All images © Rachelhofs

Illustrator and visual development artist Rachel Ho shares tips on generating new ideas, adding personality to an image and creating flow in sketches in this sneak peek from issue 133!

I have always liked scribbling ever since I was a kid. I only started taking art seriously after I went to art college, and that was also the time I realized I wanted to pursue a career as an artist. Who encouraged me with my art? I would say my mom is the one who somewhat encouraged me by allowing me to watch Disney cartoons and movies. But the very first thing that really inspired me to start drawing was watching The Powerpuff Girls.

I like keeping old sketchbooks because I get to see how much I have progressed and grown as an artist (and also have a good laugh at my old drawings). Looking back, by far the most thrilling and exciting experience of my career so far has been getting to meet Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen in person and present my drawings to them.

To me, sketching is useful because it helps develop drawing skills, and it is also useful for work as sketching gives you freedom to scrawl out rough ideas, or even get to places that you could have never imagined. Most importantly it saves time. Usually I watch short films or movies to keep myself motivated, or go out with a bunch of artist friends to do live drawing and art sharing.


Rachel suffered a lot while drawing this piece because she finds drawing bikes difficult. However, she wanted to challenge herself and was happy with how it turned out


Having run out of ideas for Inktober, Rachel was watching videos of a sculptor creating clay dolls, and thought it might be a fun idea to draw

Inspiration and Ideas

My inspiration usually comes from watching films and animation. I like to look behind the scenes of a pre-production film or movie because I get to see how a production is developed and progressed from the beginning to the end. One of the reasons that I like watching behind the scenes footage is because I get to see how and where professional artists extract their raw ideas from.

My all-time favorite artists are Kevin Dart, Gop Gap, Slawek Fedorczuk and Eastwood Wong. I love how they use the simplest shapes to replicate on their drawings; the colors they use are really tasteful, too! I also usually fuel myself by browsing through ArtStation and Pinterest when I’m not working; this is the time when ideas kick in. Sometimes I do not have a clue whether a particular idea could work or not, I just follow my gut instinct and hope for the best. Sometimes the idea that we think may not work turns out to be a surprising success, meanwhile, having an idea with a good feeling might end up the other way round.

‘Goldfish Kanto’. A Japanese boy balances a bunch of goldfish lanterns (kanto means lantern) on his forehead. It was really fun for Rachel to draw expressions on the goldfish lanterns


My usual pens are: the Pilot pigmented brown brush pen, Pilot hard-nib brown brush pen, Koi water-based brush pen, Copic markers, a Faber-Castell red colored pencil, and Uni-ball’s Signo white gel pen. Brush pens have always been my favorite to draw with because they are flexible to use and it is easy to control the thickness of the brushstroke. I’m quite picky when it comes to choosing sketch pens; they must have a nice “flow” while I am drawing and be able to create a dry brush effect. I tried using ball pens and fine Artline pens but they do not seem to have the flow that I’m looking for, maybe because I personally like to finish one drawing without changing pen nibs.

Cultural fashion is one of Rachel’s favorite things to draw. She is always fascinated by the colors and details of each culture



See the rest of Rachel’s article in issue 133!