Artist of the Week: Amanda Zhang

Views 58 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 18 - 2019 | By: Max Mutch

Amanda Zhang is an international student from China senior Art major focusing on digital painting and graphic design. Zhang attended an international school in Beijing where she learned English and planned to go to college in America. After going to school for some time at Suny Purchase, New York, she transferred to Westmont to be closer to her sister who attends UCSB.
Digital painting has a number of different choices that users can choose from for their preference. Clip Studio Art, Sai, Procreate, and Photoshop are some of the options that artists have. Zhang prefers Photoshop because it offers the most options for different tools to use. Some of the applications for digital painting and graphic design include logos, website design, and user interface for games; digital painting is painting on a tablet. One of the drawbacks to this style of art is that if the artist makes a mistake, they cannot draw over it. Instead, they have to start the project over from scratch.
Zhang started using Photoshop in junior high. At first she was overwhelmed with the amount of functions the program offered, so she kept trying different things until she began to figure it out. She never watched tutorials, focusing on being self-taught, and understood Photoshop within a year. Zhang believes this style of learning is the best way to learn. She took some Photoshop classes in high school, but by that time, she had already taught herself all the basic skills the classes were teaching.
About a year ago, Zhang became interested in digital painting and took a class with Scott Anderson last spring after the same method of self teaching that she approached graphic design with didn’t work out for digital painting. This class in particular has been the most formative for learning skills in digital painting. The results of Zhang’s hard work are visible at the Westmont Ridley Tree Museum.
Zhang’s senior project is inspired by a 2,000 year old piece of Chinese literature titled “Classic of Mountains and Seas.” The book is about the various animals and geographies of ancient China, containing one to two sentence descriptions of mythical beasts and landscapes. Zhang interpreted the descriptions and put up 11 digital paintings of these marvelous creatures on display for viewers’ enjoyment. An interesting piece that Zhang created was “Bashe,” a snake so huge that it eats elephants and spits out the bones after three years.
After graduating from Westmont, Zhang plans to continue painting for herself and perhaps do graphic design for website companies. In addition, she will expand her self-taught abilities to work on programming and writing.


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