Art of Chow 2017 Year in Review

With every year, I always look back at my favourite pieces each month. Every painting I do (and even those I don’t publish) teach something different. Every artwork only makes your next one better. I always see it as a game; imagine yourself leveling up every time you draw and paint. It’s a good way to see it even if not every piece is a masterpiece.

With that said, here is my elaborate blog on what my favourite pieces this year and what I’ve learned from each one.

Jan 2017: Scarlett and Wolf
I started off the year inspired by elaborate pixel art. While I am too much of a painter to really enjoy the process of pixel art myself, I decided to take their shape language into a piece. This particular piece actually taught me a lot about shapes in a composition.
I can look back and think, however, that the rendering style just isn’t something I want to do again. Changing the way the “paint” looks will be a very common theme throughout this year.

Feb 2017: A2
This really was the beginning of my year of NieR: Automata hype. However, I like this artwork not because of the franchise it’s based on. It emitted a mood through its subtle values and simplified dark shapes which I would struggle to replicate until much later in the year.
Another note to make is this piece actually influenced the way I drew female faces for the rest of the year. A large amount of time was used to solidify the way this character looked. Trust me, nobody wants to see how she looked in the defunct versions.

March 2017: NieR: Automata
In a fairly dry month of art, this piece would be my pick for the least criminal. While I look back at this thinking it’s a bit too soft, I like the mood it creates.

April 2017: PAB
This one artwork in particular would dictate a huge number of artwork for the rest of the year. I’ve started to push the painterly look of my artwork and see where it ends up, ala Ashley Wood’s style. It gave my paintings a bit of flair which I felt was missing in a lot of my artwork in 2016.

May 2017: The Werewolf Magi
Simply put, I like the shape language and the smokiness of this. It’s still one of my favourite pieces this year.

June 2017: McCree Gear
I will admit I haven’t played Overwatch as much as I would make it seem like it through all my fan art. It did inspire me to try to take their characters into the “Metal Gear” style. The looseness of this piece took me back down to Earth when it comes to avoiding rendering too much.

July 2017: Morrigan
I try to avoid lewd artwork but I had this composition in mind for awhile. I really enjoyed creating the sense of light in combination with the painterly look I had in my previous works. The sense of light is something I wanted to bring back for my artwork, though something not as conspicuous as this. I also liked the way I simplified the hair, managing to balance an extremely saturated colour in this way.

This is one of my best pieces this year, and arguably my favourite. Don't expect this type of content all the time (if ever again) but I learned a lot from this one.

August 2017: Aisling
Similar to the previous month’s, this piece created a sense of dramatic lighting which worked for me. What changed was this is substantially more subtle in its approach. This is still one of my favourite pieces this year.

September 2017: AXIL Cats Above the Clouds
This is similar to January’s piece where I really enjoyed creating the shapes. This piece is one of the stronger ones this year for its shape language. However, what really pushed this one for me was combining that with the painterly looks from months prior. The simplicity of the colours is going to be something I go back to later on as well.

Oct 2017: The Snakes
The feeling of wind always gets me. This was a particular weak month but I did like how this piece turned out. For me, characterizing male characters can be a bit difficult and this one seemed to work.
As with the rest, simplistic colours and value-based compositions were the main focus this year.

Nov 2017: A n i m e
One of my best compositions to date. This was surprisingly subtle despite being dramatic. It isn’t anything special when it comes to colours but I am really proud of everything coming together like this.

Dec 2017: The Sound of Concrete
This was a deceptively difficult composition to balance. For those who do character-in-environment illustrations, the right balance between how much space a character occupies and its surroundings occupy is the most important decision to make.

As you may have seen in the previous pieces, a lot of them were just characters floating in space or abstract shapes. This one goes full cycle and puts a character in an environment again, going back to what I started off this year.

Dec 2017: NieR - 2B and 9S
I’m going to sneak in this one because I also really like how this turned out. It’s a callback to everything I’ve mentioned in this post melded together. There are still some things I want to incorporate in future work, but this one is quite close to what I’ve been aiming for since the start of the year.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you all in the new year!


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