Friday, July 7, 2017

LeUyen Pham: One Artist, Different Styles

LeUyen Pham has illustrated SO MANY AMAZING THINGS, and she is as fun and energetic in person as she is in her work.

LeUyen loves classic, detailed, realistic art, and that's what she studied and worked in first. But when trying to develop a new, flat style for certain stories, she had a conundrum, which you may have run into: HOW?

Developing a new style means coming up with new rules to follow the way you followed rules in art classes. You have to change the rules for yourself and scramble your brain a little.

LeUyen found that for a flat style she couldn't use detail and shading like in realistic art, but had to rely on silhouettes and straight lines juxtaposed with curves.

LeUyen's rule for her learning how to use her flat style was she could ONLY draw shapes for the book's characters/props first before any bit of detail.

And while doing flat style work, she was still submitting for more classic/realistic work. But she also tried to improve on her existing classic style, so she applied a new rule here, too, to never work from a photo, only life sketches. Her realistic illustrations are based on figure study after figure study after figure study, and she challenges the illustrator audience to do things like draw our subjects upside down or from the foot up to help with that brain scrambling she mentioned earlier.

For any of her art styles, she never gives up on this mantra: THE LINE IS FINE. She shares some of her sketchbook drawings and admonishes us to always have a sketchbook, you do NOT need to show it to anybody, but you should always be filling it up as much as you can and working on your drawing skills.

And the faster you can draw? The fresher the art looks, the quicker you'll get to the heart of the image. LeUyen's advice? Sit on/in the most uncomfortable place to get better at drawing faster!

Dear lord. LeUyen only gets about four hours of sleep a night, she's really Dan Santatting things! She does five books a year (90 so far!) and describes her typical day to us which starts around 6 am and ends at 2 am.

She figures she's done those 90 books in about 4 or 5 different styles, and that she surely could have stuck to one and perhaps have had more commercial success and recognition, but she doesn't feel comfortable being comfortable in her art. That feels like death to her. So she is constantly trying new things/styles and ways of creating.

Find many of LeUyen's books here on Indiebound!

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