When we see a burst of colors in designs, we seem to get a positive, lively, happy and fun feeling. This is the effect of colors to those looking at it. The same is true when we see candies. Even before we get a taste of them, we are already filled with a different kind of sugar rush with its colorful wrappers and cute shapes. Seeing a bunch of colorful yummy candies is indeed true to the term “eye candy”! But what happens if you combine candy, colors and art?
You will get the Candyland Illustrations by Caramelaw (a.k.a Sheena Aw). Once you see here work, you can notice how lovely the colors are. Even the details in her designs are cute giving it a look that is totally stunning. Caramelaw is also a character designer so you can see various types of characters in her illustrations. She also add a twist of fun and art into toys like Pullip dolls.
Her love for what she does is seen in her works. It is obvious that she enjoys creating candy creatures because the output is not just impressive but is also full of joy. We were given the opportunity to exchange words with Singapore based artist, Sheena Aw. Allow her to inspire you with her words and her art.
Naldz Team: How did you start working on vectors and motion graphics?
Caramelaw: I was trained as an animator back in college. Back then, there were not much animation firms in Singapore so when I graduated I had to go into video editing and motion graphics just to pay the bills. Of course, animation and character design is still what I love doing most and I can only moonlight a little on the side after work hours. Working on candy art illustrations keep me sane along the way.
Naldz Team: How do you define candy art?
Caramelaw: Mind boggling, cute, colourful, weird, morbid shit that makes you salivate when you look at it.
Naldz Team: Your candy art is full of fun and life especially with your choice of colors. How did you come up with this kind of style?
Caramelaw: To be honest, I never really had ANY style of art when I was learning design. I did whatever I think I like doing and tried out all sorts of stuff. Manga, Anime, comics…but none of them satisfied my crave for creativity. It was really frustrating at first, how can I call myself an artist when I couldn’t even come up with my own style. Then I came across Takashi Murakami, Tokidoki, Tado, Pete Fowler and for the first time I was exposed to pop art culture and I really loved what I see. At that moment, something woke up inside me and I started making weird stuff. And also, for the first time, it felt right! I made many pieces of art, tried different colour combinations and when “My world of madness” was made; I knew I’ve found my style.
Naldz Team: Can you share to us your work process? Do you have creative patterns?
Caramelaw: My creative progress usually starts with a handy sketch book. I go out, get inspired and scribble ideas down into my little book of awesomeness. Then I head back to do more detail sketches before I finally settle with the sketch that best represents what I have in mind. I use Adobe Flash and Photoshop for all my illustrations, playing with colours and adding more elements as I go along. Honestly, I have no idea how any illustration I work on will turn out to be. They simply, take on a life of their own, pretty much instinctively. It’s fascinating and very exciting because it’s always an unexpected outcome.
Naldz Team: Does living and working in Singapore have influence to your work?
Caramelaw: I think my love for Japanese culture, pop art and toys has more influence on my art than anything else.
Naldz Team: What are your hobbies and passions that have a great impact to your candy art?
Caramelaw: I’m a toy and doll collector. I love toys, be it vintage My Little Ponies or Blythe dolls. They all play a significant part in stimulating my brain for ideas and most importantly, they make me happy. VERY HAPPY. I like surrounding myself with toys because it gives me a sense of belonging. Caramelaw in her candyland making candy art. The way they are designed, their colour schemes, their smell, texture, shape and size. Every time I hold a piece of toy that I adore, it sparks new ideas.
Naldz Team: Aside from illustrations, you also have toy designs. How do you link your candy art to toys? Are you also fond of toys or you are merely doing it for others?
Caramelaw: I think the previous question answers most of this. I enjoy the process of making toys for others as much as I like collecting them. It’s really fun, taking briefs from my clients and making a doll/toy according to their liking. Seeing their comments and faces light up upon seeing the completed product is the greatest gift of all.
Naldz Team: Describe to us a typical day of Caramelaw.
Caramelaw: Up at 10am, breakfast, go for a run and its freelance video editing or illustration in the day, tea time, sometimes nap time, dinner and followed by doll/toy customizing in the evening. Answer emails, and before I hit the sack, I like to either play some video games or watch some cartoons/anime to unwind. That gives me a lot of weird dreams but I like it because sometimes it gives me strange ideas.
Naldz Team: Some people are stereotyping design thinking that only men can do it. What do you think is the edge of women when designing?
Caramelaw: Anyone can design or create. How original you are defines who you are as an artist. You can be a man, a woman, an elephant, a snail, an old chap… but nothing beats the imagination of a child. Or, someone who never let the child in them grows up. I am quite certain I never let that child within me grow up which is why I am so connected with toys and dolls. I feel it brings out the kid in me with a touch of femininity.
Naldz Team: You have received recognition and praises worldwide. How does this affect you as an illustrator and as a person?
Caramelaw: Having come from a tiny spec in Asia, I am extremely humbled. I have fans from all over the world and some whom I have become friends with. That is the most amazing thing ever. All I can say is, without my fan’s support and encouragement I wouldn’t be who I am today. So thank you!
Naldz Team: If you are not working on something, what do you usually do?
Caramelaw: Play with my cats, play video games, watch cartoons and anime, or I like to clean and pack up the studio; I’m OCD that way because I believe in keeping organized. I like to go out shopping for nonsense. And when I mean nonsense that would be craft materials that might be deemed useful for customizing dolls or toys. It’s like an adventure to me; I’ll never know what I find. And even if I don’t know what I can do with these craft goodies, I’ll buy them anyway. Because in the end, something spectacular always happens when I do get to use them. And I love it!
Naldz Team: How can you connect your candy art to your personality?
Caramelaw: I worked in the corporate world for 8 years. And having been in that situation, I’ve always wanted to make art that represents the REAL me – something that screams the opposite of the corporate world. My art is fun, vibrant, crazy and whimsical. It keeps me sane and I always believed in this balance.
Naldz Team: What are the valuable lessons you learned about art?
Caramelaw: Be original. Even if you really enjoy someone else’s art, you look up to them and you brand them as your idol. NEVER EVER COPY. It’s what you have created that defines you as an artist.
Naldz Team: What is one principle in life that keeps you going?
Caramelaw: Always help people and be nice. The world is round and what goes around comes around. Keep an open mind and take things easy. Because when you’re happy, you attract happy people and eventually, you’ll attract happy things as well.
Illustrations made for Blood Sweat Vector exhibition in Berlin showing cute, red and devilishly delicious cherries.
General SHM Air
It is indeed fun when you are up in the air with wings, clouds and hot air balloons!
DepthCORE – Time Will Heal
This piece is a sad work of art which is made for those who had broken hearts. You will only see the sad part of it once you look closer at the characters.
“Everything is filtered from her heart. But only the good & pure shall rise…” This is how Caramelaw defined this art work made for an exhibition.
General SHM Sea
An underwater themed art work showing fishes with yummy treats.
In My World Version 2.0
Made for Blood Sweat Vector exhibition in Berlin, this shows a lovely colorful world with a lace-inspired border.
Last Vampire CandyNaut
Caramelaw’s interpretation of “the last vampire astronaut” by Jared Nickerson.
TESH Land – Sweeeeeeeeet
An artwork that is game themed and is Super Mario inspired.
Vampire cherries are tamed and handled by this character. You are looking at the Lolita family.
Caramelaw in Wonderland
Caramelaw went to Wonderland in this Alice in the Wonderland inspired artwork. She is the only real subject here while the rest are in cartoon.
Caramelaw defines this as, “She knows the world is going to end and sends off all the animals. She prays for their survival…”
Find the Artist
Caramelaw’s work is indeed one of a kind. She was able to add a lot of happy emotions to her works with every hue and every line in it. It is the positivity in her works that make it appear more appealing to the audience. So, even when you are not designing, stay happy. Like what Sheena said, “when you’re happy, you attract happy people and eventually, you’ll attract happy things as well.” You can see more of Sheena’s works and even her toy designs in her website. From there, you will get to love this lady even more!