At the the start of the month, FIA caught up with Singapore-based fashion illustrator Alex Tang Wei Hao. His talent and unique style have garnered attention from the global illustration community and top fashion brands alike. He is a self taught artist, and it is incredible to see how far he has honed his skill and developed a signature approach to creating showstopping portraits! His subject of preference is the female form and we asked him a few fun questions so we could introduce him to our FIA community and learn more about his career so far.
When did you start illustrating?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember but I only started illustrating professionally in 2015.
How were you able to turn your passion and creativity into a career? How did you learn the dreaded business side of it?
I would say it all happened as an accident. I got my first gig from a clothing brand for commissioned work through instagram in 2013. More opportunities followed and I realised I can possibly turn it into a career which i’m glad I did. Regarding the business side, lots of guessing and searching online involved when I first started. I also reached out to fellow illustrators for advice and guidance. You’d be surprised how willingly people are to help out a newbie.
Do you draw better when: you’re inspired or when you have a deadline? (Either/ or)
I draw much better on my own terms and pace. Therefore I don’t like taking commissions that have a deadline unless it is a project that I can really connect with or feel inspired by.
How do you motivate yourself to keep going when you don’t feel like it?
Seeing the work by other artists motivates me greatly to work harder to improve my skill. So when I feel unmotivated, I will take a break and look at other artists’ beautiful work to fuel myself with inspiration and drive. Nothing feels better when you manage to push through it and outdo yourself. Of course, a well deserved break is essential in between work to keep myself going. That usually involves a good meal and Netflix.
What fashion brand would you say is your favourite?
My favourite brands at the moment are Loewe and Jil Sander.
How do you decide what projects to take on/ or what to draw?
When choosing a project, the most important factor is that the project has to connect with me in some way. A strong urge to dive deeper into it after the initial brief.
When deciding what to draw for myself, I will go with my own flow. I don’t normally have an idea in my head when I sketch, I will let the picture take its own shape. I will also look at what is trending at the moment and try to inject it into my work. It is a good way to get your work seen by more people. Lastly, it is the client’s budget. Always know your worth and don’t settle for less.
What would you say to someone who wants to illustrate as a career but doesn’t know how to start?
Have enough personal works to put together a portfolio to show your range of skills or abilities and highlight your art style and put it up online (your own website or art portfolio websites)
Grow your social media presence (engage with your followers, like, comment and share others work, participate in art challenges and competitions)
Just keep drawing, your audience will find you.
If you were on a desert island, would you take your sketchbook and pencils or your iPad?
My good ol’ trusty pencil and paper for sure because I doubt I can charge my iPad on a desert island.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
Pharmacist. I have a master’s degree in Pharmacy.
Thanks to Alex for his time and we wish him even greater success in 2021! We also have something very special coming in February which Alex will be involved in and we can’t wait to reveal all..
Follow Alex on Instagram HERE!