The colour of hope
An illustration in Hery Huang’s digital colouring book (right), inspired by the heritage shophouses in Chinatown (left). (Photos: Hery Huang)

The colour of hope

One can seek comfort and joy in unexpected places these days – you might just find it in your phone, and it isn’t anything you will need to Google.

Local artist Hery Huang has developed a simple solution to help Singaporeans cope with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, at the height of the pandemic, he conceived the idea for Hope – Sights of Singapore, 2020, a digital colouring book comprising 50 illustrations of Singapore’s iconic food, skyline and landmarks. The drawings include the historic Raffles Hotel and the National Stadium in Kallang, which is close to Huang’s heart as he grew up in a nearby housing estate.

The whole process of creating the digital colouring book took him a month – from shooting the inspiration for the illustrations on his mobile phone, to creating the digital sketches with the help of software and his iPad. The book is meant for both children and adults, and the artworks in the book can be accessed on any digital photo app. The coloured drawings can also be printed or shared on social media.

Huang tells us about the inspiration for the digital book, and his hopes for it.

Tell us more about the idea for Hope – Sights of Singapore, 2020.

It has been a very depressing time in Singapore, with the COVID-19 pandemic going on. I wanted our artwork to lift people’s spirits. I decided to come up with a digital colouring book because colouring is a way for people to alleviate stress and soothe the soul. The digital colouring option lets people to create beautiful art without the messiness or hassle of using traditional art media such as oils, acrylics or pastels.

Why did you choose to depict Singapore icons in the colouring book?

I want to celebrate Singapore’s nationhood. We are a relatively young nation, but I want Singaporeans to continue to believe in our ability to pull through difficult times as a nation.

What are your hopes for this book?

It is my hope that this book will help its users enter a meditative frame of mind. When we lose ourselves in the colouring, our existential anxieties are placed at rest. But the goal is not simply escapism. Rather, it is to enable us to transcend the gloom of the pandemic by journeying and arriving at a deeper appreciation of simple pleasures, as well as the sophistication of life in Singapore.

Responses has been edited and condensed for clarity.

We can’t wait to share more awesome content with you. This is going to be so much fun.

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