Digital art

'The five biggest lessons I've learnt...'

Sycra Yasin's Priestess of Light

Pencil Kings artist Sycra Yasin shares his journey into professional digital art, and reveals the lessons that have made the biggest mark on his art.


Sycra Yasim
Sycra Yasin
Born in Manchester, England, 29-year-old artist Sycra grew up in Canada and now resides in North Delta, British Columbia. A former student at Vancouver Film School, Sycra started drawing and painting digitally at the age of 15 and now works in freelance teaching, illustration and storyboard projects for Pencil Kings.

In issue 97 of ImagineFX, our Studio Profile looked at Pencil Kings, which offers a string of great value online art courses. We spoke to one of its tutors Sycra Yasin about his journey into art...

When did you start making art?

I got into comics in my pre-teen years, and the seed was planted that maybe I could be a comic artist. In high school, my grades in math and science sort of decided things for me. I wanted to be good at something.

I felt I could be good at art. I had no idea how to go about doing that. That led me down a path of pursuing fine art, caricature, animation, and illustration.

The frustration from a lack of direction and a burning desire to be good, without knowing how to achieve that, is what inspires me now when I teach art - I just want to make the road a bit easier for future travellers.

Bouguereau, Adolphe William
This painting, The Bohemian, by William Bouguereau, was a huge inspiration for Sycra Yasin growing up


What's been your aim within art?

I really wanted to be able to convey certain emotions in my artwork. I had this idea that if I was ‘good enough’ people would look at my art and feel what I felt when I made that piece.

And, somehow, it was that connection, that understanding between people that I was looking for. I really didn’t see any artist around me who had done what I wanted to do.

It wasn’t until I saw ‘The Bohemian’ by William Bouguereau, that I felt I had a clear direction of what skill I needed, to be able to get across what I wanted to, and that led me down the path of trying to become a fine artist.

Steampunk Golem Sycra
Sycra started working digitally at the age of 15 and gradually improved his painting skills


When did you start making art digitally and how did you make the transition?

When I was around 13 or 14, I would draw a lot of anime and comic book inspired stuff, and I wanted to colour the pictures I made. Initially, I used a mouse and Photoshop and hours of lassoing to cel-shade my work.

I think I was 15 when I got my first little 6x4” Wacom tablet and it took me about a week to get used to it. I think it was a pretty natural progression that a lot of self-taught artists go through.

You start off somewhat cel-shaded and simply colour your drawings, and as time goes on you get more and more into painting, not just colouring.

Sun Cathedral Sycra
Sycra recommends measuring angles to ensure correct proportions, as in this painting


Can you list some of the techniques/tips that have been really useful to you?

The five biggest lessons I learned are:

•    measure with angles to get your proportions right
•    get your colour values right
•    find the big gesture
•    exaggerate and simplify
•    appeal is everything

Pencil Kings
Sycra uses colour values to enhance the dramatic effect of his paintings.


Sycra Yasin produces tutorials on a regular basis for Pencil Kings. Stay up to date with what’s happening on the site by following our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For our next article, we’ll be talking to professional artist Kirbi Fagan who recently attended a digital illustration masterclass in Amherst, Massachusetts, under the tuition of artists such as Irene Gallo, Boris Vallejo, Greg Manchess, Dan Dos Santos and Donato Giancola.

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