Don’t be afraid to pick up that virtual brush; or just “paint” digitally with your fingers, as Singapore-based artist Zhu Hong does.

Zhu Hong shows us how to paint Singapore streets in five stepsHe can apparently manage to paint even while on the go, using his Samsung GALAXY Note 8.0.

You can see his digital paintings on show at the 7Adam Restaurant until August 21, 2013.

Known for his watercolour works, Zhu Hong decided to paint with his fingers on the Samsung tablet instead for practical reasons.

Zhu felt that he “hardly had time to paint with watercolour” and so decided to get a gadget that he could paint with wherever he goes; a handy – pardon the pun – way to capture slices of Singapore from wherever he’s standing.

“Creating a piece of art is simpler than we think,” he says. “If we learn to see the ubiquitous mobile phone as paper, brush and ink, then we have all the tools we need in our hands.”

Here, Zhu Hong shares more tips on how to paint digitally, even without an artsy background.

While you may not be churning out masterpieces instantly, it’s an easy way for beginners to start.

1. Paint anywhere
Your surroundings are ripe with inspiration, if you just pay a little more attention. “I remember one morning in McDonald’s, when I found nothing to paint,” shares the artist. And then inspiration struck with the object right in front of him: “my morning tea”.

2. Start with a sketch
Plan for your painting by sketching the outlines of what you would like to paint. Zhu Hong tends to sketch fine, grey lines, as they can be easily covered over with your brighter colours later.

Zhu Hong shows us how to paint Singapore streets in five steps
The making of: Eunos station by Zhu Hong

If you’re still clueless about what to sketch out, “start by painting what you like the most,” advises the artist. “And train your eyes to find the beauty among the normal, daily things.”

3. Use a broad brush
Painting digitally may seem intimidating, especially to beginners. Use a broad brush to start with, suggests Zhu Hong. From the brush tool on your drawing app of choice, choose the brush with the thickest width to paint with.

“The focus is less on recreating the details, and more on capturing the mood and feel of the scene,” he explains.

For instance, you could easily still paint a scene at the beach or even streets in Singapore by replicating the colours in broad strokes, as Zhu Hong has done.

This way, even if you can barely draw like a pro, you’ll still be able to capture the general atmosphere of the place you’re at.

4. Limit your colour palette
An explosion of colours can be too distracting. Go monochrome or use just the basic set of colours to be able to paint quickly. “The less time taken, the better result,” says the artist. “Because if you take less time to finish a painting, it means you are confident about your work.”

5. Put a cat in it
Or a dog in it, if you will, like Zhu Hong. “Sometimes, I put my dog into the scene, and even change its colour according to the surroundings,” he shares.

The main idea is to put a subject that creates “a point of interest” in your painting, something that would catch your eye and draw viewers to your work, says Zhu Hong. You can even add text to your piece too, as part of the composition of your painting.

“Beyond the Screen” Solo Exhibition by Zhu Hong
Date and Time: Now to August 21, 2013, from 11am to 8pm daily
Venue: 7Adam Restaurant Gallery, 7 Adam Park, Singapore 289926
Prices: Admission is free. Go to for more information.