Monday, August 1, 2016

Fear. Feeling Stuck. How to Overcome it.

Imagining about something and transferring those ideas onto paper is an enjoyable process but at the same time, it requires an abundance of energy. 

We may go through different processes with our rational thought and intuitive feelings.

This may not apply to everyone but I would like to share my past experiences which made me fear, stuck, and how I conquered those fears and what allowed to me to go on forward.

I am certain every artist has a constant desire to improve their work. However, when we try to make the right decisions and choices, there are times when we interrogate ourselves and it might cause us to become pessimistic, have fear, or become lazy.
If you really want to become an artist or an illustrator and if you want to conquer these negative feelings, here are some tips!

These are some points I have followed, which helped me to improve my artwork. I hope this helps some of you if you are looking for a way to improve.

1. Open your mind up for feedback or criticism from others. Think about a sponge that absorbs all external liquid, no matter what the liquid is. Similarly, you have to absorb all opinions regarding your artwork, either if it’s a positive or negative one. I think it’s important to hear about the audiences’ opinions. You should take all feedback or criticism and take them into great consideration, and analyze your artwork to determine why they said such things so you can improve. 

2. Find artists you like and contact them and ask for feedback on your portfolio piece. First of all, this will encourage you greatly because you are getting feedback from someone you like or look up to. Secondly, they might point out some critical aspects you have never thought about, and this allows you to see from a different perspective. 

3. Try using new medium. I try watercolor, acrylic, oil, gouache, markers, color pencils (even different brands) etc. Out of all the medium there are, find one or two that truly speak to you. For me, I found that working with digital medium is the most enjoyable and makes me enthusiastic to go back to my desk every single day. After you find your perfect medium, try to give yourself a challenge. My challenge was to find a traditional feel from digital painting.

Samples of my color study from life with pastel

Samples of my color study from life with oil paints

Create my personal illustration with digital 

4. Explore different style.  What's your taste? Again, find your favorite artists and try copying their style and analyze why it works so well in their work. Find your own way and apply to your work.

5.  Make it marketable. For me, my favorite artists mostly consist of artists that are working for the animation industry, children’s book artists, and independent artists. I think about their work and ask why it looks so appealing to me, and through the analyzing, I learned about the business’ perspective. If I was someone who wanted to publish a book, what kind of illustrator’s work would be best for to convey the feelings of the book to the world?

6. Learn from Life and develop yourself. Once you've gone through all the list and made it this far, now you might be able to view life in different ways. Every individual is unique and you as artist can bring your interpretation of life and your spirit onto the paper.

When these steps eventually become natural intuition to you, it will be much easier to solve problems. It might give you better answers and furthermore, the choice you make will feel comforting and like yourself in the end.

Nicholas Hong
Artist for Animation | Illustrator


  1. Love your examples of the different traditional media used! Great point. How can a person create a "traditional" feel to their digital work if they have never used traditional media, right?