Q+A: Tammy Liu-Haller

Self-taught pencil artist Tammy Liu-Haller creates highly detailed drawings of pets, wildlife, and landscapes.

How would you describe your style?

I create highly realistic pencil drawings. The more the details in it, the better!

What subjects do you enjoy working on?

I love animals and nature so that tends to be my focus; however, I also have a small niche in golf drawings! That always sounds random, but I have a dear friend in the industry and over the years have created a number of commissions for him and the guests at their resort. It’s slowly grown from there.

What medium(s) do you work in?

I work mostly in graphite pencil; however, the last few pieces have consisted mostly of charcoal, which is super exciting because charcoal was always intimidating to me. I struggled to understand how other artists could render such high details with such a loose medium. But I am in the process of learning how and am happy with the results!

How has your process evolved?

When I started my art business seven years ago, I was creating large, realistic hand-drawn family trees. So it was all about conveying the exact details the families provided. Even today, with my pet portrait drawings, it’s the same. But in my non-commissioned work, I’ve been trying to think “outside the box.” How can I keep the detailed work but add some creative flair to it? That’s the next hurdle to jump.

What got you started creating art?

I’ve been creating all my life. My favorite day of the week was always Thursday, when my family went grocery shopping, because my mom would let me get a new notebook and pen! I began my college studies as an art major but didn’t know what I would do with it (I didn’t think I had what it took to be a working artist). So I changed my course and left art art for 15 years! In 2012, I created one of the family tree drawings as a gift for friends. Their reaction and subsequent outpouring of support put me back on the path to create. I opened my shop the next day and never looked back!

What artists influence your work?

Some of my favorite artists actually work in bold, bright colors! But those who actually influence my pencil work are: Skip Steinworth, Robert Longo, and Emanuele Dascanio. I like to observe how they have rendered a certain surface or texture. I am continually learning from others.

"I've been trying to think outside the box. 'How can I keep the detailed work but add some creative flair to it?' That's the next hurdle to jump."

Tammy Liu-Haller, PatronArt Artist Tweet

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