No matter what culture or society you belong to, the importance of food is an overarching theme that unites us all. Hong Kong-based illustrator Furze Chan has established a name for herself by delicately drawing all kinds of foods, transforming the subject from a mouth-watering substance to beautiful works of tiny art. She tells It’s Nice That: “I’m lucky to be able to create through drawing. It allows me to draw anytime when I feel something pop into my mind.” For this illustrator, putting a scene from her mind onto paper is “exciting and addictive”, not to mention highly pleasurable for viewers.
Furze recalls her love of art lessons when she was in primary school but, more specifically, “I just loved the feeling of creating something with my hands” she says. At first, Furze drew food for fun. “I was merely playing around, recording yummy food from my daily life or from a trip,” the illustrator adds. As her drawings progressed, the commissions started rolling in for a number of commercial projects all wanting to showcase food in a similarly beautiful way. “One of the clients said to me: ‘We have chosen you as our illustrator because your food looks so yummy!’”
Intricately illustrating and animating for a number of editorial platforms and books, Furze utilises her mastery of coloured pencils to precisely replicate enticing foods. Despite the fact that Furze regularly undertakes food-based commissions, she still maintains that “food is very difficult to draw”. After all, she does create minuscule works of art with a bunch of coloured pencils. “There is so much to drawing food; the multiple textures, the colours, the temperature, the cooked feeling, the reflections, even the ceramic glaze of a plate.” Essentially, Furze tackles the task of accurately depicting food as an all-important lesson. “I feel like if I am able to succeed in drawing food, it will be a lot easier to draw other subjects.”
For those of us viewers who are already in awe of Furze’s artistic ability, it is hard to imagine how much more she can advance with her food illustrations. But upon understanding the subtleties of mastering the art of coloured pencils, there is clearly so much more to these tools than meets the eye. “I’ve discovered a lot of magic in coloured pencils,” Furze explains. “Sharpened or unsharpened strokes are so different in producing a mood. Water-soluble coloured pencils have a certain softness to them, and speedy strokes and slow strokes are so different too. Also, there are more than 20 different shades of brown!” As Furze increasingly masters the technique, in turn, her discoveries are gradually changing her drawing style. As well as constantly asking herself “who am I?” as an illustrator, she also affirms, “I am so thankful for coloured pencils, they are my main inspiration.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.