Sketch With Lex: From a Quarantine Hobby to a Sports Illustration Business

Lexter Ang, the creator of Sketch With Lex, previously shared his creative journey from running his family business, to starting his own design company, to becoming an illustrator. Quite some time has passed since then, and now he’s back again to talk about the new direction of his illustration company. 

Ang started drawing portraits as a quarantine hobby. He had just gotten a tablet, and he wanted to learn a new skill, which is why he decided to give digital illustration a try. He created Sketch With Lex to document his journey of learning how to draw again. This might be a strange thing to hear from someone who works in the creative industry, but Ang had always been an avid doodler while growing up. He just lost track of illustration when he became a designer because he was too caught up with the graphic design and marketing sides of his business.

At the beginning of his illustration journey, he gave himself a goal to draw 100 portraits before the end of 2020, and he managed to achieve it despite going through the hurdles of mastering digital art. He believes that the more you sketch, the faster you will improve your skill, so once the new year rolled around, he set himself a goal of drawing 200 portraits before June. This time, however, he wasn’t able to hit the target, but he’s proud of his progress so far because his portraits are more refined compared to before. 

“My artworks evolved so much that it got to become more detailed compared to my first few sketches. Normally before, a sketch would take me around 2 hours to complete, but now, on average, I do sketches for around 10-12 hours because there’s so much detail to do, like the skin tone and all these things. I really take the time,” Ang shares.

“The point of Sketch with Lex is to show people that I just started this one year ago and this is how I progressed. If you put the time in, you can also do the same.” Ang adds.

However, Ang’s art style isn’t the only thing that changed. He also went in a completely new direction in terms of choosing his subjects. Before, he would mostly draw fanart, but now, he decided to focus more on athletes because he wanted to find a niche, and he has always been a fan of sports. Ang describes athletes as his personal heroes, and when you look up to someone as a hero, the tendency is you would want to pay tribute to them in every way. However, the athletes Ang chooses to sketch aren’t randomly chosen. They are people who made an impact on his life, and drawing portraits of them is Ang’s way of sharing their story. 

Ang cites former Chicago Bulls player Dennis Rodman as an example. According to Ang, Rodman might not be the best player in the world in terms of scoring, but he was still a legend in his own right when it comes to defense and rebound. 

“That story inspired me to pursue what I’m doing right now. I may not be the best artist in the world, but when it comes to portraiture, I want to be the best,” Ang states. 

“The lesson I got from it is that if you’re not obsessed with trying to perfect your craft, if you’re not obsessed with trying to train your eye to see differently, you’ll never achieve results. And that’s the same thing with the story of Denis Rodman. He was there for one job and he perfected that job, that no one else can compete. And that story of Dennis Rodman resonates so much with me, with what I’m trying to do right now. I want to use these stories that I get from athletes and inspire people through art. And at the same time, I hope that people would look at athletes in a different way,” Ang says. 

Ang’s main focus might be on athletes, but once in a while, he would still draw people who inspire him. He recently drew a portrait of the late President Noynoy Aquino, and as he points out: “PNoy might not be my favorite president, but just being able to do a tribute sketch of [him] is my way of feeling more connected. It’s my way of learning his story and sharing his story from my point of view.” 

In addition, Ang shares how portraiture has changed his outlook in life and also has some valuable advice for those who are pursuing their passion. “In reaching success, sketching has taught me the importance of both discipline and patience. Often, in the beginning, you can’t visualize how the outcome will come out, but the more time and effort you put into your work, the image becomes more precise.”

“It applies as well to my outlook on life, where we often can’t see our future clearly, but by using these core skills in our lives, we can achieve great results; the important thing is never to give up on your dreams and keep working hard to achieve your goals.”

When asked about his future projects for Sketch With Lex, Ang mentions that he would like to draw portraits of the athletes who will represent the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics. He also teased the possibility of delving more into contemporary art. 

Ang currently runs his business remotely from Hong Kong. You can find his works on the Sketch With Lex Facebook page and website, as well as his art Instagram account. If you’re interested to buy his portrait artworks or request for commissions, you can contact him through his social media accounts.

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