Digital artist who hopes to prepare for a career in cinema makes “ugly” insects into cute “creations”

Written by: 
Dani Casto

It is not uncommon for Brandon Huang, a senior from Taiwan studying fine arts, to pull out his sketchbook and begin drawing. After settling with the finishing touches on his drawing, Huang’s sketches later take on a different form when they are transformed into digital art. He hopes one day his digital art can make cinematic appearances.


“My favorite art is digital painting, [where] you paint on the computer,” said Huang. “You can use software like Photoshop or Illustrator. Mainly I use Illustrator. Digital painting allows you to have a lot of freedom. You can do whatever you want, but it operates differently. You have to think about different layers. It’s easy to control, but at the same time, it can be hard. You have to think differently in order to do what you want.


“I started when I was in High School, at the time I wasn’t really good at it. I just liked to do it. I started doing little figures and posters. I watched a lot of animation like Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and I thought, ‘Can I create the same thing that they do?’ I wanted to start learning. I started painting since I was little.”


As the world progresses in technology, Ellyn Brown, a senior from California majoring in painting, said digital painting as an art form is booming. “Did you see the last Avengers? Think about how Thanos was made. It was by computers, digital artists. At the end of it, in the credits, there was this huge list of digital artists.”


Jeff Merrill, associate professor of visual arts, said, “There’s a huge industry for it. There’s gaming, film, advertising, all sorts of things use digital types of illustrations. [Huang] really resonates with that. He wants to pursue that and get into that industry. The thing that is interesting about him is his perspective on creating images. That’s what he needs. The skills can be learned.”


Huang’s current passion is to one day do cinematic illustration. He said, “For now, I’m picking up the skills and techniques from this school. My plan is to go to an art school. Personally, I’m not really good at expressing myself through words, like writing, but when I draw, I feel more comfortable expressing my feelings and myself. One thing amazing about art, that you find out, is that the more time you put into it, the greater result you get.”


One of the artistic tendencies Brown finds interesting about Huang is his habit in drawing bugs. “He chooses the ugliest bugs. I remember there was one, and it was a maggot, and those are so nasty, but he made this maggot so cute. It was a maggot in a tree stump, and what it looked like to me was the maggot staring out with sad, big eyes, and the dad was flying away.


“[Brandon] said this, ‘I like making ugly things cute or not ugly anymore.’ It is such a simple concept, and he does his digital art so well.


“I love the idea of making ugly things cute. I, honestly, love that painting of that maggot, even though I hate maggots so much.”


Drawing bugs in their natural surroundings has helped Huang appreciate the smaller details more. He said, “In Hawaii, we are surrounded by a natural environment. I appreciate it, and I want to pay more attention to the tiny things around us. I want people to look at those elements. I like bugs. I think bugs are one of the most creative creations from Heavenly Father.


“I do drawings in classes and sometimes between classes. Sometimes, when I see a blank space in a textbook, I just want to fill it in. I start drawing things and inspiration just comes. I come up with ideas. I do it everywhere, I just carry my sketchbook with me.”


Brown also said that Huang’s ability to sketch also makes him a great oil painter, and counseled that if you want to improve your artistic talents, “you can do it. You can get better at it if you are willing to keep trying. I think the simple things can really make an impact in the art world. Take some classes. If you don’t know how to draw, you’re not going to know how to paint well. You have to know the principles and elements of art in order to do those things.


“My advice to anyone struggling with digital painting or any kind of art: If you find out this is something you like or love to do, you just pace your time to do it,” said Huang. “It is not an easy path to go. It takes a lot of time to practice and observe. If this is something you really want to do, jump into it.”•

Date Published: 
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, July 17, 2018