My passion for art began during my eighth grade; I enjoyed drawing and
painting, but what I enjoyed most was building models by hand. As a result I
kept a lot of scrap material, including cardboard boxes, popsicle sticks, shish
kabob sticks, old containers, old cloth and more.
During high school, art courses focused more on
two-dimensional art, and my drawing and painting skills progressed. The
period in which I progressed the most however was during the summer
following my 11th grade; when my father bought me two books of artworks by a
Chinese Australian artist, Jiawei Shen, who drew and painted realistic
portraits. One day, I decided to give realism a try, and even surprised myself
when I completed
Pussycats. That summer I continued to draw realistic
drawings to include in my portfolio, including
Young Mother. As a result, my final year in high school was the one I was
most proud of.
I was not only interested in realistic artworks. Another artist I was interested
in around the time was Hiroshi Senju, and I did a few paintings inspired by his
style; my first and most popular being
Sunset with Blue Trees. Senju limits his colours; often painting his
foregrounds and backgrounds in contrasting complimentary colours. His style is simple
I have also been a big fan of Japanese
anime and manga, and sometimes drew pictures in an anime style. Sometimes I
incorporated mathematical strategies into my artwork; I drew spherical grids by
hand to draw fisheye images, and also used math to construct complicated
geometry in three-dimensional form. All my drawings, paintings, and
sculptures/crafted models vary in style.
my final years in high school I became more active with my art; I took part in
more extra-curricular activities, had my work selected to be part of an
exhibition, won a few places in art competitions, and was even offered a
commission for the summer following my graduation. I was keen to pursue a career
in art, but knew it was not easy to make a living in the field. So I chose to
study architecture in university, which seemed like a good compromise;
especially since I
was also good in math and enjoyed working in 3D.
While I had a few opportunities to be artistic during university, I wasn't
always fully satisfied with the finished result of my drawings or models due to
the tight deadlines. The deadlines also often forced me to work digitally rather
by hand; and meanwhile other complications on top of school stress occurred in
my life. I did have a few free hand drawing assignments, but those were done as
quick sketches. One way or another it just wasn't the same; I don't know if it
was because of the tight deadlines, lack of motivation, or because I felt too
gloomy in the school environment - or a combination of everything; but I was
barely ever content with the drawings or models I created for school. During
internships however, which were usually four months long,
I was often satisfied
when there were
opportunities to do something artistic.
In 2008 I began an eight month internship.
was a nice break from school, and I decided to start doing my own art again. In
February I found
Redbubble, and re-discovered my desire to follow my true passion. I enjoyed
showcasing my artwork online, but at the same time I was amazed by the skill and
talent of other artists in the community. Back when I began to draw
realistically during high school, I thought I was good; but as I saw the
artistic talent of some of the other artists, I realized I had a long way to go. Despite that,
those other artists gave me nice comments on my art; and as I explored more
artworks and began drawing again, my drawing skills took another step.
the works by Shen boosted my skills vastly, artists on Redbubble have done
the same. Based on my own journey, I have concluded that the greatest
way for me to evolve as an artist was to explore the works of other artists.
This also happened during my internship in Japan; in the beginning,
everyone I worked with was better at model-making than I was, but in a day's
training I improved vastly.
Additionally, in an interactive community like Redbubble where one could communicate with
other artists directly, members are
able to ask each other questions or receive feedback from their peers. Prior to
joining Redbubble, I thought my technical skills were already high. But
after spending some time on Redbubble, not only did my technique improve, but I
also learned a valuable lesson.
I learned that art is not only about representation, but also about communication.
Meanwhile, I realised, more than ever, that sometimes a work is more successful
if simpler or more abstract. I also began getting a better hang of drawing
realistically without a direct photo reference (I would still look at various
photos for studies as I draw, but the drawing would not be a direct copy of one
single image - such was the case in
Inside my little heart).
I have also been experimenting
more with collages and mixed media, often using my scanner in ways I have never
done before beyond creating a two-dimensional art piece. Sometimes I
arrange objects on my scanner, and the let it run without closing the lid, while
holding a background over the objects to get interesting effects; often leading
viewers to believe the work was done digitally.
Although my skills have improved, I still do not get the chance to draw as
frequently as I have in my teen years; largely owed to the busy-ness of life,
along with new growing interests in photography, digital art and poetry. But
every opportunity I get to pick up a pencil or a pen to draw with always brings
me much joy; and in recent times my drawings have also been bringing many other
people joy, which makes the moment all the more fulfilling.
A showcase of my passion for making
models by hand.
Miniature origami models that I folded, along with a few larger models made out
of plastics, metals and more.
Most of my works are done with paper based material, but once in a while I work
with plastics, metals and more.
Some of my architectural drawings, perspectives, and materials studies, that I
drafted and rendered by hand.
See more of my artwork here.
All content here is © Copyright Mui-Ling Teh, All
Rights Reserved, and may not be used without my permission. Any site using my
images against my conditions
have not sought proper permission and should be reported or brought to my
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