Charlene Chua illustrating the world

Being a fan of anything to do with art and comics in particular, I contacted Artist Illustrator Charlene Chua to find out what she’s been up to of late and throw a few questions at her about her work.

This very talented lady who has worked for some of the top names in the world, The Wall Street Journal, Google, Penthouse and Konami to name but a few, has kindly agreed to spend some time with us.

So Charlene can you give our readers a little bio about yourself how you got started and where it all began etc?

Hi! My name is Charlene Chua and I am an illustrator. I started doing freelance gigs in 2003, and in a couple of years decided to make it my full time career. Most of my work is done in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop these days, and I work on a Wacom Cintiq.

I enjoyed drawing as a child, and when I was a teen I wanted to do comics. My uncle was an illustrator at the time, and I helped him out with a couple of small jobs back then. Eventually I tried studying design, but that didn’t work out. I ended up working in design anyway, first as a web designer and later as print one. I also was a project manager for a short period of time. I got tired of working those jobs, so eventually I quit and with my husband’s encouragement, eventually transitioned over into being an illustrator.

Your illustrations are just superb can you give us an insight in to your methodology of work starting with a blank canvas?

When I have a project brief, that is usually the first thing on my mind when I create. I try to imagine what the client wants, and where the art will end up before I even consider the artistic approach.
I normally start sketching out ideas on paper. These are really small, rough drawings. I try to do them quickly and not spend too much time working on the details. This way I can try out ideas or angles quickly.

Eventually I narrow down a few roughs I like. I scan these in and drop them into Photoshop. Using my Cintiq (the Cintiq is a large pressure sensitive monitor made by Wacom), I draw the sketch in Photoshop. Drawing digitally allows me to tweak a lot of things easily, and sometimes add on to the original idea from the sketch. I can also easily refer to photo references on my computer this way.

When the sketch is done, I email it over to
the client. The client approves it and I start working on the color artwork in Illustrator. I normally bring the color art into Photoshop at the end for additional effects and adjustments

I love your Vampyr and Goth Girl where did your inspiration come for these, and do you enjoy creating a dark side to character over say a super hero type?

I’ve always had a soft spot for stuff that is dark and romantic. Though perhaps not too feminine, like fairies and lots and lots of lace.

Besides Illustrator are there any other mediums or software you enjoy working with like oils or pastels?

I do like working with ink. I wish I could paint better – sometimes I enjoy watercolour but I can’t control it very well. When I was younger I enjoyed working with colored pencil.

Are there any hobbies or interests that you have outside your day job?

They’re quite mundane activities… I like to cook for me and my husband. Simple, mostly healthy meals, nothing fancy usually. It gives me something else to concentrate on for a short period of time each day, that’s still creative in its own way but not at the studio. I like walking around and looking for neat stuff in stores. My husband reviews video games so I like to watch him play. Occassionally I will play a game with him, but more often I sit around and um, give helpful suggestions.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be and illustrator, are there any courses or training you would recommend?

Education is good, if you have access to a good school and have the money for it. I am self taught, and while I do wish I did get a degree, on the other and I do think it’s possible to get by without one as an illustrator. Conversely, having a degree in illustration is by no means a guarantee you’ll be a successful illustrator. I think it really all depends on the individual – some people will do better going to school and others not so much. Either way, you still need to work hard, have a lot of patience and discipline, spend your money wisely and have some luck on your side.

For improving technical skills, life drawing classes are always helpful, and it can’t hurt to take painting classes. There are also some very good videos online and full courses you can take through online schools, if going to a full time school isn’t an option.

Well out time is just about up but before we let you out of our little dungeon here at Razberry Juice we like to ask a few fun questions smiles

If you were a cartoon character who would it be?

I would like to be the Unicorn in The Last Unicorn, though I don’t think I would actually be her if I got turned into a cartoon.

Do you sing in the shower?


Are you scared of spiders or more importantly leprechauns?

I quite like spiders, they’re helpful little creatures. Leprechauns are highly suspect though. I just presume they’re the ones making the bumping noises in the wall, and not one of the neighbourhood cats.

What’s your favourite movie?

That’s hard. I don’t watch that many movies but the ones I love, I love a lot. I like the original Godzilla a lot. And Jurassic Park.

Well I really has been a pleasure Charlene getting to chat with you and I hope you keep us up today with all your latest news

Thanks gain for giving up some of your time

For more information and work of Charlene please visit her sites below