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Disney/Pixar! They have accompanied me throughout my childhood and I absolutely love the animations they create. I have also watched many videos of their behind-the-scenes when creating the characters, drawings and animations and the amount of detail and effort they put into them is so incredibly meticulous. I personally love cartoons and animations and you can even see in my drawings, a lot of them have quite a cartoonized effect to them. I would love to learn from them and maybe even design characters, sets or just simple designs for them! Other than Disney/Pixar, I would also love to collaborate with Studio Ghibli. Like Disney/Pixar, Studio Ghibli has been my childhood and I have and always will love the beautiful animations they create. The landscapes in the movies are all done in watercolour paint and they look so picturesque and the characters are created with such careful detail and attention, I would love to paint and create similar designs and animations for them! Honestly, I would love to collaborate with any organisation that works with animation and cartoons!
More info on Vivian Wong