See How These Artists Capture Precious CNY Moments With These Digital Illustrations

We’ve heard of people capturing moments by taking pictures, but have you ever heard of people doing so with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil? That may sound kind of impossible, but not when you’ve got these! Don Low, André Wee, Lydia Yang and Michael Ng have turned their favourite Chinese New Year moments into creative illustrations using non-traditional tools. Are you perhaps interested to do the same? If your answer is a yes, read on to know what tips these artists have to offer when using these tools with the Procreate app.


1. Don Low, @donlowart

instagram/ website


Illustration Of Low’s Chinese New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner
Illustration Of Low’s First Day Of Chinese New Year
Illustration Of Low’s First Day Of Chinese New Year
Illustration Of Low’s Second Day Of Chinese New Year


“The most distinct part of CNY celebration was the food, so the theme for all the drawings was about eating as a family, enjoying the companionship at the same time. And I am always amazed by the amount and variety of food that was made for each meal and stayed that way every year. To Chinese, it’s always a blessing to be able to fill our stomachs.”


– Work fast and furiously, sometimes from memory if you want to capture something from life observation.
– Use colours to create mood.
– Start drawing somewhere and allow the drawing to grow, and make use of Procreate’s Canvas “Crop & Resize” function to expand your drawing or change its format. The process of drawing becomes more intuitive.
– I change the colours of my line art with “Colour Balance”, and then added colours on a different layer below.
– I love using George’s brushes.


2. André Wee, @andre_wee

instagram/ website


Illustration Of Wee’s Experience During Chinese New Year 12 Years Ago


“Exactly one zodiac cycle ago (12 years), while we were at a hawker centre, my parents and I observed a senior man who was partially blind, trying his best at selling some tissue packets and new year flowers to the hawker’s patrons. Just as we were about to leave, my dad handed me a pair of ang baos to wish the man a happy new year. I’ll never forget this memory of the man and the example set by my parents who showed me how to always see and appreciate the person in everyone.”


– When working an art piece, always try not to focus too much on detailing at the start. Instead, focus on the big picture and big shapes that build the composition before zooming in on details. Always good to have some perspective metaphorically and literally speaking!
– I love drawing in Procreate on iPad Pro as not only am I able to bring a digital sketchbook on the go, it automatically saves out process time-lapses of the pieces I work on!
– Keeping your layers well labelled and neat helps with a better working experience and promotes a non-destructive workflow.


3. Lydia Yang, @oakandbindi

instagram/ website


“Mom’s Homemade Pineapple Tarts” by Yang
“Suddenly — Fireworks!” by Yang


“Mom’s Homemade Pineapple Tarts”
“It is four days before Lunar New Year and my mom is on a baking mission. Every year she makes it a point to make her very own pineapple tarts and cookies, which she gives out to family over reunion dinner and of course saves a bottle or two for the home.”

Suddenly — Fireworks!
“This year, our family decided to take a trip down to the Marina Bay on the night of the second day of the Lunar New Year. […] At the halfway mark of the route where we were exiting Fullerton Hotel, a series of loud gun-like sounds fired – FIREWORKS! We stood looking up in awe and with the biggest smiles. It was one of the most brilliant displays of fireworks we got to see and in the best possible spot to catch it – what a treat for the night!”


– Experiment with Brush Settings: Play around with settings like Jitter and Spacing to add dimension and variations to your brush strokes, as well as to mimic certain elements/ objects (e.g. I used the Technical Pen Brush to create a multi-dot brush to create fireworks).
– My go-to brush for lining is the Dry Ink Brush.
– To create a straight line with the brush, draw a free-hand line and once you’ve reached the end point; hold down on the screen for 2-3 seconds, this will cause the line to straighten.


4. Michael Ng, @mindflyer

instagram/ website


Illustration Of The Smells During Chinese New Year by Ng


“The special smell of CNY — after the detergent and fresh paint of spring cleaning, the smell of baking, food preparation and the wonderful aroma of love letters being made over charcoal stove by the neighbours fills the air. There’s also the smell of new notes in red packets, mandarin oranges and incense offered at altars.”


– You can switch between 2 colours when colour dropping or painting by tapping the colour icon on the menu bar.
– Be mindful of the file size and number of layers you can have in a file. My preference is to work on a bigger artwork (A3 size at 400 dpi, so you may end up with a file with only 8 layers).
– Something I overlook often is that we can use the same brush for both Drawing and Erasing — make sure you check that option.


Apple iPad Pro, from $1199 for the 11-inch model and $1499 for the 12.9-inch model.
Apple Pencil retails for $189.
Available online and at Apple stores.