“Space in Hong Kong is a hot commodity, which is why my new work space is the smallest one yet since moving back recently. I work under my loft bed, very much in my own little world. However, that’s a bit of a lie as I quite literally am interacting and connecting with people all over the planet. There’s not much to see here as I’ve only just moved in but I’m actually not one to put much on my walls, though I do have my books close by if I’m in need of inspiration.”
Yasmin Liang is a Hong Kong-born illustrator and comic book artist.
FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?
YASMIN LIANG: Much of my professional work is digital. I have a yearning to work traditionally though, especially in pencil and watercolour. Due to time restraints though, I choose to work on the Cintiq as I work faster and if an editor wants something changed on one of my comic pages, it’s an easy fix. This is one of the reasons I enjoy doing inked commissions at comic book conventions as I’m suddenly faced with a piece that has no ctrl+z option, it brings me to a whole new level of creative energy.
I just put my crayon to the paper one day and I haven’t stopped since.
FYD: What is your favorite sentimental object at your workspace and why?
YL: I’ve moved around in the past few years and don’t really have sentimental objects. If they do exist, they’re probably in storage which is why I’ve forgotten about them. I’d say the skull that I have on my desk is closest to a sentimental object. It’s like having a little friend around when I’m working long hours, though I have yet started speaking to him.
FYD: What is your favourite or most required work tool?
YL: Any kind of sustenance and some sort of easy-to-watch television show playing in the background. Since Halloween just passed, most of my drawers are filled with my art supplies but also candy. I’m currently re-watching all of the X-Files but I can tell you right now (with only some shame) that I watched all 15 seasons of E.R when I was drawing BOOM! studio’s STEED AND MRS. PEEL. I try to balance out the brainless stuff and watched the entirety of The Sopranos right after. It’s a difficult life I lead.
FYD: What are your go-to comics (growing up or classic favorites) and have there been new, emerging works you’ve liked?
YL: I’ve absorbed an immense amount of material. When I was younger, it was the usual collection of newspaper strips like Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, The Far Side and Carl Giles’ work. Looking back now, I realize what an influence Carl Giles had on my work. I’m quite sure he was a genius. After that, Asterix & Obelisk, Tin-Tin and Archie which led into superhero comics. I remember clearly discovering the 1993 Catwoman series in my uncle’s apartment and being completely fascinated. I had my brother’s old comics as well, some Juggernaut issues and my favourite, at the time, was Ghost Rider & Blaze, Spirits of Venom.
The culture surrounding education in Hong Kong is vicious and quite serious…
As an adult, I can list Batman: Year One
as having a massive influence on my life. One of the reasons I wanted to attend school in New York was to sit in on David Mazzuchelli’s class at SVA (which, unfortunately, never occurred). Darwyn Cooke
, Chris Samnee
and JH Williams III
continue to be ongoing inspirations to me. It’s hard for me to name a comic book I’m following, as once you start making them, it gets harder to keep up with what’s out there. The last thing I read was Mara
written by Brain Wood with art by Ming Doyle.
FYD: How did you learn to draw? What attracted you to drawing?
YL: I just put my crayon to the paper one day and I haven’t stopped since. I copied the cartoons that I liked to watch, mostly the Powerpuff Girls. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the best character models as they don’t possess a large amount of normal human anatomy. The culture surrounding education in Hong Kong is vicious and serious. So, to draw was a nice escape from having to think about college when I was only 8 years old. Where I am now in terms of my artistic abilities is a bit of a roundabout. I copied cartoons, I drew my favourite characters and looked at how other artists drew — I made the mistake of trying to learn style first rather than learning how to draw first. I learned to forget about style and just draw. Style will always come later and naturally develop as you produce more and more work.
FYD: What kind of television did you grow up watching?
YL: Nothing hugely different from anyone else, I’d imagine. Disney films, Pixar and so on. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a big staple. I make a point to re-watch the series every two years. A splattering of Star Trek: The Next Generation was also watched.
I learned to forget about style and just draw.
FYD: You employ some great color. What do you love about poppy aesthetics?
YL: The hilarious thing is, colour is something I am entirely not comfortable with still! I made a conscious decision to start paying attention to colour and not be so afraid of it. My earlier work employed washed out, sepia-toned colours. I didn’t want to risk mucking it up. My final thesis for university revolved around using much brighter and saturated colours. Since then, I’ve tried to challenge myself in that regard so as not to fall back into old habits. I look forward to the colouring process now as so much can be said with colour alone.
FYD: How do you spend time unwinding?
YL: Sleep tends to be a great way to unwind. Nothing like a few hours of being completely unconscious to really relax. I haven’t really yet figured out how to unwind and relax, though I’ve been told I should take up meditation or yoga. At the moment, I unwind by gaming (which I have also been told, is not a form of unwinding despite my protests). I’m enjoying Guild Wars 2, DoTA 2 and Saints Row 4. I do enjoy my wine! And cheese! What I’m really trying to say is that I’m hungry.
Find Yasmin on Twitter here.