Hua Nian Art Studio











Marching Illini









Pen and Ink Drawings

After four years of studying journalism and six years of teaching photo-journalism in a college, I had helplessly become a “paparazzi.” I didn’t know what other people might think about me, but my aggressive and shameless behavior annoyed my family and they had no trouble letting me know. However, not until 1998 did I finally slow down – that was the year when my son was born.

He was a tiny baby, so cute, so tender, so precious that I was so afraid that he would suddenly grow up without my eyes fixing on him. I took numerous pictures of him; many of them are successive pictures of his facial expressions and body movements. But no matter how many pictures I took, I still couldn’t ease the anxiety of possessing the fleeting moment - that was the time when I started to pick up a pencil to draw, to record his growth… Many years later, when I looked again at my sketches of him rolling, eating, waking, playing, I was thrilled as if I was right there at that particular time of that day. I knew my excitement had something to do with the sketch: rather than having a simple finger movement, a “click” on the camera, I had used my eyes, my mind, and my hand to trace my child. It took a lot longer than a click on a camera, but by experiencing the present moment with enormous concentration, the memories have became precious imprints in my heart. This is why I find sketching so charming and addictive, it gives me great sense of satisfaction and relief. (My family feels the same way too.)

So the sketch pad has replaced my camera and people have always been my drawing subjects. To catch the freshest images, I have been to many concerts, plays and sporting events. and also started to take the challenge of sketching only with pen and ink. Without a chance to fix any mistake, this medium demands intense concentration to observe the subjects; accuracy to resemble the likeness; economic use of lines to express the essence; and at the same time, speed to catch the action.

Rendering the details has never been my intent; with the great contrast of black and white, the lost and found of lines, especially the deliberately omitted ones, I hope I have provided just enough clues for viewers to stretch their imagination and create their own visions – visions that are better than mine. - Hua Nian