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Practice Makes Perfect! The ‘How To Improve Your Drawing’ Workshop At SMASH! 2014


Every person in the world with at least the slightest bit of drive wants to be the very best at something. Occasionally we dig ourselves holes of negativity with counter-constructive thoughts like “why aren’t I as good as X” or “why can’t I even draw X”. These thoughts plague artists every single day and, in some extreme examples, even cause some to rethink their life goals and give up on a life of design. This is a trend that must be stopped and the extremely talented Cecilia Jin seems as though she’s the perfect figurehead to lead a revolution of this kind.

A reacurring guest of SMASH!, Cecilia Jin returned this year to host another fantastic panel/workshop titled ‘How To Improve Your Drawing’. As ‘wanabee’ comic book artists and lovers of the industry, fellow writer Kane Bugeja and I made a point of being front and center for what we assumed would be a brilliant and informative panel. Needless to say…it was! Following an odd trend that seemingly took over the volunteer staff of the convention, the MC of the workshop was able to give the audience Cecilia’s actual name.

Instead she was introduced as ‘Sugar Plum Neko’ (the online handle she uses for websites like DeviantArt) rather than Cecilia Jin…her actual name. It was clear that Cecilia was somewhat embarrassed by this and I can’t blame her. I would be too! Move on from that, the workshop started with Cecilia explaining exactly who she is and jumping right into the start of her series of lessons. Each of which, I must say, were fantastically put forth and incredibly easy to understand.

Cecilia, being a teacher, was very good at getting her point across and used her very own drawings to give examples as well as answer audience questions. She showed some ‘stock’ images during the start of the workshop but a drawing camera was quickly set up so she could showcase her thoughts and notes properly and succinctly. She explained to the audience that making mistakes while drawing is key to become a better overall illustrator and showed this to us by copying an image out of the SMASH! handbook and explaining each and every step of the process.

Starting with simple shapes to make known the layout of the image, sketching over the top of it to give more definition to the image and then adding solid lines to the image to accentuate what it is the audience must focus on was the illustration process she showed us and, as I looked around the room, I could definitely see that people were absorbing the information she was laying out for us.

Unfortunately the panel was interrupted, once again, by the MC and we were told that it would be cut short for a seemingly unknown reason. This turned an hour-long panel into a forty-minute panel as Cecilia was pushed to hurry up and finish her workshop. Her lesson was interrupted about two or three times, each time she was informed that her workshop had been cut shorter and short until she was simply asked to finish up and leave the stage.

I, as well as my co-writer, was quite peeved that the workshop was rushed and that we didn’t get the chance to take in all of Cecilia’s lesson but we were at least glad to be able to see it in general. She ended the panel with a series of laughs as she went to the audience for drawing requests. Illustrating a picture of a crazed cat lighting fire to a building, Cecilia Jin really concreted herself in as one of the best presenters at the convention, once again. Hopefully next time she’ll be allowed the full allotted time to teach us all the ways of the artist.

Cecilia Jin is an art teacher, illustrator, storyboard artist, game designer and mangaka based in Sydney. Skilled in many different artistic mediums, Cecilia has won the Young Australian Arts Award multiple years and has had her work displayed in the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

Contact: Check out Cecilia’s art on her website which you can get to by Clicking Here.


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