Dutch painter Jan van Eyck is called
the pioneer of Northern Renaissance
He tried to make paint that dries
without sunlight instead of egg
yolk or oil, and completed a new oil
painting after many attempts.
Because of this paint, oil painting
began to be widely used and he has
become an important figure in the
history of art as he was called the
founder of oil painting.
@2catsnow is the artist who was
selected for the hall of fame in
September, are creating new methods
to enjoy digital drawing in the
artworks with the beauty of oil
The artist's work is full of the
feeling of oil painting.
From landscapes to everyday shapes
and objects, unique and beautiful
feeling is expressed by using the
texture like the contrast and gloss
unique in oil paintings.
Also, the artist gives us various
inspirations she came up with by
capturing the process of birth where
various images are created into one
We wonder how she imagined or began
to draw such artworks.
Then, shall we start the interview
with the artist?
Hello @2catsnow! we’re the operations
of the PENUP.
Congratulations on your selection for
the Hall of Fame in September.
Please briefly introduce yourself
and share your impression for the
"What? Wait. Me?" It can sum up my
surprised feeling when knowing been
selected for the Hall of Fame on
The more I use Penup the greater
number of amazing artists I discover
everyday. I thought there must be
dozens of other talented artists
can be inducted before me. I got
Hello! My name is Tian Jing. I'm an
Asian American who is 45 years old
and residing in Chicago, Illinois.
I was born and grew up in Yunnan,
China, a province with 26 native
ethnic groups and bordering with
Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Tibet and
I then spent 17 years in New York
City and another 7 years in Chicago.
My multi-culture background has
shaped me into who I am and helped
me greatly in terms of art making.
I'm a big art enthusiast in general
and love traveling. I was running a
humble sized tour agency before the
Ironically, the imposed quarantine
also granted me a fresh opportunity
to focus on digital painting.
Now I'm in HOF.
Life is full of unexpected swings.
Thank you PENUP, thank you my PENUP
Your first work was uploaded in
Since then, you’ve been constantly
uploading works. We’d like to know
how you got to know PENUP and start
uploading your works.
I came across Penup in Samsung app
store when I was searching an app
for safekeeping my digital drawings
I had been a traditional artist and
was very used to do artworks on
canvas and paper, but I often ran
into storage problems.
A Nintendo DS handheld game called
Colors! made me realize it's possi-
ble to continue my hobby digitally.
I bought a Samsung note edge phone
years later and was so impressed by
the precise strokes s pen could pro-
duce. Sadly, I lost most of my early
digital drawings when I dropped my
phone in seawater in a Puerto Rico
I knew I needed some safer way to
backup my drawings online since then.
PENUP has art making, online backup,
and social sharing features all-in-1.
Then PENUP became my answer.
Artworks with various topics were
We’d like to know what devices and
apps are used for creating such
I have two s pen featured Samsung
devices, Samsung tab S7+ and tab A
8" with s pen. I like them both.
The 8-inch tab A is for quick doo-
dles and outdoor use. I do more
careful works on my tab S7 plus.
I use PENUP, infinite painter, and
artrage in software department. I
have tried some other apps but nar-
rowed down to the above 3. I rarely
use any advanced features because
I paint digitally just like how I
would with conventional media.
I like wet-on-wet painting style and
these three apps give me the best
Infinite Painter has more brushes
to choose from. ArtRage has the best
brush textures but requires some
traditional painting fundamentals
to understand how to make the paint
PENUP is easy to use and the oil
brush has excellent blending pro-
perty. Actually many of my works
were done in PENUP.
You are beautifully expressing vari-
ous topics from landscapes to imagi-
nations, we’d like to know how you
began to draw these artworks.
The workflow usually starts with a
vague idea in my head. The ideas
usually come from my various life
Once the main idea is established,
I don't have too much problem to
visualize it. I drew extensively
in my early 20s. Back in the college
days, I used to take a sketch book
with me and go to museums every
weekend, to pick a random painting
or sculpture and started to draw.
Sadly I did almost nothing in my 30s
due to work. Though it's digital age
now, I still continue my workflow by
tinting the canvas first to set-up
the color temperature, then a loo-
sely sketched composition, followed
by painting 'what further away and
covered underneath' with imaginary
I cover up the underpainting with
more detailed content on top of it.
Finally I do value checks and make
some refinement if necessary.
The paintings may take 2-15 hours
depending on the complexity, but
the initial brainstorming process
may take anywhere between minutes
It was a pleasure to see what you
imagined from or expressed since you
put your work process in the feed.
We’d like to know why you put the
work process in your feed.
I uploaded them in my feed for sev-
eral reasons. One being serving as
mini tutorials for beginner artists,
to show my thinking process and
I never consider myself as a pro.
I think I'm a decent intermediate
painter. And, I just need to empha-
size that there are absolutely no
'right ways' or 'wrong ways' of
The method I'm used to is only one
of the many possible ways to actual-
ize ideas. The bottom line is, what-
ever way works for you is the best
In addition, I like to show the
importance of using visual refer-
ences, whether they are real life
objects or previous artworks done
by others (cite the original artist
please everyone, if it's a copy
For example, The drawing above on
the left was made for penup's Pink
challenges. It would be difficult
for me to imagine what the glass-
wares look like in a pink environ-
ment without setting them up in an
actual pinkish background.
References help me achieve a better
sense of realism and make my works
more relatable to viewers.
Personally I don't want to go too
abstract because I'm afraid of
alienating general public if not
handled well. I like that sense of
realism shown in my works.
Lastly, the work process uploads
also show authenticities of my
Artworks with unique imaginations
made by various images were also
We’d like to know how you come up
with these ideas.
Inspirations can come from all kind
of sources in my case.Our pop cul-
ture, social issues, current news,
and what's happening around me have
had great influence on me.
Desert Native Girl on Planet Gamma
on the left was obviously taking
inspiration from Star Wars.
The Last Whale on Earth with VR on
the right was made by thinking about
the serious environmental issues we
are facing now. Mother nature always
gives me endless inspirations.
While appreciating the simple beauty
of everyday life, I also love day-
dreaming the 'what if' situations
out of ordinary. Once a concept is
born in my head, I can hardly find
any visual references that has all
the elements I want in one ready
Fusing and stitching different
images together becomes the inevi-
table in order to deliver the new
messages in a composition. I like
all art forms from pre-renaissance
to post-modernism, from 'high class'
to 'low brow'.
I have about 200 different artbooks
that can come in handy if I need to
look up how other artists had han-
dled on certain topics. Last but
certainly not the least.
PENUP and many friends on PENUP have
constantly given me inspirations. I
have enjoyed every bi-weekly chall-
enges. They are very intriguing with
I think coloring templates and com-
munity collaborations also work on
the same principle. As a friend
@Mishanya once said, it helps train
Trading comments on artworks with
friends can be a very nutritious
thing to me too. The thing is,
knowingly or not, everybody is
We saw you draw some portraits as
We are curious who the people in
such works are and why you chose
them for your work.
The sloppy man in this scene is
myself. It's a self-portrait. I got
off the train in a small station in
I love drawing my travel experien-
ces. Sitting on the train all night
got me roughed up. Actually my fri-
ends were in the original photo.
Since I was the photographer who
took the snapshot, I placed myself
in the painting instead because I
was there too. I painted me with a
mirror, and changed the lightings
according to the photoed environ-
ment. I later added a backpack strap
with a bottle water hanging on my
chest to show I was a tourist.
The girl on the right is from @Nata-
sha's community collaboration. She
made a beautiful contour drawing,
and I was assuming the character is
a bridal maid. I was reading a John
Singer Sargent book when I saw it,
so I made up the character by imple-
menting some Sargent's techniques I
just learned from the book.
There were also works that felt like
they were translated into paintings
after taking pictures of the scenes
you encountered along the way.
We are curious if you have any
reasons to include these scenes.
Also, we want to know what scenes
are good for you to start drawing.
Camera is a great invention! To me,
It's an irreplaceable tool that
helps capture beautiful fleeting
moments even the quickest skechers
may have a hard time to draw.
Artworks done by the helps of camera
reflect the time and the society we
live in. We see surging number of
selfie and beauty-cam portrait arts
nowadays because everybody has a
We see many bizarrely composed
beautiful works in Medieval because
perspective points were not even
invented yet, let along camera.
Old masters had to improvise what's
missing with keen observation and
vivid imagination. With that being
said. I see no reasons not to use
camera as a creative aide.
However, I see little reason to com-
pete camera for accuracy, art making
is a very subjective thing; unless
you are aiming for hyperrealism, but
that's a totally different story.
Any scenes that has light/shadow
effects, interesting textures,
cultural influences, or people's
reactions might trigger my impulse
I have taken huge amount of pictures
over the years. Sometimes I might
even find interesting things to draw
in the background of a seemingly bo-
ring photo, Bird in Dry Grass shown
above is one of those examples.
Landscape paintings of various
places were also impressive.
We want to know if these places are
the places actually you visited or
you are drawing the places you want
Also, please let us know if you have
any place you want to draw.
I visited most of the places in my
landscapes except the science-
-fictional ones. I have been to many
countries and taken many road trips.
Still, there are way too many places
on my to-go list. The unique experi-
ence and unforgettable memories I
gained from traveling has become one
of my most precious assets in my
A recent drawing from @Kuas about
Bali sparked my interest to draw
my past trip in Indonesia. @les 's
wonderful landscape drawings inspi-
red me to draw more national parks
and wildlife refuges.
Actually, I'm still with the hang-
over PENUP's previous UFO/Alien
challenges left me. I might make
some more outlandish paintings
about Alien world.
This is the last question.
Please tell us if any improvements
or stories to deliver while using
PENUP's continuous effort of upda-
ting the software has brought many
like-minded creative artists to join
I think I'm inducted to HOF in
September not because I'm the best
artist in town, it's for my conti-
nuous effort of trying new ideas
in digital painting.
For the same reason I think it is
a HOF for everyone making artworks
with honest effort, regardless of
the skill levels.
As of suggestions, how about adding
a google lens button right next to
the like button? I came across some
visually stunning artworks the
uploaders did not make from time to
I understand there are thousands of
uploads everyday, and it's impossi-
ble to manually check the authenti-
city of each work one by one.
Adding such an integrated image
search function helps viewers to
decide if a suspicious artwork truly
deserves the likes. We are living in
an impetuous age.
Getting the best possible gain the
fastest way with least amount of
effort input is called efficiency.
I just can't agree with that philo-
sophy in art making. Frankly I found
the current copyright reporting pro-
cess to be somewhat laborious and
cumbersome. An image search button
may even help streamline the repor-
ting process to fight copyright
If the image search lands on an
external page that also belongs
to the same artist, then it's a
false alarm and it’s a good thing.
The honest artist is getting cross
promoted due to the search.
Maybe for the same reason more
people from other art sites will
want to come and join PENUP. If the
search finds it's a stolen art, the
upload will be automatically repor-
ted. We can just let computer AI do
Moreover, I hope PENUP can give
artworks with landscape orientation
a proper thumbnail size. Landscape
layout thumbnails are given far less
screen estate compared to the po-
pular portrait orientation works.
Please make landscape thumbnails
appear two times the width of a
portrait thumbnail. Maybe we can
add black bars or crop irregular
shaped artworks in thumbnails, so
we won’t have to scroll the screen
twice to pass an extra-tall upload;
and click twice and rotate to magni-
fy a tiny beautiful landscape.
Artworks in all orientations will
fill up the screen tightly and
fairly, with no more Tetris puzzle
pieces to fiddle with. Currently,
Users, myself included, can feel
less motivated to draw in landscape
mode due to the lack of exposure.
Finally, I think the badge icon
system mentioned in @z3dmax inter-
view can be a good idea too. It
can encourage people to draw more
and more. I hope I have not bored
everyone for such a long talk.
Many thanks to Penup for giving me
the opportunity of this interview.
Happy drawing! Friends!
How was the interview
Aside from oil painting, Jan van
Eyck is the first painter who left
a note on his work with signature
and drew the full body of a person
as much as his fame with various
The artist paints with various tri-
als as well and shows us there is no
limit in digital drawing as his new
achievement in his artworks.
Why don’t you see artworks with
various styles and express them
with digital drawing?
It would be great to incorporate new
techniques into your work for dif-
ferent feelings and research various
We hope that we can see more art-
works with new drawing styles in