Wacom’s Deep Dive with super talented Yaoyao Ma Van As
Once again, Wacom takes a Deep Dive into the mind of the most brilliant and talented artists out there to bring you, exclusively, their thoughts, inspirations, challenges, and dreams: the best inspiration for you to improve! With almost 700,000 devoted followers, Yaoyao is one of the most acclaimed Digital artists on Instagram: her detailed and accurate “every moment of life” merge with cute faces and warm (and cold) environments.
Ready? Here we go:
1-Thanks for having us. We love your work, tell us a little bit about your development and studies.
Thank you! I really like drawing and painting in my free time. I studied animation in school, but currently, I’m focusing more on paintings and art directing.
2-What motivates you every day?
I’m motivated by everything around me, whether it’s a song that comes on the radio or a fun observation during the day. Most of my personal illustrations are sparked by little interactions with my dog, Parker
3. Ok, we had to ask: What’s the name of your dog(s) and what does he represent for you? Here in Wacom, our staff has also a lot of pets and we love them so much… can you describe your relationship with him (her)
Parker! He’s my dog and my son. My husband and I adopted him when he was 8.5 weeks old because Parker chose us to be his parents. We love him more than anything and he’s the best thing that has ever happened to us! He represents that little spark of oblivious joy and innocence that makes the world seem good even amongst everything you read about.
4.- At the end of the day… what is most important to you?
I’ve spent so many years of my life trying to push myself to do better- in my career, in my skills, in my hobbies. Nowadays I’ve realized that the most important thing for me is to be happy and healthy and to experience as much life with my husband and Parker as possible.
5.- What inspires you to create?
I have different inspirations during different periods of my life for creating illustrations. When I first started creating my own artwork, I was inspired by the idea of just getting back to drawing again. Not long after that, I started being more and more inspired by the little cute stories Parker creates. This year has been particularly busy for me, so the little time that I have on my illustrations I am more focused on pushing the color, lighting and the technique while trying to maintain the storytelling aspect of them.
6.- What are your favorite movies?
There are so many great movies out there! I’d have to say the Harry Potter movies and Coraline are movies that I watch every year without fail.
7.- When you work… do you go into any “Zen” style? how? Do you listen to music or audiobooks? If so, which ones?
Yes! Once I’m in the zone, I tune everything out. Music is the safest bet for me. Sometimes I listen to ambient sounds (pirate cabin is currently my favorite haha). Sometimes I’m able to listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks, but only because I’ve listened to them so many times and I already know them so well.
8.- When did you discover Wacom and how has it improved your workflow?
During my first job in the animation industry, we were working using Wacom Cintiqs, and I immediately bought one after that because it’s just so easy and convenient to draw directly on the screen. I cannot imagine life without one. I love having the ability to draw directly on the Cintiq.
9.- What tablet do you use?
I started out with an Intuos Wacom tablet, but now I work on the Cintiq 22HD both at work and at home.
10.- In our community, we know the creative block is one main topic: how do you deal with this?
Whenever I come up with an idea, I write it down. I look back from time to time and see which ones jump out at me. Sometimes none of them seem interesting to me, so I’ll listen to some music, look at some cool images (either around me or on the internet). When I really can’t think of anything, I just accept it and let myself live my life and wait for the next idea to come to me. I find that if I try to force myself, I get an even bigger creative block. I do recommend sketching more often and frequently. A couple of years ago I was drawing every day, and ideas came to me more easily because I was constantly in that creative train of thought.
11.- What can you recommend to the creatives out there to improve their work?
For me, I really wanted to keep learning and keep improving. Because I didn’t go to a traditional art school, I always felt like I had to work harder to catch up. Taking classes to improve your skills is something I recommend- there are a lot of online classes, tutorials, workshops, etc. Looking at artists that you admire is also a big one- look at what they did to make certain things work. I’m always looking at the world around me, about how light and shadows interact with each other, how the reflections on buildings are dark in some areas but light in others. Just being curious and really trying to take in as much information as possible is incredibly helpful. Of course, practice often!
12.- When you go on holidays, what do you prefer? City? Beach? Mountains?
What is your favorite place in the world?
I prefer somewhere remote! Beach, mountain, as long as it’s near nature and not around a lot of noise and chaos!
I had such a great time visiting Hawaii and Hong Kong- both have beaches, mountains, and lots of nature. I’d really love to visit Scotland and New Zealand one day (maybe I haven’t found my favorite place in the world just yet).
13.- Mention the best 3 things about being an artist
1) The freedom to create whatever you want, and just put it out there. 2) As you go through your career you can look back and see how far you’ve come. 3) having to look for the beauty and the inspiring things in life, rather than just worrying about everything the way I used to.