Crystal Kung started to draw when she was a child. She was born in Xi’an, China, but was raised in Taipei, Taiwan, where she moved at the age of five. As a young girl, Crystal enjoyed reading art books. During the high school years, drawing became more important to her, and she focused on illustration. After all, high school was the place where she picked the college major. Just like so many of us surrounded by not overwhelmingly appealing urban landscape, she was realizing that more art could help to improve aesthetics, what was making her even more determined. Despite of prevailing Japanese Manga style – while trying to express peaceful warm feelings – she started to develop her own style, something, this talented artist considers one of her main goals. During the interview Crystal expressed, that most inspiration comes from people she saw through out the streets, and that’s what she features in warm calming colors.
How did you first get into illustration?
I started drawing as a child, but I didn’t take it seriously until I went to high school and we had to pick a college major. I can’t imagine getting a job that has nothing to do with drawing, and I chose study art at college because of that. I felt confused because I’ve not had training in the past, and I’ve not been taught to use the tools. It made me really disappointed, so I worked really hard and tried my best to gain an understanding. Since then, I’ve seen drawing as a career, not just a habit.
How has your background influenced your work?
I was born in Xi’an, China and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. I visit my grandparents every year – which gives me a chance to visit China. I see the differences between the two countries when I go. I enjoy traveling between the two countries because I love drawing people, and this gives me the chance to see new people and to get in touch with their culture. I think that this has influenced me a lot.
What motivates you to create art?
I read art books ever since I was a kid. Seeing their works always urged me to work hard so that I can be as successful like them. As well as that, the feedback from my following encourages me to better myself.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I like to draw people, and most of my inspiration comes from the people I see on the streets. I always come up with something new, whether its while I am walking or while I am taking a shower.
Fish in cages
How would you best describe your style of illustration?
I am not able to define my style clearly, and that’s because it is continuously changing. I am always changing my style so that it can be easily distinguished. Many Taiwanese artists are influenced by Japanese Manga. I tried my best to avoid this infection, as I want to be unique. The pursuit of a personal style will always be my main goal.
How do you feel about your own work?
I want to show warmth in my work, so I work with individual people as well as couples. I hope that the people who see my artwork can feel love when they’re looking at what I do. I use a lot of yellows and other warm colors as part of my color palette.
What is your state of mind whilst you’re working on an illustration?
I am always thinking about how to make an artwork look more beautiful when I am working on it. I keep trying out different things with both light and shadow before finishing the work.
Describe the types of software and processes you use to create illustrations.
Most of my works are done in Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes I enjoy working with ink and watercolors to create artworks.
Do you think that attending art school is a must; so that the artist has all of the groundwork laid out before they move on alone?
Actually, I’ve never gone through professional training. Even in college, they never taught us how to do all of these things. I think that the technique and processes are not the most important thing when it comes to drawing. You can learn nearly all of it on the Internet – there are many art tutorials on many websites like YouTube. The hardest thing when it comes to creating artworks is catching the eye, and telling a story through the picture I’ve drawn.
I don’t think attending an art school is necessary. Keep practicing, and show your artworks to others. Both of those are more important.
What are you hoping to achieve in the near future?
I hope to make my style more distinctive in future. Also, I hope to meet other artists and work with them. I hope I could study abroad after graduating from college. The world is so big and I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes instead of staying on this small island.