Artist Q&A: Ivan Hoo

We are excited to share the work and techniques of a truly inspiring artist from Singapore – Ivan Hoo:

Tell us about your background as an artist.

I am a 32-year-old self-taught artist based in Singapore.  Since childhood, I was interested in drawing, but I only saw it as a hobby back then. About 7 years ago I started to change my profession to become a full-time artist.

Describe your artwork.

Mostly realism. I have always loved realistic art, since I was very young. I slowly found my own personality and style.  I chose to draw 3D anamorphic style on Wooden or MDF Board.

Tell us about your creative process and the materials that you use.

I work from reference photos or photos that I took myself. I sketch precise lines using pencils or pastel pencils depending on the wood surface choice. For drawing tools I use PanPastel Colors, Sofft Knives and Covers, pastel/charcoal pencils and a blending stump.

When did you first begin using PanPastel Colors?

About 4-5 years ago I stumbled across David Kassan’s live demo video, at first I didn’t know the tools he was using until I researched it online. At that time I couldn’t get any of the PanPastel and Sofft Tools in Singapore. So I’m fortunate to have a fellow artist (Joanne Soto White) who lives in America. And she was kind enough to send me a couple of Sofft Tools and a Black PanPastel (800.5) to try. Editor’s note: PanPastel is now available in Singapore at Overjoyed.

How do you use PanPastel colors in your work – what is your technique/process for using them?

I mostly use them as a base as they create really soft smooth effects and they cover big areas quickly. During the painting process, I also use the ‘edges’ of the sponges for details.

Are you combining PanPastel with other media – if so, which media – and how do you use them together?

It depends. Sometimes use acrylic paint as base layer on the wood surface to hold the pastel color, before I work on top with PanPastel. Or when there are small precise areas I may use a brush. I use pencils also.

Are you doing things creatively with PanPastel that you were not doing before?

One thing I love about using PanPastel is that it allows me to  create painterly visual effects. I can use them to create transparent-like water ripples or even glasses effects.

What surface(s) do you normally use with PanPastel?

I mostly work on Wood Panel or MDF Boards.

What do you see as the main benefits of using PanPastel in your work?

I draw lots of animal portraits so PanPastel allows me to create a softer effect for example for the fur textures which I had been struggling with using other media. And also, I always like how PanPastel allows me to blend colors easily.

Do you have any tips/techniques to share with other artists who are using PanPastel?

I use the edge of the tools e.g. Sofft #4 Point Knife/Cover a lot. I am able to achieve thin lines that create natural hair or fur textures.

Describe the space/studio where you normally create.

Most of the time, I work in a small but cozy space which is my room as I’m home based.

Who / what are your creative inspirations?

There’s a lot actually, but mostly they are the pioneers of hyperrealism, Audrey Flack,  Chuck Close, Roberto Bernadi and recently Ruben Belloso who inspired me to use pastel on wood.

What excites you most about your life as an artist?

Firstly, I feel fortunate that I’m able to draw and devote my time as a full-time artist. seeing my artwork coming to life and also the response and feedback that my audience and clients give me makes me really feel appreciated.

What’s the most valuable lesson you have learnt on your journey as an artist?

I have learnt not to get carried away and stay true and humble at all times. I always appreciate when people give me good advice.

What are your artistic (and other) goals for the future?

Besides working on commissions and preparing for exhibition, I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I hope to keep on creating for as long as I can and inspiring others.

When you are not working on your artwork, what other interests do you have?

I enjoy cooking! In my spare time, I will cook for my family.

Any upcoming events, workshops, projects you’d like to tell us about?

I will be participating in more overseas group exhibitions and collaborating with different artists who I have come to know on Instagram. So please feel free to follow me on Instagram @ivanhooart for more of my latest updates.

Anything else you would like to share about your work or PanPastel?

Sure, for commission work please contact me via email.

To see more of Ivan’s YouTube videos showing his PanPastel painting techniques visit:


     To see more of Ivan’s work – follow him:

     Instagram: @IvanHooArt



     YouTube: MegaKimutaku/videos

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