For possibility of hiring/ commission

Please read Yiska's résumé or CV  (curriculum vitae) below

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Last updated on 6/14/2021
Availability - contract

Yiska's portfolio is an art portfolio that includes a series of Yiska's drawings, paintings and personal illustration from early years to present, available on web and print which he applies for potential employment. The website was first launched on 2007 that had few web contents at that time. The artwork has been added and the first version of page layer has created on Feburary 2009. The original idea that creates an online representation as web page with multiple thumbnails to quickly access the artist's gallery. Before the portfolio has built on web, Yiska's artwork was in print fomat and stored in clear sheets and cases. He has two Prat spiral books, a 9"x12" and a 5"x7", plus a 12"x18" hand-crafted hardboard folder that holds his watercolor pieces. Despite the fact that traveling with those bulky stuff for job interviews, he converted his portfolio into a digital form on web. Another distinguish is, some of his work appears signs of wear or gets stained with the passage of time. He has to photograph those work and save as digital formats that last longer. On August 2015, web layer has re-design that has spiral-bound sketchbook background with six labels as seen on today.

A brief his opinion on traditional art and digital art. Both of them are creative things that is given by human's natural talents. Yiska learned and grew with traditional mediums, that was usually working as "pencil on paper" - a primal way to start on his art journey. He was impressed by traditional method that easily get start with simple tools. Traditional art shows realistic style with complicated drawing techniques. However, computer generated art popularizes, and makes art simple graphic stylizations. Computer softwares provide editing functions that make change easily. Digital art trends simple, abstract and commercialized. It derives to new occupations of graphic design and animation, and has been widely using in many fileds when the market of traditional art descends effectively. It is my gratitude that I had taken drawing lessons in school, to understood art fundamentals, which is an initial step that leads me to artist.

The background is derived inspiration from a music video, a scene where a girl stands alone in a park, glowing light appears when she spreads her palms then scene moves in the air around a city, Yiska drew New York City as the background and a ferry that he toured in Boston harbor, scattered leaves are added to make image looks in a motion. this work that has convey a feeling of loneliness waiting in vain, which was an relunctant experience when Yiska relocated to New York from California in 2009. The life at the begining didn't go well, and he had a feelings towards someone but ending split up. The background color is designated to a kind of underwater vision in between of green and blue, more like undersea green that feels like deep sea, and to convey a feeling that feels like in the sea. nowadays to think back, time heals old sores and an illustration was created based on the story. Being an illustrator, hard time is inevitable to happen but through practice, develop illustrative style, doodling in quite sometime, is the life of an illustrator.

In conclusion, the layouts and all contents in this web site are created by Yiska, who is it? (please read next paragraph - Artist biography) Though he is an amateur web designer that barely knows html/css. any ideas that you'd like to discuss that would improve his work or web design, feel free to submit a message on Mail page above. Your comments are meant a lot to him.

image on the top: sketch of background art
click to view detail

Artist biography
Yiska 'Yikki' Chen, originally from China. His love of drawing was due to the fact that he read lots of picture books and cartoons throughout his childhood, and his parents brought him up with a sense of right and wrong. In his junior year of high school in China that he was initiated by two of art teachers into drawing and gouache painting. In 2006, he was major with illustration at Academy of Art in San Francisco, CA and graduated in early 2009, on which he well developed his interest towards watercolor and emphasized in clothed figure sketching. He enjoyed painting and those fine arts stuff but artists are very personal group to this society. After graduation, he relocated to Queens, NY in February, 2009. Spending time focusing my practice into freelance work and personal projects. Although to make a living as an illustrator is tough thing, he felt that he is fascinated with drawing people and fantasy story. His first job was took in a small agency where he assisted in illustrating and color rendering a children's game project. It was a contract job and soon to be terminated. from late 2010 till 2014, he worked as a junior designer at a printing shop and worked on his illustration in spare time. Later on he found out that his art talent was going to indirect way of the job. Frequently he was in a state of conflict to work. A graphic designer is more likely an informational thinker, and sometimes he'd endure yelling and complains from clients or manager, even he'd done nothing wrong. It's sad that worked on something rarely use of talent and people didn't appreciate it. As an illustrator, would have to take well with clients' instruction, however it is about drawing and artistic things that the nearest approach to his talent. In late 2014, he left designer position then returned to work on illustration.

Yiska usually starts with pencil sketching, then traces as ink drawing on a lighting pad, photographs and imports to computer that converts to vector style illustrations. Likewise Adobe illustrator , he has knowledge of Adobe photoshop, Corel painter and Dreamweaver. In 2015, Yiska's developed his work from single image towards storylines. Many of independent work is beautiful on their surface, without the ins and outs of the matter, the feelings from the image are hardly effective as the story does. A story contains sequential images can develop characters and plots which is more compelling in a way. Besides, storyboards are more freedom of drawing rather than individual pieces. So far his career is about to illustrate graphic novels.

Recently Yiska's domiciled in Queens, N.Y. where he's been working to get out his illustration into the market as much as possible, and plan on publishing his illustrative comic books, any hope that lead to get hired. If you wish to get in contact about anything - be this a commission, project idea, or just a simple comment - please get in touch via the submission form on his mail page above, it's gald to hear from you!

left image: Yiska in Central Park, New York, 2009

Be inspired
Wildlife are one of Yiska's favorites that inspire him to draw, in particularl of marine life. He's fascinated by the flow rhythm of water ripples, because they bring indescribable inspirations to him. A human's life lasts such a small amount of time, but human's minds are as broad as space. New York City is a big city of diversity where he was dreamed to live over here. The cityscape is amazing as it was, however it seems that a heart hardened society. It' was quite while to get through that time of live and work. Yiska's inspirations gain through time. Time is really cruel, all of things get down by it. life, human relations, markets, careers, even human's will, no one can be survive as time goes by, it would be very sad if feeling this way, as a person born with reluctant, live in an unwilling way. When he take a walk along a coast, to look at those flying birds, this would set him free, and refresh his mind with breath of fresh air, his inspiration will emerge then.

The exotic look of wildlife is another potential chance that he can develope with his characters and stories. To be honestly, he's never seen such colorful eyes in a variety of animals, they've evolved to be unique in a way. The natural things are great therapists. He once watched hundreds geese flying above the water, breeze blew over the water that created beautiful rhythm of waves, sun glitter reflected from water waves to make a momentary glitter. He's had some kind flash of artistic inspiration while enjoying the particular moment. In addition, Yiska draws ideas from ordinary scenes.

right image: momentary glitter, New York, 2015

Drawing style
Throughout Yiska's college years, he had been concentrated on figurative sketching, and completed a series of specific courses from entry level to advanced level in clothed figure drawing (1st, 2nd and 3rd level). the key of the practice is to form a few of geometrical shapes based on a model/prop that I draw to, use guide lines to depict his/her movement accurately, then overlay garments and folds/textures. to capture figure's movement and translate life into line and make it looks aesthetically with long time practice. As he was a student, the learning courses that in sequence are analysis of form to anatomy, figure to clothed figure, lights to shades and value to color. these which led me into tradition fine arts, the core of illustration is imagination, and the hardest thing to succeed in comics is facial experssions, at least to Yiska. Interest and natural talent are the reason why he treated it as a career.

Another drawing experience is that draw an item with perspective. When drawing something to, avoid to make a drawing looks flat, try to find correct angle and make the right ratio to draw every part of an item or figure. The difficult thing of head drawing that, is find where the face toward to, then divide head into three even length as forehead-to-eyebrow/eye-to-nose/mouth-to-jaw. Drawing from life is the best way to gain experience because people live in a realistic world. Next step is to use these basic skills with imagination to create an illustration. Yiska really admires the style in The Golden Age of illustration (1880's - 1920's) that characters are in semi-realistic proportions of the human figures. The little mermaid - one of Boris Diodorov's fairy tale illustration, flowing water drawing and fantasy scene were fascinating, that has been influenced him into that era art style. Furthermore, Rutu Modan, an author of her early work - The King of the Lillies, and notable work of Exit Wounds. The story plots and comic style are as wonderful gift inspires him to learn further in the filed of comic art. Some of Japanese manga, in particular of Soryo Fuyumi and Yumi Tada's comics that influence his drawing at his youth. After throughout college and solo-study, He changed style with simple color schemes with double cell shading without thick outline, and move forward to more realistic cartoon with less anime style, like big eyes. By reading a story in a book, or looking into the images on the pages, the artist's character can be found out through the images and the style. In short, a drawing style can identify the personality of the artist.

top left image: charcoal drawing at home, San Francisco, 2007
bottom left image: working on an illustration, San Francisco, 2008

The process of illustration
The left image with consecutive numbers that tells Yiska's illustration process. A sample of my work that a girl warrior escapes from a scene. Initially, gain an idea prior to drawing, as image #1, start with a pencil sketching of a scribble on a regular copy paper. A quick and rough sketching with few lines to form basic picture. Next image #2, a critical step, which is the frame of final work. To make a lot of change based on the rough sketching, includes size adjustment, character editing, line correction, composition design. Then set this final work in landscape format instead of portrait at the begining. Follow up to image #3, refine the drawing, increase more details of character and scene, add elements on the background. A lot of erase and re-draw are done in this step. On image #4, which is trace drawing, add a new paper by overlaying the original sketching on a tracing pad, my tracing equipment is Artograph Lightpad, model 930. Focus on inking with attention to use my calligraphy pen, a traditional dip pen with metal nibs and black india ink, and trace every single line. And then use alternate color other than black to highlight any corrections if found. In this sample, make a change of polar bear palm goes to different way. So increase drawing in blue ink over the inking copy. In image #5, repeat step 4, redo a second inking copy, as the final version of ink drawing.

Coloring procedure starts at image #6. Before the step, get the final ink drawing scanned or photographed, that prepares for digital coloring by computer-genegrated. Then proceed a value study that normally review light and shade. Apply with a basic layer on the background by watercolor mediums. Use bright yellow marker to highlight the light area, marker in gray color to applied on areas that mark as shade. Add a few paint in watercolor on background and everything else than main characters. Eventually, for last image #7, it is computer-genegrated coloring work, import the final inking copy from scanner/camera to Adobe Photoshop, create a new file in RGB mode with at least 150 dpi resolution, and paste the inking copy into the file to get line refining, remove all noise pixels. To make it desaturated and send it to top layer with Multiply blend mode. After that, add several new layers underneath for each element in the illustration. Yiska's digital drawing device is Wacom Intuos4 pen tablet. chose brush tool, his brush preference is that angle towards upper-left, 50%-60% roundness, 100% hardness. In option of Shape Dynamics, he prefers size jitter with control in Pen pressure, and angle jitter with control in Initial Direction. All brush strokes are as opaque as 100% opacity. He rarely change brush opacity only as needed for some special effect as smokes, wate splash or etc. The file size is about 14Mb in Tiff format. The preview of final work can view here. Hope this tutorial inspires you.

left image: steps of Yiska's illustration from begining to completed, New York, 2016
(#1-thumbnail, #2-first pencil rough, #3- initial correction,
#4- first inking version, #5- final inking copy, #6- value study, #7- final digital work )

Art materials
Working with traditional materials on drawing, such as pencil for sketching, charcoal for light toning. traditional materials create realistic images with low cost of the ordering value. Yiska learned about pen tablet and digital media through his college years. Yet he has root with traditional drawing kit to initial his artwork. And those shown as follows were valuable experience that make his drawing techniques versatile.

Watercolor is an economic way to color art. the way Yiska loves it is because paint mixed with water to create many vital and varied results. watercolor painting look more likely live and fluidable compare to those digital work/ oil painting. and with its unique look that cannot make any exact copy. the core of watercolor is to control water to paint/mix, all bluish color are difficult to paint evenly, he still have this problem to create smooth and even layer wash such as blue sky/ wave in the background. watercolor basically starts from light to dark, back to front. He's been using Daniel Smith brand watercolor tube paints since 2007 when the unit price started as 6.97. Recently they cost twice the price. For paper that he prefers 140lb paper with slight texture that can lighten colors, normally choose hot press paper that have smooth texture for portrait. additional materials such as masking fluid, gum arabic (to reactivate dried paint tube) are not required, sometimes use egg tempera to highlight by covering light over dark. Dr. Ph. Martin's pen-white opaque ink can do the same job as well. He use kolinsky pointed tip brushes to create detail, like Kalish series 7 designer or Rosemary and Co. series 22. The favorable Winsor Newton series 7 size 7 and a size 9 that work very well on large area of work. When doing flat wash, a size 3/4" or 1" Grumbacher aquarelle No.6142 are considered a good choice.

Drawing technique is important regardless of how good grade of materials that artist has. A breautiful drawing can be done simply by pencil on paper. Digital drawing tools include Wacom pen tablet and pen stylus but are not limited to other tablets, with computer experience of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator is great addition.

top right image: Yiska's art materials, San Francisco, 2009
bottom right image: drawing kit

Meaning of life
Like many other artistic people, Yiska is one of them that works on his own before becoming independent by art career. The longest time of life is about career. The period of time that usually exists a lot of events that happen, and meet with many kinds of people on occasions, to arouse interest in many different things. Time tells Yiska that something goes shortly and interest changes. He knew, in the gut, illustration is likely a long-term friend that he always enjoy with, the feel's joyous after completing his work, and the passion that he's been pursuing it since his graduation from college, even got interrupted from other jobs, the true feel led him to continue it, not as any other interests last that long in his entire life. The fact that an interest in drawing wouldn't be enough to lead who goes to succeed, a director who discovers the talent of a person and spotlights in the world that is considered more important than artists.

Time management is imperative principle for many freelancers. Illustrating a image is sort of time consumption that requires brain work with handcrafted job. Ideas can come as soon as a moment, then work on sketches and refining would take quite some time in the process, which like as the base of a work. Yiska usually had done his homework by weekly at college. As he work as individual, job deadline may vary by hiring manager. The idea that he starts on a job as soon as the direction is given, the earlier the better. Plan ahead to work on a job that means he will be likely to produce artwork with quality craftsmanship. Life habits is secondary impotantance that affects illustration career, Yiska used to stay late at night, with long hour sitting to work. Ate food as a vegetarian does. After a such illness was caught, the way of his life had gradually changed. Starting work on the rising sun, and get off by the setting sun. Aerobic exercise has become the essential part of life that sustains his health and energy. He even went swimming as a hobby in daily routine. The last part is about soft ability. There always someone that has more talented haven't been discovered to become well-known. Lack of a good expression ability, as well as promotion. A mere talent would make their life harder.

The inspiring success story of J.K. Rowling is a true gift for Yiska. His life is as broad as the sea. Confront with rough sea that he is small as fish. Go through the sea to land would be a long time, along with those negative feelings, such as fear, stress and frustration from the dark side of life. The adversity is a chance that he's able to explore the true himself, then find the determination to succeed in the illustration filed he believes he truly belongs.

bottom right image: great waves, Pacifica, CA 2009