Sunday, September 27, 2009

Markers - I like fatter ones.

Doug Chayka, who was one of the full-time instructors at the Academy, showed us his marker drawings he had done in Berlin, which inspired me to revisit using the tool. (The last time I had extensively use the Sharpie marker was for 2-point perspective exercises in Intro to Industrial class) I soon found it not quite right and moved on to a similar but different type of marker, the one that I've used for the images above and below.

It's lets me block out shapes in a more graphic way, which presents exciting challenges in my decision making.

I drew people, but sometimes (well, most of the times) they're gone before I'm done...

and this is what happens.


Updates have been delayed since my last access to a scanner, but now I finally can use one at Teachers College, Columbia University!

Some pages out of my sketchbook during the gap...

After the Illustration Academy, I was back in Virginia, and on Sundays, attended Korean Central Presbyterian Church in Vienna. I always arrived at least an hour earlier than the 4th service I went to because my dad had choir practices. That hour prior to (and often after) the worship is such a good opportunity to sketch people coming and going, having conversations, resting in the shade on a bench.

Children are often in the scene, but always moving (very fast)

I once stood in a back corner when they had a info session for prospective small group leaders. Almost all of them sat very fixedly.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Coming Soon!

I've been working on constructing a online portfolio website for several weeks. It turned out to be (as I should've expected) a more complicated, time-consuming, and attention-demanding project than I had anticipated, as I began with very little knowledge about website building or using Adobe Dreamweaver. (I do have an experience creating a simple flash site on a watered-down version of Flash called SwishMax, but barely used or needed knowledge on code.)

Well, the site is in the process of being made available on internet, so it will soon be open to the world!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Travel Poster

Last assignment at the Illustration Academy was creating a travel poster. I chose a small Korean town known for its traditional mask performance. In the town of Hahoe (하회마을), you can see people actually living in well-preserved traditional architecture from Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), and enjoy outdoor mask dances put on every week for the visitors.

Final sketch.

The name of the town (하회, or 河回 in Chinese characters), which means "winding river," refers to the village's geological trait of being almost encircled by Nakdong River. I wanted to connect (quite literally) this natural feature and the cultural heritage of Hahoe in my image.

Value study.

Color study.

I looked at Korean traditional landscape paintings for inspiration.


For more information about the Hahoe masks as well as other Korean traditional masks, visit Hahoe Mask Museum.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Every Tuesday and Thursday nights at Illustration Academy: figure drawing. Here are some of the pastel drawings I made, most of them in about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, July 20, 2009


"Snap, Pop, Crackle" was the title of the assignment given from 3 Illustration Alumni, Robin Eley, Andrea Wicklund, Edward (Ted) Kinsella, who have all established steady illustration careers after their Academy experience. They also had the same assignment and decided that it was the best project they could give in their "homecoming" week.


We were to make an illustration that describes one of the three sounds and I chose "pop." My idea was a kid hunting balloon animals with a sling shot.

final sketch.

color study. I had two versions and the one that's not posted had a pink balloon animal, as Andrea suggested. I decided to go with pink because I was able to go a little deeper with my values in the shadowy areas of the balloon.

Jacklyn, who was one of my suitmates during the Academy program and sat behind me in Studio 2, modeled in absolutely awesome poses and expression.

There's more than just one of them! I threw it in to be a second read and to prompt the audience to wonder what more fun and fantasy would be contained in the forest.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Conversation: Consolation

In the 5th week of the Illustration Academy, Chris Payne gave a really fun & open assignment: illustrate two people in a conversation. He stressed the correct use of photographic reference, and encouraged each student to get "good" models (of which, Chris was one of the best examples, as he gladly appeared in many of our references with hilarious and dramatic facial expressions and gesture).

I chose a conversation between two women at a funeral, one comforting the other over a grim loss.

final sketch
(I was happy that it was very close to the first thumbnail!)

value study in charcoal.

color study using the same media (nupastel) and paper that were also used to created the finish.

detail of the pastel version.

I also decided to work on another version, applying the masking fluid technique Anita Kunz showed in her demo. This one's done in watercolor and ink.

detail of the hair in the ink/watercolor version.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


In my Independent Study Project (ISP) course with Kelly Murphy, I worked on a number of educational illustration/design projects, one of which was initially going to be a supplementary reading booklet targeted for ESL students. I started learning English as foreign language in middle school in Korea, and when I moved to the Stated, I was in ESL courses until 9th grade, so designing a textbook/study guide for that particular use had personal significance.

As the semester progressed, however, I became more interested in designing a foreign language textbook, whose audience was in my age range now, rather than in their teens. I had been taking Japanese language courses at Brown Univ. for 3 years, and remembered the textbook for the beginning level students titled "Moshi-Moshi," written by Prof. Yamashita, Head of East Asian Studies at Brown.

Although the content of the book was full of interesting topics and informative linguistic instructions, it was clearly designed and published with cost-efficiency in mind, but with little consideration for readability and effective visual hierarchy. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to redesign our beloved first-year textbook as an art student's way of saying thank you (or "お礼を言う")

I took take a chapter from Mosh-Moshi, and tried to create a more visually pleasing system of organizing its content, which had many layers. Here in a close up of the beginning of a new section, you see varying type treatment, use of color, and drawing elements such as dotted lines that indicate the multiple steps of the hierarchy.

Another part of the redesigned chapter that describes a grammar point.

I've also found an opportunity to include handwriting in the Narrative Passages Section, which contained a journal entry. It was Kelly Murphy that suggested this, and I'm quite happy with the variety that the look the handwriting brings to the overall design.

Of course, this project was an illustration project, so I added a few spot illustrations in appropiate places to enhance the content. Also, if this project were to become a real undertaking, where I would have to design over 12 chapters' worth of material, it would enable me to deal with inevitable page breaks and awkward white spaces more easily.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

Gerry Kelly came to Sarasota and gave a number of amazing demonstrations and presentations at the Illustration Academy. His project was illustrating one of the Seven Deadly Sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride). Each student was assigned a number which corresponded with one of the seven sins. Mine was Envy.

1. Not everyone in the crow is happy for the bride.

2. There are only few who perform in the spotlight.

sketch. Georgie and Leah in the Academy posed for the scene. They were awesome models!

few changes in the foreground figure and tighter cropping.

value study in charcoal.

color studies. "Green with envy" was the overarching inspiration for all three studies. I did not feel quite right with any particular one, which happens often when I do color studies. In such cases, I usually move on and let the painting process inform my decision making. This time, I started and simultaneously worked on three separate paintings, two in full-color watercolor and one in black and white. As the paintings progressed, I decided to let go of color altogether, except for roses.

Finish in ink and watercolor. the roses were colored after I layered matte medium on top of the ink painting. I really enjoyed using ink which behaves differently from watercolor. Working on the lighting on the figure and texture of the costume was especially fun!

Conceptual Portrait: Yo-Yo Ma

This assignment was given from Anita Kunz. Two important goals of the project: likeness, and simple, clear idea that describes a certain aspect of the chosen subject.

My first memory of seeing an image of Yo-Yo Ma was in 9th grade. In classrooms and the library, my school put up many "READ" posters with a photos of different celebrities (usually a sports man or an actor/actress) in their casual attire. I was drawn to Ma's poster for several reasons: he was the only one in full tuxedo, he was the only Asian, and he was the only one holding a classical instrument, cello, which I happened to have just started learning at that time. Plus, he had a name impossible to forget - I mean, Yo-Yo? Are you kidding?

In my high school orchestra class, however, I soon learned that his musical career was a very serious one, and perhaps one of the most influential and creative endeavor in the contemporary musical world.

Ma later reappeared in my life at RISD through his Silkroad Project, which he launched about 10 years ago as an effort to bring cultural riches from the traditions of many countries that existed and still exist along the cross-continental trade route called the silkroad. I was in a Wintersession course that invited the Silkroad Ensemble musicians to collaborate with the students who provided the visual component of the joint multicultural and interdisciplinary celebration.

These indirect encounters with this internationally famous cellist were more than enough for me to choose him for this portrait assignment.

1. Yo-Yo Ma and his global renown

2. Yo-Yo Ma "bridging" the different musical traditions and cultural influences. The cello part that supports the strings and transfers the vibration to the body of the instrument is actually called "bridge." It also has a heart-shape cut out in the middle, which I wanted to play up as a symbol of his personal charm. Although the metaphor is interesting, unfortunately the figure is compressed down and looks awkward.

3. Yo-Yo Ma and his Silkroad project, which brings musical and narrative traditions from numerous cultures. The idea has some potential, but the artist's face have to be the dominant element in the image and the composition needs major revision.

So, I did two more thumbnails with the same idea.

The first sketch is more unexpected and humorous, but I wanted to depict him with more respectful approach. I decided to go with the bottom thumbnail.

The tuning peg are replaced by four iconic symbols that suggest various cultural origins. Instead of drawing them as if they've been engraved on the actual pegs, I suspended the icons in space to emphasize their symbolic quality.

Value studies.

Color studies.

Finish in watercolor.