Hsiao-Ron Cheng is Taiwanese commercial artist. Her work has slowly transitioned from nightmarish scenes full of imagination to laconic portraits and still lifes with a touch of the surreal. Throughout the years, Cheng’s tendency and flair for subdued tones have made her work instantly recognisable.
Born in 1986 in Taipei, Taiwan, Cheng was drawing and painting from a young age. She took art classes when she was 6 years old. After graduating from National Taiwan University of art, she got a job as concept artist in an animation studio. However, she had a pining to paint more freely. Utilising all her free time, she worked on bettering her illustration skills. About a year later, her work started to get attention online, prompting her to become a freelance artist.
Cheng started to work as a freelance illustrator in 2012 and has since worked with international fashion brand, design agencies and publishers. Some of her clients include EMI , L’Oréal Paris, R/GA and Penguin Random House. In 2014, she collaborated with Lesia Paramonova on the LES collection and in 2015, created album art for Troye Sivan and Cœur de pirate.
Cheng’s paintings are created digitally, from start to end. After messing around on a Wacom, she instantly knew it was the medium for her. Now she is always training and improving her Photoshop kung-fu. As I mentioned above, Cheng’s muted palette has become synonymous with her work. But working with soft tones is much harder than you may initially think. Cheng cannot freely add dark shadows to create contrast, as that will quell the softness. Her deep understanding of colour is essential in creating airy and calming imagery.