Friday, 26 June 2015

On Instagram

Dear my lovely readers,

I have not posted for some times, I am sorry for that. Having Nawang, my little girl, and folowing my calling to be a professional illustrator require almost all the time I have.

No new blog post doesn't mean I do not paint. In fact, I have been very productive these months ^-^. I have been working on 3 personal paintings and more than a half-dozen commissions.

Some clients wanted to keep their project confidential but some gave me permission to publish what I did for them. I am certainly excited to share them to you. However, since I do not have much time lately, I tend to post them using my mobile phone on an image-centric online service.

If you are curious as to what I am working on, please visit my Instagram account @inikeke. You can either visit this url, follow my Instagram account @inikeke, or click the new badget "view on instagram" at the top right side of this blog page.

I hope to see you there. Thank you :)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Dendrobium spectabile: Limited Palette and Magic Eraser Sponge


Learning from my failures when painting Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi and how important to effectively pick and mix paints, I decided to do my Dendrobium spectabile with as few pigments as possible. I used only 3+1 paints, W&N Perylene Maroon (PM), Indanthrene Blue (IB), and Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Light (HYL) and, for some area, Permanent Rose.

I am pleased that these four are all single-pigment paints and two of them (PM and IB) have a great range of colour-mix, from which I could get all colours I need to paint the orchid. They covered the "white" lip/labellum, greenish yellow sepals and petals, to the very dark burgundy pattern on the lip.

Beside having significant amount of clarity of colours when finished, I found painting with fewest possible pigments eased my mind. I worked with wet in wet washes a lot, which allowed me to let the paint flow and mingle with each other. These limited palette really helped me avoid muddy colours, which could easily result from inadvertent clashes of pigments. In addition, the limited pallete brought about harmony to the whole painting.


Magic eraser sponge can completely remove unwanted marks from the paper but I avoided using it due to its abrasive nature. However, I made a mistake, which couldn't be erased using eradicator brush. Hence, I used my eraser sponge this time, but with care. 

My tips of using magic eraser sponge:
1. Make sure the colouring is final. Once rubbed with the sponge, the paper surface impacted is somewhat damage and difficult to paint.
2. Use masking tape to protect the other area for precise result. Make sure all paint and paper is completely dried.
3. I cut the sponge into a small square because I prefer to use pointy corners to rub tiny areas.
4. Dampen the sponge and rub it gently until the unwanted mark completely removed. Wash and rinse the sponge regularly.
5. Remove the masking tape when the paper completely is dried
6. If you need to tidy the edge, apply only dry brush, as dry as possible.


The orchids are native to Papua island (Indonesia and PNG). The blossoms have an alien look, but I fell in love with it since our first encounter at a local orchids nursery in Yogyakarta back in 2013. Their extremely twisted sepals, petals and curling lip made them look as if they danced and their intricate patterns were the very first reason I had a crush on them.

By mid of this month, I visited the same nursery and I was happy to find it bloomed, reminded me of my long desire to paint it. So here is my latest painting, Dendrobium spectabile, The Dancer!

Friday, 27 February 2015

[Commission] Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin

I could be out of my mind when deciding to work on a commission from Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin. I had only about a month to work on 5 botanical illustrations and, at the same time, I and my family were moving from the UK to Indonesia for good. We had no house when we arrived in Yogyakarta and the contrasting weather was also a real problem for Nawang, my toddler. Mostly, where and when to paint were the big problem.

The twists and turns of my effort to paint in these chaotic period will take hours to tell! Let's skip it. I thank my family (especially husband) for making it possible and still love me after these months.

And now the magazine is out! Of course, it looks great! Just to see some of my illustrations on the cover feels like all those hardworking days/nights is paid in full.

And taking a look at the fashion pages is such a pleasure. It is said, after a hurricane comes a rainbow. And indeed, the "rainbow" looks wonderful! Thank you, Ralf Zimmermann and Sarah Beckhoff, for having me in this great project!

Please check my behance to see the complete original illustrations. Thank you! :)

Photographer: David BornScheuer
Styling: Almut Vogel
Illustrator: Eunike Nugroho

Photo Assistant: Alex Orjecovschi, David Fitt | Digital Operator: Benjamin Roulet | Hair: Helene Bidard / Artlist |  Makeup: Kathy Le Sant / airport agency | Styling Assitentin: Anna Koppmann | Model: Helena Severin / Viva Models | Retouching: Christine Schubeck / Bird Imaging | Location: Studio Daguerre | Thanks to Studio LB Paris.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Blogger/Google Turned My Pictures Darker!

Actually it has been ages since I realised something was wrong with pictures uploaded from Google's Blogger. When uploaded, the pictures always turned darker. White background became grey and all my paintings became darker or more greyish. Many times I went back to my editing programme, made the pictures a bit lighter and uploaded them again, but, still, they turned darker. Eventually, I was just too tired and ignored the problem.

After my previous post of Painting Yellow and Defeating the Dullness, I couldn't take it anymore! Instead of showing the brightness of the yellow Sunflower, I got dull greenish yellow petals.

However, a quick internet browse solved the problem (I wish I did it earlier! T__T). Blame it to Google Auto Enhance, which claims "It makes subtle adjustments to help your pictures look great". Well, thanks, but NO THANKS! So if you have the same problem with me. Here is how to stop it:
1. Open Google+
2. Place your cursor over the Google+ logo on the top left corner. Click Settings.
3. Scroll down to Auto Enhance section and click it Off.

4. And replace your "enhanced" pictures with the same files from your computer.

I hope it helps you too! :)

Sunflower: Painting Yellow and Defeating the Dullness

Painting yellow flower was not my favorite thing. I used to ruin my yellow flowers with ugly shadows. Eventually, the glowing brightness of the real yellow flowers was lost.

Thanks to Sharon Tingey who shared her secret mix of colours in her demonstration and her Facebook post, I found a solution to my frustration of painting yellow flowers. And I hope she doesn't mind I write here how her great tips help me.

I know from experience that yellow flower is not as easy as red, pink, purple, or orange flowers to deal with. I used to stick with W&N Cadmium Lemon or Cadmium Yellow Pale for yellow flowers, whose result did not make me happy. I felt that the more layers I put to built shapes and shades, the less bright the yellow became. It was very tricky for me. A very tiny amount of wrong pigment in the mix would turn the whole flower dull. And the mistake was hard to hide.

But the misery ended after I watched Sharon's demonstration and saw how well she did her sunflowers (which won Gold Medals in RHS London Botanical Art Show 2014!). I bought and tried the same paint she used. And I felt very grateful that she shared her recipe! It was Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Light (HYL). As you can see in the photograph above, which compares yellow colour chart, HYL is the brightest among other yellow colours I use. The DS site claims that the paint is cleaner, more transparent and brighter in chroma than Cadmium Yellow Light. Also I guess because HYL uses a single primary pigment, it helps us avoid a dull gray resulting from hidden complements when mixed.

A mix of HYL with W&N New Gamboge or Quinacridone Gold or and Perylene Maroon (for the darkest) really captures the brilliant yellow petals of sunflower.

And below is a scanned image of my Sunflower illustration. I hope you like it! :)