Artist Name: Ziang Her
What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?
Designer and illustrator, but we’re all artists.
What kinds of work do you currently do and/or what kinds of projects have you worked on in the past?
I currently do mainly fantasy illustrations. I’ve done character concept art, print and logo designs, and am currently working on my graphic novel which is dark fantasy.
Could you talk about how you got into art or doing what you do today? What’s your story? What made you want to pursue this path? Were there any challenges you had along the way?
I graduated with a Bachelors in Art, with my emphasis on graphic design due to my school not having a specific degree for illustration. After graduation, I worked as a production artist for The Fresno Bee in their community and custom publications department. After that I apprenticed at a tattoo shop and then stopped creating art for four years. I had to get a regular full time job to pay bills because sometimes doing what you love doesn’t necessarily make the income you need to pay all your bills. It took me attending WonderCon’s artist alley in 2014 for me to realize that even if you step away from art, as an artist that part of you will never go away. Your journey may not be a straight line, but you will eventually end up where you need to be. It made me realize that I was miserable in the four years not being able to create and that woke me up. So I reevaluated where I was in my life and jumped back into creating full time. I haven’t looked back. Mentally, I’m the healthiest I have ever been in any job because when you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. And getting to share what you create with the world is something I wish everyone can experience.
Did you attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it and would you recommend it? If you did not attended college or did not majored in anything art-related, what advice would you give to those who are in a similar situation and want to pursue art or improve their craft?
I was originally pre-med/pre-nursing before I added an art degree with my emphasis in Design, which I’m very grateful for. The art and design program actually taught me about the business side of things because it as a graphic design program. Most art programs don’t have classes for contracts, and business practices. I have that in my background and it’s opened doors for me. I am now currently teaching a business class for illustrators getting ready to graduate and I wouldn’t be able to do it if not for my degree and background.
Some people don’t realize that many artists have day jobs in addition to their art career. Do you have a day-job or do you do art full-time? How do you balance art with work and life? How do you find time to work on art?
Recently my boyfriend of 12 years became a State Farm agent. And to help him succeed, I am working with him in the office so my art has been set aside to part time, but it is my goal to go back to it full time as soon as I am able to, time permitting. I also recently started teaching a college level class on business practices for graduating students in the illustration sector of the design program at my old university. My advice is that if you want something bad enough, you make time for it and you make it happen. You get what you put into it.
Often times people associate artists with the “starving artist” mentality, even though we know this is not always true. How do you make money from your work?
I work on various private projects, sell my art online, and sell at events and conventions.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’m inspired by stories, fairytales and folklore. I love visualizing words.
What kinds of tools do you use to make your work? What is your typical artistic process like?
The more I work with digital media, the more I find myself going back to traditional media. My typical process is doing research on specific themes and ideas that I want to illustrate (usually a series of pieces) and once I have that finalized, I start sketching out ideas. Depending on what project it is will determine what medium I select. I tend to work bigger rather than smaller so that if I decide to make prints of the artwork later, I don’t run into size/resolution issues.
Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?
Yes, there are so many. I love Alphonse Muccha, I really enjoy and have met Adam Hughes, and those are just a couple.
Do you have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?
Sites like posemaniacs, line of motion for timed studies are great. Following art blogs like artstation, cgsociety, one fantastic week are all very helpful. Even listening to artist podcasts while you work. For books, Hogarth’s series on figure drawing is fantastic, and I also own a couple of poseable action figures (body-chan) to help with poses.
What advice would you give to young artists or people just starting out?
Practice, practice, practice. Make time for art everyday, draw from life, do figure studies, build your fundamentals. There’s no shortcut in art. Never skip your blind contours and gesture drawings.
Who would you like to work with or work for, if anybody? Could be a person, another artist, or company.
I’d love to work with Adam Hughes just to see his creative process and the technical aspect of his work. I’d also love to go back and time and work with some of the greats. I’d love to spend some time with studio Ghibli, and work alongside Yoshitaka Amano or better yet, work for The Legend of Zelda series. There’s so many!
What is your ultimate dream project or something you’ll like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?
My ultimate dream project would be to finish and get published my graphic novel project that I’ve been working on since I was 16. Then tour with it to meet all my fans. :D
Are there any current projects that you’re working on or in the near future that you want to tell us about?
I really want to do a series on Hmong folklore and fairytales. Everyone know of Yer and the tiger, but I know there’s more. I’d love to interpret them and do a series of ink and color illustrations. That’s just one project.
I’m currently working on a floral series, a horned series and trying to finish up a horoscope series. Too many projects, not enough time in the day.
What is the best way to get a hold of you or view or purchase your work?
The best way to get a hold of me is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All my social media is linked from my website: https://ziangherart.square.site/
I’m pretty active on social media:
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ziangher/
Buy my stuff online: https://ziangherart.square.site/