Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 3, 2011

Illustrator Saturday – Tina Hou

I met Tina Hou in August at the SCBWI Conference held in LA. I asked to see her portfolio and after looking at it, I thought you would enjoy seeing an illustrator who is just starting out her career and definitely on her way down the illustration road to success.

When I asked her where she was born she said, “I was made in Taiwan and imported to the US at a young age, 24 years ago.” When I asked her when she started drawing, she said, “When I first immigrated to the US, I would doodle in class because I couldn’t always understand the teacher. I guess that was the start of my illustration career!”

Tina Hou is a San Diego based artist whose work ranges from video games to children’s book illustration. As the senior 3D artist for “Cars: Race O Rama” and “Nicktoon’s : Globs of Doom.” Tina incorporated the unique styles of Pixar and Nickelodeon into her children’s illustration. Tina has also contributed to a variety of mobile phone apps, including children’s educational “Babblemania.”

Tina received her BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has since exhibited her oil paintings in art centers in Southern California area. Ultimately, whether traditional or digital, Tina has worked a variety of media in order to become a story teller. She is in the process of publishing her first children’s book and illustrating her second. 

Here is Tina contemplating her work in process. Currently Tina does most of her illustration pieces, using digital media in her studio. She starts with thumbnails where she establishes composition, then moves on to value studies. Then she addresses the details of each character, object, and background. Finally, Tina does color comps or runs a color script before she starts to color each piece. She prints them out in actual size and tapes them on the wall, so she can get a better idea on the working process and sense the story flow.

Character Studies

Tina uses a mix of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter. When I asked her if she had a graphic drawing table, she said, “Yes, I have a Wacom tablet. Because drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a potato! I also bought a used Cintiq from Craigslist, which I absolutely love.”

Here are Two of Tina’s Oil Paintings:

Here is one of Tina’s Apps:

I hope you enjoyed visiting with Tina today. Take another look at her picture and I think you will see why I liked her so much. She is a very sweet, talented young woman. We’ll be watch you Tina as you advance your craft and career.

Talk tomorrow,

PS: Get a website!


  1. I agree, Kathy! Someone with this kind of work and career should DEfinitely have a website! This is wonderful! And the fact that she loves her USED tablet makes me think I shouldn’t be so skiddish about buying something like that second hand. I always fear it will be defective! lol

    The one thing I couldn’t understand is how her neck doesn’t kill her from sitting on the floor to look at all the print outs she tapes to the wall!

    Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing, gals 🙂


    • Tina, I adore you. I am so happy that this article has presented you in such a real and perfect way. (I never saw the Kelloggs ad but how cool!) You are amazing and I love your spirit. I hope to see you soon for lunch or flute lesson, either way 🙂
      Love, Joyce


      • Joyce,

        It is nice to hear that you thought I did a go job with showing Tina off.



  2. Wow, great work!


  3. Fabulous! Thanks for the post. I just love Illustrator Saturday.


  4. is she repped? 🙂


    • Chris,

      I am 99% sure she does not have a rep. Did you get an damage from the hurricane?



  5. Tina,

    Awesome interview. So many things we don’t know about you. You are extremely talented and having bought many children’s books now, you, by far outclass them all.

    Best of luck,



    • Allison,

      Thanks for leaving a comment for Tina. I’m glad I could show her off a little.



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