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Meet the Instructors: Serena!

Posted: Wed 23 Mar 2022 in

Ready to create your own story?

Working with local experts we offer unique and engaging workshops to advance your hobbies and lead you through creative activities. Learn more about our current workshop here.

We are please to introduce you to one of our instructors: Serena Tang!

What workshops do you teach?

I teach the comics and drawing workshops, alongside Tayson Martindale! 

How did you get into your speciality?

I’ve been interested in illustration since childhood, and found my drive for it in my post-secondary studies where I worked on communication through a visual medium. As I was learning to tell stories through my paintings and drawings, I also learned that I appreciated another form of communication - teaching. By no means do I consider myself a formally trained teacher in any way, but I do enjoy passing on my art knowledge and showing people how visual storytelling can come in many forms and can be done by anyone. 

How long have you been working at it?

I have been professionally illustrating for almost 5 years, and have been an instructor for various types of workshops and classes for roughly 2 years. 

Did you receive any formal or informal education in your specialty? 

I took fundamental art classes as a child. I remember spending my Friday evenings with my cousins, learning how to shade shapes to show light and shadow. In university, I took a risk and majored in Art and Design where I would constantly paint until 2am, sleep in the critique room, and wake up for 8am classes. I rounded out my education with a digital illustration and sequential art diploma at the Edmonton Digital Arts College to further develop my skills as well as learn more about being in the industry. It was this part of my life where I also met Jay!

What’s the most difficult thing about your specialty? 

I think one of the hardest things about comics and storytelling is that there’s so many ways to approach it and it can be intimidating when you first give it a try! It’s not just making a comic, but also includes colour theory, writing, text and image design, and so much more. Tayson and I want to show people that storytelling can be simple to very extravagant, and it all still works. 

What’s the most rewarding? 

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of properly translating what you saw in your head into a completed story. 

What advice do you have to anyone just starting out? 

Grab a piece of paper. Take a writing utensil and make a big squiggle that’s messy and overlaps but crosses the page. That’s how creating an illustrated visual story will feel like, and we all go through it. There will be many moments where it doesn’t look good, or colours will clash, or you will have to re-do a whole section and get frustrated. We all say that completion is much better than perfection - continue drawing and when you get to the end, it will come together. I get that it can really suck for a bit!

Is there anything you wish you knew before starting? 

Having multiple pillars of income is not mutually exclusive for creators to support themselves in this world, and there’s absolutely no shame in this! This doesn’t make you less of an artist if you only draw a few hours a month or a year!

Do you have any mentors or inspirations? 

Many of my instructors left a huge impression on how I approach illustration, and was really fortunate to be going through my illustration diploma to have learned from Tom Rhodes, Lee Nielsen, Emily Chu, and Scott Carmichael. I really feel that my style and practice have elements from all of them.

What other hobbies do you enjoy? 

My non-art related hobbies range from cycling around the city, to advocating for stronger and accessible transit in Edmonton, to tending to houseplants. 

Anything else you would like to share?

If you draw regularly, feel free to share your drawings regularly! It doesn’t have to be a finished piece to be shared. People really enjoy seeing the process.

Where can people find your work online? 

My website/portfolio

Twitter

Instagram

Artstation (TTRPG related artwork)

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