Meet the Artist: Feng Zhu

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  04 April 2005
Hello, Feng

I would just like to first start out by saying thank you, your web sight came up on a search of concept artists once along time ago and since then I have wanted to express my idea in a quick well composed fashion. Any who enough about that I ready most of the answers you gave others so I only have a few questions, and Im sorry if I repeated a question.

Well my first question relates to the topic of architecture, Im a 3 years 2nd sem arch student at RWU and I am interested in getting into the game and entertainment concept industry and im wondering if you think that arch will help or just be an extra.

I also heard word that you had started off in arch and then switch out to design, and my question is do you think arch helped you in any way toward your design meathods.

Im also wondering what made you leave arch was it studio or all the annoying extra classes? (guess that question is a little one sided)


And hope to see more inspirational work

  04 April 2005
Hi Feng!
thank you for taking the time to answer so many questions! your work is realy nice, im currently studying your Gnomon dvd's...very cool
my questions:

1, how much free time do you have if you work for so many clients?
2, could you post a pic of your workspace? =) (if you dont want to post it public, then pm please)

thats it thanks, good luck for the future!

Last edited by SOuLjA`- : 04 April 2005 at 02:52 PM.
  04 April 2005
Hi Feng

What a chance great chance to ask you a few questions also!

I have your dvd's and have watched them many times and my skill has improved leaps and bounds.

2 things i have problems with,

I feel confident I can draw from life pretty accurately, be it portraits, still life etc BUT like you said earlier some people cant actually CONCEPT stuff...thats where I fall, I just can't imagine some of the stuff you have done and I get really frustrated staring with a blank page. Any suggestions?

The other thing is that most of my work I do with a pencil as i feel confident HOWEVER I struggle with colour. I know some of the principles like stuff gradually going blue towards the distance etc but adding lights to a characters face and knowing what colour to use i find difficult ?? Any books worth looking at or shall i just "go for it" and see what I get blocking out colours, rather than details like you said.

Thanks for your time Feng,

  04 April 2005
Hi Feng, I just wanted to ask you, you've started out with product design yourself.. how do you feel are the possibilities for product designers in the concept field? You mentioned studios are always on the lookout for people with skills in hard surface objects, vehicles etc... but often those same designers have problems when it comes to characters and people..
Anyways, it probably comes down to practicing at what you are lacking at right?
Also wanted to mention (it's getting repetitive right ) how much I like your work.. You're cranking out awesome work at great speed! (your new site is full of it! wow!)


my Citroen DS wip thread: click!
  04 April 2005
feng i've been a huge fan of your work ever since i've seen your posts on the forums. congrats with all your success.

my primary question is about your sense of lighting - it always appears perfect. it's hard for me to guess how light should fall and bounce and react in my drawings when the scene is complex and there are multiple light sources. do you have any tips for understanding it better? do you sorta just "guesstimate" how all of the lighting should look based on experience, or do you have a more precise method for knowing/doing?

i've been considering rendering very rough versions of my scenes with 3d primitives, setting some basic light sources where they should be, and using that as a light reference for my drawings...would you recommend this, or is there some easier and more natural way of creating light well?
  04 April 2005
Hi Feng,

Recently I’ve been trying to organize my drawing environment. How do you organize your references, art supplies, and artwork?

You've inspired me with your art, I never thought drawing could be so much fun until I saw your artwork. Good luck with your career.

  04 April 2005
Question Your thoughts

Hello Feng, I love your work and your willingness to share your knowledge and educate the community is truly an inspiration.

My question is a liitle off the topic, but I'm hoping you can shed some light on it. I mainly do storyboard art and occasionally concept design for TV commercials (Trying to break into movies and games). Can you give me an inside view of the importance of storyboard artists within the production process? It seems to me they're looked at as just wrists while concept designers gain more respect.

Thanks for taking the time with all the questions. Again, huge fan of your work!!
  04 April 2005

Hi Feng i love ur work too much, thanx for the inspiration. KEEP ROCKING
  04 April 2005
Hi Feng, many thanks for sharing your amazing concept art and doing this Q&A
You are not only inspiring the concept art community, but also the industrial design community. Speaking as an industrial design student I have some questions:

- How does the Industrial Design world inspire you?
- How much do you deal with ergonomics/technologies/materials in your concept art?
- Have you been invited to do ID work?
- Since you have Chinese roots... are you interested to do concept art for the Chinese growing movie/game industry?

I need to thank you again, because you and many other great artists motivated me to draw my ideas faster and better.
  04 April 2005

I bought your vehicle design DVD and it was awsome! Thanks a lot for doing those, i hope you do more in the future.

I was wondering if you could tell me a little about what the work environment was like on skywalker ranch? Would you be willing to work there full time again if they asked you to? I would realy like to work there someday and if there is any advise you could give me on how to persue that it would be very very helpfull. Im currently a concept artist for a video game company called The Collective, and i Have a portfolio website (that desperatly needs updating).

If you could take a look at my site (Link bellow) I would be thrilled to have you give me a short crit on what you think i should focus more on to make my work more attractive to the folks on the ranch.

-Adam Richards
  04 April 2005
Hi Feng, I love your stuff.

A while back I had the opportunity to meet concept artist Peter Chan while he was in Portland. (I even drew him a little characature of himself) Anyway, have you worked with him in the past?
When working with multiple concept artists on a project, are there ever times that you end up doing concepts for the same thing or are you always working on seperate projects?
Do you ever find that there is a underlying layer of competition between concept artists on a project?

Thanks for your time.

(edit: good lord that's a lot of questions! you poor fellow.)

Last edited by requiem : 04 April 2005 at 10:26 PM.
  04 April 2005
Hi Feng, thanks for taking the time to do this Q/A!

I am currently working on a portfolio that I hope might get me a job in the entertainment design field. I have an Industrial Design education (in progress) but am self-taught in design drawing.

I have only one question:

1. The pressure to be original often slows me down. Aside from constantly being aware of new and exciting things to integrate into concepts, how do you manage to clear your mind and come back to the job--especially after you have been doing it for so long? What inspires you to find originality in your clients' assignments?
  04 April 2005
Smile Re: Meet the Artist: Feng Zhu

Hello Mr. Zhu,

I was delighted to see you doing a Q&A here at the CGTalk Website. I always read the stuff here but never really posted. However when I saw the chance to get you to answer a few questions for me, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to finally register.

1. As a veteran concept design artist, do you think that it is wise to just jump into the mix right after graduating, (ie submit to big name studios with what portfolio you have) or is it better to wait a little?
I am a university undergrad and some people say to start out small. Either go to grad school, go to a small production company or even hold back to gain certifications in programs and various other skills.

2. In your opinion, do you think school of origin makes a difference. You and Mr. Church both come from the Art Center, but did that ever help you land a job?
I ask this question because I am currently in a large university which doesn't have as big impact of a name as say... the Art Center or Ringling School of Art or even the Art Institute.

3. You always stress in all your Q&As that nothing beats just drawing... no shortcuts... just doing it. Do you think that Concept Design is an innate ability that you're born with? As in, anyone can learn how to draw but only certain few have the ability to 'concept'...

4. One last question (sorry for the amount), do you swear by High-Tec C's? Because I know I do! Best pens ever created. Do you recommend any other pens that you use on a daily basis (other than Prismas).

Thank you very much Mr. Zhu. I would just like to say that people like you are an inspiration to college guys like me and I hope that you will keep displaying the little artwork that you are allowed to show because of NDA regulations. I know it is a longshot but hopefully I will get to meet you some day.

Lloyd Romero
  04 April 2005
Hey Feng,
You have alot of questions here, I almost feel bad for posting but I do have one question for you.

I see that most guys in the ID field tend to use "non-drafting" software to express their ideas like Painter and Photoshop. Are Illustrator or CorelDraw not the right tools to do hard surface renderings? Do you see an advantage in using rastor as opposed to vector software(s) to create a final render? Thanks so much for your valuable time!
  04 April 2005
Hello Mr. Zhu,

My name is Sun, and I would like to be a Concept Artist.(I really like your Environment Design.) Thank you very much for taking the time to reply all the questions here. I know that you are very busy, but if you have time can you please take a look at my artworks at and give me some feedback.(and what I need to work on) I would really appreciate it! Thank you very much!

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