Artist Interview - Teoh Yi Chie
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Teoh Yi Chie from Singapore. Most people probably know me from my online alias Parka from my blog Parkablogs.com.
I’m an infographics journalist who creates graphics for newspapers. Some examples of things I do could be to recreate the sequence of events that lead up to an accident, or I could create an illustration to accompany a story.
Other than my job, I also run my blog that features art books and art products. On top of that, I’ve just started my Youtube Channel to share some of my sketching tips.
Why do you do what you do?
I like art so I should say I’m quite fortunate to find a job that’s art related. Other than create art for work, I also sketch on my free time. I enjoy sketching outdoors with my friends. Art is fun, and it can be stimulating for the mind. I guess that’s why artists don’t stop painting even after they retire.
How and when did you get into art?
It’s probably when I was a kid. My first exposure to art is through comics. I’m a big fan of Japanese and Asian comics. I marvel at the artworks from the comics and would often draw my favourite characters from them.
Over the years, I have stopped reading comics but I still catch up with Japanese animation occasionally.
It’s only in 2009 when I joined Urban Sketchers Singapore that I began to draw again, more seriously and frequently. I met a lot of friends there and every month we would meet somewhere to draw.
How has your practice changed over time?
With art, practise makes perfect. Also, when you have a lot of artist friends, you can learn a lot from them as well.
My art definitely looks more confident now when compared to the past. This is due to inspiration by other artists. I think it’s natural you want to get better when you see that there are such beautiful artworks out there being created by other artists. To create a beautiful artwork for yourself is immensely satisfying.
What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?
It’s difficult to pick a favourite piece. I guess I have to choose all the watercolour sketches that I have painted with Kremer Pigments. They have really granulating paints and provide a textural look that is difficult to match by other brands.
What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
A sketchbook in hand is worth two in the bag. It’s a quote from Peter Parr’s book ‘Zen of Drawing’. While I like to sketch and I often bring my sketchbook around, I don’t use them as much because they are always in my bag. I realised that when they are in hand, it’s just so easy to open up and draw something, draw more frequently.
Recently, I was given a pocket sized sketchbook. It’s so small it can fit into a pocket. It was with me almost all the time while I was on vacation and I was using it a lot because it’s so accessible. And it’s great for sketching when you don’t have the time because you don’t need a lot of time to fill the small pages.
What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
One watercolour tip that I learned is that if you use a limited palette for colour mixing, it’s easier to achieve colour harmony. For example, if I have a 12 pan watercolour set, I would rarely use more than 5 colours for mixing.
Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
Most artworks I create are actually in pen, ink and watercolour style. When I do make a mistake, I may stop and draw something else on another area of the page to turn it into a collage, or I may just keep on drawing and ignore the mistake. It’s not a big deal to make a mistake when sketching. You learn more from mistakes than from pieces that are flawless because each time you look at the mistake, you’re reminded to not make the same mistake. Also, with such mistakes, chances are you’re the only person who knows that they are mistakes. The person viewing your work may not.
What is your favorite Strathmore paper?
The Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media Journal with 100% cotton is great for mixed media work.
What art materials could you not live without?
I like pen and ink so I can’t live without them.