Interview Series 2012 – Graphic Designer and Illustrator Tang Yau Hoong

by Sean | March 20, 2012

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Tang Yau Hoong might just be the best designer you may have never heard of. All it takes is one look at his work, and the realization sets in: Tang isn’t simply interested in creating eye-catching design, he also strives to bring back the beauty of visual arts. Ranging from subtle to the absurd, Tang has positioned himself as a master of design, and is certainly one to keep an eye on.


What are some techniques you use when drawing your detailed illustrations? How do you use color and space?

I’m not really obsessed with details so I tend to draw as least details as possible. There is no special techniques I use and most of them are quite simple such as scanned textures. I think color and space are important. If any of these goes wrong, the whole drawing can go wrong easily. The safest way would always be that less is more. I like negative space a lot too.


What are 3 golden rules you always follow when it comes to illustration?

Be simple, try something new, do what I feel like doing.


Some people struggle with coming up with ideas – how do you choose your subject matter? 

Hard question. I don’t think there is a certain way to come up with ideas. I’m sure there are some designers that can do it naturally and make it look so simple. To me, it’s not really about instinct or a special moment when an idea sparks, but more like trial and error. I do a lot of sketching and doodling, and most of the time an idea evolves from something ordinary.



Once you’ve gotten your idea, what’s the next step? Can you walk us through your creative process?

I try not to execute the idea at first. I leave it for days, even I forget about it until I look back at my sketchbook. Many times I get too excited with an idea but end up not liking it after it’s done. Leaving it for some time helps me to look at the idea more subjectively. The illustration part is no secret in fact, as my style is quite simple.


How would you describe the role that photo-editing software, such as Photoshop, plays in your art?

It certainly makes things easier and faster. Even though my illustrations do not require much editing in Photoshop, I sometimes get surprised by an unexpected effect or result. I think the best part is you can always find something new if you want to.


How do you keep up with your creative side when you are working under pressure/strict deadlines?

It’s really tough, working under pressure is one of the things every illustrator has to deal with. I will try to get things organized and start doing things step-by-step although I do not succeed every time.


What is the secret to responding to the client’s needs while always maintaining a recognizable style?

Most of the time they want me to stick with my own style because that is what they are looking for.


What opportunities do you see for young people who are interested in a career involving illustration?

I’m not sure how can I answer this as I am one of them who always looks for different opportunities in a career as an illustrator.


Do you have any final advice for our readers?

Try to make something you really like, not just what other people might like.


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