cute food illustrations and art advice with yan yan candy ng
Step inside this quirky, cute and colourful home studio.
Hi Candy! Tell us a bit about yourself. I am an Australian-Chinese illustrator and artist. My work is inspired by food, nature and little moments of life. Other than working in the creative field, I am also into animal and community work – I work casually as a pet sitter and in hospitality, plus I also volunteer at a local church and as an animal foster carer. When I am not working I enjoy a good meal with friends, or outdoor adventures like hiking, snorkelling or roller skating.How did you become an illustrator and artist? I studied and trained as a graphic designer at the beginning of my career, but I always drew on the side to get my creative balance. Then one day I found out a friend passed away from cancer – that moment hit me and I realised life is too short! I quit my full-time job then and took a gap year to learn and try out new things. I tried screen printing, sign painting, ceramics and being a gallery assistant before focusing on digital illustration and painting art and murals.What’s a regular day like work-wise for you? Every day is different. It changes depending on what I have to do for the week. If it is painting or making little clay objects, then I will usually use my home studio. If it is admin, designing new merch and digital commissions then I can basically work anywhere, usually my home studio, local library, or even someone else’s home (when I pet and house sit). I love being able to change my scenery from time to time, it helps me to get things done. After work, I will go for a swim and read a few pages of a novel by the pool for relaxation. My ritual to finish off the day is to write down a to-do list for the next day before going to bed.How would you describe your illustration style? People often describe my work as quirky and cheerful. It is about celebrating little things in life with a healthy dose of positivity. I like to draw food packaging, positive self-reminders and my own memories of nature and animals.
We love your food-themed illustrations. Is food a big inspiration for you? 100%! Food can trigger our past and create new memories. Memory goes beyond the food itself – it can bring you to places, uplift your mood, create connections and conversations. I guess growing up my family often used food as an excuse for gathering; it really is a conversation starter, or maybe it just gives the body something to do so it makes the social experience less awkward and more enjoyable!What’s your illustration process like? I usually do a quick online search to clarify any information I need to know. Then I will brainstorm and sketch down some ideas on a piece of paper (rather in my sketchbook or on back of a receipt). After that I will refine the idea digitally or sometimes I will just paint my idea on a piece of wood. For murals, I generally do a mock-up on Photoshop and print it out as a reference. After that, I will do some loose markups on the wall before colouring and painting the details.
You’ve created socks, washi tape, stickers and pins out of your illos. What’s next?
I will have a new pin and keychain up for new merch in the upcoming month. I am also thinking of a side illustrative project based on some of the novels I read and maybe podcasts I listened to. And I will have an exhibition down the line, too.How did you find working on the MSI Creator Z17? The MSI Creator Z17 is quite fast – I appreciate its efficiency. Its screen display is sharp and true-to-colour too. I used it to take a video call and it worked delightfully. I accidentally found out it is a touchscreen laptop! It was a nice little surprise! It's nice to be able to use it as a laptop when working from other places and then at my desk I can use a keyboard and mouse extension to set the laptop at eye level while working.Any tips for budding illustrators out there? Explore as many techniques/styles/things as you want because no one will expect you to be perfect when you first start out. Try to tell a story from your own perspective and the more you do it the more you will learn about yourself, what you are drawn to, and what you want to avoid. A good tip I am still using is to never wait for your “dream project” – create your own instead!
This sunny chat was presented by MSI and their new Creator Z17 laptop. It has a pen-touch display, rich pixel density and long-lasting battery life so you can create all day without finding a powerpoint. For more, head to au.msi.com