Hello everyone!! My name is Yao Khuan and before I tell you more about myself, I would first like to thank Charlie O’Shields for starting this wonderful movement for us of all, as well as giving me this opportunity to share my story with you guys! Hope you guys like it! (Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and visit my website!)
I was born and raised in sunny island Singapore! I’m the youngest in my family and I consider myself to be very lucky as both my parents were very supportive of me pursuing fine arts. My mum was like a mentor to me, whenever I showed her a piece of my artwork, she would give her honest opinion instead of simply dishing out compliments. My dad worked long hours just to provide us with the education and a comfortable home for me to pursue my dreams. I owe all of my achievements to them, thanks mum and dad!
Being a 90s kid, I grew up watching Pokemon, Digimon, collecting Magic The Gathering cards (for the graphics only, I didn’t know how to play. haha). I was really into MMORPG games such as Maplestory and MUonline, they were what inspired me to draw my own fantasy characters.
What influenced me the most back then would probably be Warcraft III, where I’d play the campaign just to watch the cinematics that Blizzard created, this extraordinary world of fantasy and magic. I could still remember how I’d just oogle at the drawings at the loading page, thinking to myself “how I wish I could draw like this.”
So I just kept practicing and practicing, drawing all sorts of monsters and creatures. I had so much fun doing them that I could go on and on for hours, going into all the tiniest little details. Back then all my works were done in pencil or pen, void of any colors at all, I was so afraid of adding colors as I thought it would ruin my drawings!
It wasn’t until secondary school where we had to use colors for our art coursework when I started adding colors to my works. I started with water soluble color pencils, but I found it too tedious to cover larger surface areas and they went blunt really fast. Thus I ended up trying watercolor because of my laziness to sharpen the color pencils! Hahaha
I tried and failed many times while painting with watercolor. Even now, I still make mistakes but I’ve learnt how to “cover up” those mistakes. Sometimes when I’m lucky I get happy accidents, where the achieved effect wasn’t what i planned but still looked great so i leave it as it is. That is the fun of using watercolor, you’d never know what you would end up with!
My current favorite brand of watercolor would be Van Gogh, as I feel that the colors are really soothing to look at and very much close to nature. During junior college, I started to do more portraiture, largely influenced by pop culture.
I painted celebrities that I liked such as Nina Dobrev, Lana Del Rey and Katy Perry(love her songs)!
One of the most awesome things that happened to me was that I had the opportunity to give my painting of Katy Perry to her! And in return, I got an autographed copy. It still feels so surreal today even though it happened 3 years ago!
Currently, I am an art tutor at SYKconcept.com, a company started by myself and a friend of mine! We had a common vision to elevate the local creative scene into a machine of unique content generation. We believe Singapore has an untapped talent pool, one that could stand strong for itself. During days where I’m not teaching, I would work on commissions as well as personal projects such as the online tutorials which I’m working on currently! I’ve met students from different walks of life, some of which were not as lucky to be able to pursue their passion for the arts and it brings me great joy to see their interest rekindled!
For the next few years I would very much like to keep working on building SYK Concept, branching out into a school and hopefully gain international recognition!
Art has always been close to my heart and I really wish that I can inspire others to do the same to chase their dreams! With that, thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say and I do hope to hear from you guys! Happy Painting!!
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!