Colors in Harmony: An Interview with Tanglong

Colors in Harmony: An Interview with Tanglong

5 min read

Vectornator recently partnered with Chinese artist, Tanglong. You can see more examples of his work in our 4.7 Update Blog.

Tanglong is an artist based in Sichuan, China who captures the magic of nature and dreams through colorful compositions. A UI designer by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Tanglong is working hard to pursue his passions and master his craft.

We recently contacted Tanglong to find out more about his inspirations and creative processes.

Artist Interview: Tanglong

Artist Tanglong painting in his studio

Hi Tanglong! You have a very bright and colorful style! How did you develop it?

There are actually a few “tricks” when it comes to deciding on color combinations. For example, an illustration usually contains a dominant color and a decorative color, with the former accounting for 70-80% and the latter 20-30%. The dominant color is not only a single hue but also includes similar hues next to it on the color wheel, within the range of 30 degrees. For decorative tones, it depends on your personal style, or your mood when drawing. Sometimes I use the strongest contrasting color as the decorative color, or sometimes the weaker ones. Each person has their own preference.

If you want to apply more dimension to your design, you may have to work on adjusting your colors. When using a similar color to your dominant hue, try changing the brightness to achieve a balance. During the creation process, it’s important to always check if balance is achieved and whether or not you should add something more.

Vector illustration of surfer by Tanglong

You put a lot of emphasis on color in your work. What does color mean to you, and how do you go about choosing a color palette for an artwork?

When I start a project, I begin by doing some research on how other artists or illustrators are working around the same theme. During this stage, I would browse through a number of illustrations and look for the ones that stand out. I would then take a close look at the precise features that make them good.

After doing the research, I would then determine what the dominant and decorative colors of my work will be. While I work on the design, I would always make sure to take a step back now and then to see if the colors are in balance.

How has the new color palette update in Vectornator 4.7 improved your workflow?

With the 4.7.0 update, I can now save all of the colors I use often. This is much better than before as I can now save multiple palettes for different projects. I’m a big fan of gradients, so it’s super convenient to be able to include them in my palettes. If I may, I'd also like to make a modest suggestion: it would be nice if the eyedropper could be used in gradient mode as well!

Vector illustration of woman and planets by Tanglong

Why did you decide to pursue a career as an illustrator and graphic designer?

My main career is in UI design. Actually, my undergraduate degree is not design-related, but pure engineering. I finally realized I was not very interested in this major when I had my first internship in the last year of my studies.

Since then, I have been looking for creative ways out. At that time, UI design started to emerge in China, and is also a direction I am interested in, so I underwent some professional training and finally became a UI designer.

Did you go to school for graphic design and illustration? (If not, what was your process for teaching yourself?)

Actually I didn't go to art school or design school. But I've always loved drawing since I was a kid, especially when I was on summer vacation. I remember when I was in middle school, I took several short-term art classes, specializing in sketching and life drawing. I probably learned some basics of light and shadow and modeling there.

When I was in high school, I stopped taking any more art classes because I was busy with my school studies. But I didn't give up drawing either—I often drew secretly during class lectures, but don’t tell my teachers!

Vector illustration of surfer by Tanglong

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

I’d love to become a full-time illustrator. As I said earlier, I am currently a full-time UI designer, but I really hope to become an illustrator. At the moment I’m very busy with my job, so I don't have much time to plan my career as an illustrator. This is my biggest challenge so far, and I haven't overcome it yet.

What's your favorite Vectornator tool?

I like the Pencil Tool and the Brush Tool the most. They are both freehand tools, and it feels good to draw vector paths freely. If you have good basic drawing skills, you can use the Pencil Tool in Vectornator to draw sketches directly in the app. That means you can save time by skipping making separate sketches in Procreate.

Illustration of a boy and a dog by Tanglong

What other tools do you use in your process?

I’m also using Procreate. Generally, drafts are drawn in Procreate and then imported into Vectornator and converted into vectors.

What’s next for you? Any big projects or changes we should look out for?

I currently don't have any big projects, but I might update some of my works on social media.

Illustration of stars and clouds by Tanglong

Thanks Tanglong! We’re super excited to see more of your beautiful illustrations soon!

You can find Tanglong’s portfolio here:


What to read next

Press ESC to close.