Majored in Civil engineering but in love with Design | Interview with Huang Li-Chung, 47yo

Majored in Civil engineering but in love with Design - Interview with Huang Li-Chung, 47yo - The design sketchbook - product and industrial design sketching tutorials

Huang and his niece

Today we meet Huang Li-Chung who has an atypical background.

He took a common path (Civil engineering) but then decided to follow his passion for design. He definitely gave a new orientation to his life. I though it would be great to learn from him – so let’s discover some more from Huang Li-Chung through this interview Smile.


Can you tell us a bit more about you ?

I’m from Taiwan.
I’ve always been fascinated by sci-fi cartoons, movies and comics since when I was a child.
My major in university was about civil engineer but few years after graduation. I started to learn some graphic design and web design skill through a short-term study project.
No sooner later I was lucky to get a job on graphic design till now.


You follow your career as a graphic designer but you are also a student of my course [Sketch like the Pros].

What attract you in Product design sketching ? And why ?

Our company’s business is about sports items trading.
Some of our clients sometimes needs our advice for their product development. That’s why I need better sketch skill to show them our thoughts.

Before I joined the [Sketch like the Pros] project, I had been looking for sketch teaching materials on the internet for a long time. Most of them are sketching videos. But later I thought just watching was not enough. I need a complete guide to help me through the whole process. Then I found the Design Sketchbook website. I was excited to know that you have this learning project. I started to join “Sketch like the Pros” as a self-study member. But later I upgraded to VIP because I thought that I need more motivation through your comments and encouragement.

Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training


You already have a pretty good level even though you have no Product design background.

Where do you find your motivation at growing your sketching skills ?

Thanks for the compliment.
No, I don’t have Product design background but like I said, I’ve been learning sketching on my own before I joined this project.
My motivation is actually not that strong. But every time when I see some great sketches, I just wish that someday I want to be like one of them. I do admire some talent people who can draw anything. I do want that skill.

Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training d

How old were you when you started to sketch ?

If childhood’s doodling accounts, maybe 8 or 9 years old when I started to sketch. But I started to learn sketching these years.
Now I’m 47. I do wish I could know you years earlier. Haha…

Would you recommend to draw everyday ?

Sure! I wish I could but I don’t. My target is at least one drawing in 2-3 days to keep the drawing feeling warm.

Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training f

Do you have any friends who are Product designer ?

Yes, I have few friends are Product designers.


But they directly use CAD to design products! They almost don’t do any sketches before designing products. I don’t know if it’s efficient or not.



Do you think anybody can succeed at learning how to draw ?

If yes, any advice or tips you would give them?

No doubt that anyone can succeed at learning how to draw.
Good skill to draw is very good for creativity. Keep drawing will grow creativity and creativity leads to success. So keep drawing!

Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training e

Do you think about moving from Graphic design to Industrial design industry?

Well, moving from Graphic design to Industrial design is not so practical to me at my age. However, my goal is to gain additional design ability to help me to get more opportunities for my job.

I saw you like using a graphic tablet.

Which tablet do you use and would you recommend it to beginners ?

I’m using Wacom Cintiq which is good for sketching. Wacom will be on my recommendation list’s top one.

Do you prefer to sketch on paper or tablet ? Why ?

Now I sketch on tablet more than on paper.
Why? I guess that’s because I’m afraid of making mistakes on papers. If I’m more confident on my sketching, I should sketch more on papers. That’s what I have to overcome now.

Which software do you use ?

I use Sketchbook Pro on computers. On iPad, I use Procreate.
Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training a

Any designer or artist you admire ?

I found some great designers and sketchers on web. Scott Robertson (USA), Spencer Nugent (USA), Sangwon Seok (KOR), you can find their videos on Youtube. They all have their own channels.
And of course, Chou-Tac is one of them.

Bonus: What do you think of the course [Sketch like the Pros] ? How does it helps you ?

I think the course helps me on systematically learning how to sketch. And the comments and encouragements really push me to draw more. Also the course provides us members a place to view and emulate other’s work which is very precious for the studying process. We know that we are not alone along the path to “Sketch like the Pros”. It’s important to me.

Hunag Li Chung - Sketch like the Pros - The Design Sketchbook - Training b

Thank you Huang for your sharing. I hope your experience will inspire many others to believe in their passion ! 

And you what’s your story ? Let us know in the comment !
If you have any question for Huang, let us know I will be glad to put you in contact with him.

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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.


  • Goran

    Reply Reply February 16, 2016

    Okay, I am here to tell you about my experience with Nikola. First to introduce myself, I am Goran and I am comming from Serbia, that’s the same country Nikola lives in. I have graduated Graphic design – 3years collage and now I am working at the marketing company, that btw pays terriblly low, because I can’t find a job in design field without real experience. My dream was to be able to make 3D Models to look like I want, not just a copy of somebody’s work, and there we go. I started learning Blender 3D modeling software, I’ve posted few rookie projects on behance and started to look for someone with experience in 3D. Finally, on Behance I found Nikola, who btw have great design ideas and very nice models. I had nothing to loose, had to ask him for help, because there was no one in my surrounding to help me with modeling and design. On collage I have learned just basics of design, but the real things comes with home self-practicing. Every day I am trying to improve my skills, and now, when I get home from work I always read or look for tutorials that will be helpful to me. Asking Nikola for just a basics helped me sooo much, because he gave me more then I asked for. I never met him, I am just a stranger who asked for his time, and yes, I got it from him. He is a great person, passionate for design and patient to explaine anything. That is a huge plus in this world because there is so low number of people that would help you and share their experience even with friends, not to mention strangers. So far, I am in 3D world for a few months, I see the progress and I own Nikola a big for that. He encourage me, giving me tips and motivation to keep with it. I appreciate that so much and I hope I will stay in good contact with him. Now, I was in my job break and I have to go back to work, but I hope this will be one short story I could tell you about myself and experience with a great and good person as Nikola is. Thank you!

  • Nikola

    Reply Reply February 4, 2016

    First I’d like to wish Happy New Year to all people who celebrate by Chinese calendar.I’m the dragon by the way in Chinese horoscope.Now my story about my learning about design and design sketching.As a 2d/3d self taught artist I think this story will encourage future designers and self taught artist like me too.For design education I didn’t have money when I was teenager,so this stayed for me just as a hobbie.I had to finish some school even I didn’t like it,but it had some connection with my passion for cars,so I finished secondary school for car mechanic.School lasted 3 years and I saw I’m not for it and there is no passion for me,like for design I have.When I finished that school I promissed to myself I will continue with chasing my real dreams.When you finish school you must find a job and work,so I worked mostly on seasonal agricultural heavy works or with carpenters as assistant.I wasn’t very confident back then,so most of the people didn’t encouraged me in my design path and some of them still don’t.My passion for design moved me and I was very persistent and determined to continue with my mission.Yes without school it was very hard,back then I didn’t have internet,there was no books about design in my country.Sometimes there were some documentaries on tv about design,or b&w car design illustrations in car magazines.These were my only sources for inspiration.Also I was inspired with works created by ID students,which was showed on car show,which happend only once in a year.Back then there were popular pastels,markers and airbrush.I bought me,a layout,some kind of markers,pastels and started to imitate what I saw and thought designers do.For me it was very fun,even it was awful,but for me I was the best.Today I know I had no clue what I was doing,when I watch and compare it with concept artists youtube videos and blogs like this is.My analog mania didn’t last to long,cause without proper education there was no progress in my work.Without knowing fundamentals like perspective,proportion,form,etc,my drawings looked awful even I had original ideas.Without proper guidance,I was lost.Then I thought I could be better in presenting my ideas,if I buy me a computer and start to create 3d models.So I worked on hard works several months and what I didn’t like it,to buy me a computer.It was my investment in the better future,but also it was my life gambling.It was new and even harder challenge for me.Fortunately I could buy a book about 3d modeling,so I progressed much faster.From the other hand I wanted to know a lot,so I had big gaps in my learned skills.I wanted to learn,modeling,rendering,particles,animation,so I spreaded out a lot and I lost a lot of years by moving in wrong directions.When I got me internet connection and opennned my mind ,I learned that I must focus on one branch first and master it.So I focused myself on 3d modeling with some rendering and lighting technics.After some years of learning I decided to try with another 3d software,because they constantly updated it and I was curious about.It was and still is blender 3d polygonal software,everything what I learned from 3ds max I tried to use in blender3d 2.35 version was then.In blender there is one a must learn rule,one hand on mouse and second on keyboard shortcuts,this rule created speed in my workflow.It took me a lot to memorize all of this,but today I’m creating my 3d models and animations and sell them on online 3d and footage markets.Thanks to my 3d modeling skills,I also could invest in graphic tablet and CAD software moi3d,which I’ve got from my clients instead of money.My CAD software is somewhat like rhinoceros lite version.I used rhinoceros 3d,when I worked as graphic and industrial packaging designer for one year.When I saw that different aproach of creating creates very accurate and beautiful 3d forms,I promissed to myself I will buy something like this someday,so I told to my client to buy me moi3d software.And yes I had polygonal and cad skills,but there was no progress in my designs.After learning all of the 3d modeling stuff,I decided to start to learn sketching with graphic tablet and to learn my favorite sketching software Sketchbook pro.I like realistic 3d models,but I always admired to 2d illustrations created by industrial designers with markers,airbrush,photoshop or with sketchbook pro software.It took me about a month to learn to sketch with graphic tablet and to watch at screen and pull my digital pen on my desk.It was fun,there was some progress,but something was missing.So I went to youtube to check it out some videos about industrial design sketching,then I found idcreatures,Scott Robertson,Sycra,Ctrlpaint,DrivenMavins,Marouane Bembli and other video tutorials from many great concept artists.I saw what was missing in my skills,and that was design and art fundamentals.I started to learn that with open mind,because when I was to confident and listened to myself there was no progress a lot.I learned my lesson on very hard way and still learning.I think design students are blessed because they’ve got the chance to study about what they are passioned about.So when ever they think about quiting their dream journey when times are hard,remember what you can loose by quiting it.From the other hand today I’m more mature now,I have more experience good and bad,so maybe when I was teenager and had the opportunity to study industrial design maybe those perspective drawings and all the analog stuff would be borring for me too.Learn new software skills,if you get in to routined job or you need to refresh your creativity.I believe there will be always something new to learn about design,which will always spark your imagination,even when you getting older.I hope so my story will encourage future design students to continue with chasing and realizing their dreams even sometimes during their study there will be hard times or it will be borring to continue with it.For other self taught artists like me,my message is to use the internet to learn about what ever you passioned about.Be patient,determined and persistent and never give up from your dreams.Talent is just 20%,other 80% percent you can get only with many years of practice and with constant learning new skills,there is no shortcuts on this journey.And yes on this blog article you saw,it’s never to late to start with your passion.

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply February 5, 2016

      We definitely need to keep up to follow in what we believe in. 🙂

      A school is great for the environment so they can fully focus on growing their skills. But in practice, not so many get a good level at the end of the school. Design sketching courses are not that complete in every school. A passionate self-learner can get a higher level than most of the students there. It will be tougher but it’s possible and nowadays it’s easier with Internet.

      You know, the design student who succeed in school to have a great level at sketching are the one who have your mindset and Huang’s. They find solution to teach themselves on top of the basic courses they have at school. They ask extra question to their teacher, and explore beyond the homework they have. We can’t learn passively and alone. We need to constantly get inspired and motivated from others :).

      Just an extra precision that Design is not only about sketching or aesthetic, but also design thinking such as sociology for example – and a design school is great to learn all these.

      Thank you Nikola for sharing with us your story.

      • Nikola

        Reply Reply February 5, 2016

        Ten years ago I was worked as graphic and as industrial packaging designer.Pretty crazy and complicated situation moved me to work as a pro.When I was worked on my computer,one day one of my parent came to my room,and gave me the ultimatum,if I don’t find me a job,I can move out from his house.I was mad,but then I did something lucid.I searched the internet,and tried to find a job for me.Then I found big company in my town needed a graduated industrial designer and I was just car mechanic with secondary school.Situation was tense,I was determined to prove to myself and to my parents particularly,so I decided to risk and to apply my works for that job.Even I didn’t know will I be accepted or not,I prepared myself by learning new skills from the internet.In the mean time I found a seasonal job,where I worked every day.It was much harder to learn on computer,because I was tired,but some strange force pushed me to continue with my learning.When I was at the job interview with my future employer,I told them that my main reason why I applied to work for them,was to learn new things and to get me new working experience.My future department chief,told me that also beside my 3d modeling skills I need to know coreldraw and photoshop,I confirmed that,but I knew I had very little knowledge about this softwares.When I finished with my job interview,I saw I have to learn even more,so I went to the internet and found some tutorials,about photoshop and about coreldraw.After 2 weeks they called me by phone,but I was at work on seasonal heavy works.It was like in modern fairy tale,I coudn’t believe it,that it’s hapenning.At first it wasn’t easy and I made a lots of mistakes as a complete rookie without design school finished.Yes my chiefs told me not to imagine something at my own,but to copy others from the internet.I don’t like to steal other people works,so I decided to push my own ideas,by price to get fired.My risk and faith in my work repayed me at the end,so I worked there for 1 year.I was there to work as industrial designer,but there wasn’t to much work for me,so I also learned graphic design with my experienced co-worker and later my good friend graphic designer.Corporation sometimes had also some gatherings with designers from other small companies,there were also some of my design heroes from which I learned to sketch,when I was a teenager.Yes they were very proud,and most of them were against me because I wasn’t their league,wasn’t proper educated like they were.Their main problem was some of them applied only their skills learned from school,but they didn’t want to sharpen their skills or to learn some new skills,like I did when ever company needed from me.So I had to work for 8 hours,and learned new software skills at home.I learned new softwares skills,but in the same time I also created works for me, to stay longer on that job.What ever they asked me I told them I can do it,at the end I worked some graphic engineer job.Funny thing was that I always shared my new skills to real graduated industrial designers,but most of them never appreciated my kindness and my friendship.I was their great and danger opponent particularly when some of my designs were chosen.Works were chosen,but because I had no proper education,my industrial design ideas at the end could cost a lot to build,so I mostly worked on graphic design solutions and for marketing campaigns.After that I stayed more on the ground and learned and thought more about every aspect of creating the product by collaborating and by consulting more with engineers.The same mistakes I heard later made also graduated designers,so it was hard for me to work as a self taught designer.I also learned then to create my design concepts with Rhinoceros 3d,because it was the industry standard,and I think still is.Before rhinoceros3d I created my design solutions with blender3d polygonal software.Yes there were up and downs during my work as a pro,and it was much easier to get fired,but it is a huge life experience for me which gave me a great confidence for the future.I had also social peace in my home thanks to my pretty good earnings.It didn’t lasted to long,but 1 year of that experience is priceles.Today less people doubts in my work,even I’m not earning a lot.From my experience I saw I gave my best when my parents gave up from me,and let me to work what I like.It took me 20 years to win my battle,but it worths.Family and friend support is also important aspect for talented people,otherwise you are competting against the whole world,which is very hard and exhausting.Today when some new 3d artists or design sketch amateurs asking me online for advice,I’m giving them with a pleasure like you Chou-Tac and like many other design and concept artists online.If you didn’t check yet,please check my online gallery on link below.

        • Chou-Tac

          Reply Reply February 6, 2016

          Yeah I saw your deviantart gallery. Great work for both sketching and 3D.

          Your story is very inspiring. 🙂 In the coming days, I will send you an email. It could be great you share your story and/or point of view in an article.


  • Renata

    Reply Reply February 4, 2016

    wôwww so cool this drawings! YeaP !

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