Denizen Magazine ‘Heroes’ digital portraits

Denizen Magazine is an Auckland based publication that ‘celebrates the art of living well from a New Zealand perspective’.


Each year the magazine chooses four outstanding Aucklanders to receive the ‘Denizen heroes award’, along with a cover portrait and feature article.


Departing from the magazine’s traditional use of photographic portraits, Watermark Creative’s Joseph Qiu was chosen to bring a fresh look to the magazine this year via digital portraits layered with brush strokes and texture to give the idea that they had been hand painted using oils.


“The way I achieved this look was to push the colour brightness, while ensuring tonal harmony. I studied a lot of Richard Schmid’s painting and learned how he managed to paint with broad and rough brush strokes.”


Joseph has created such vivid depictions of his subjects that the reader could be forgiven for feeling like they are now intimately acquainted, to the point of knowing their coffee order and how they like their eggs done.


For Joseph, who’s already an award-winning portrait artist, the main challenge was not to go overboard with detail.


“In digital painting we can keep refining endlessly, however in real oil painting the detail level will be limited to the media and the size of the canvas. So I had to always remind myself not to over do the details.”


The winners (shown on the magazine covers from L-R) were:

-Brittany Teei, Tiffany & Co innovation award winner

-Nicholas Loosley, Land Rover community award winner

-Mimi Gilmour, Chivas entrepreneurial award winner

-Deborah Smith, Dior humanitarian award winner


View more of Joseph’s award winning portrait work in his portfolio page.


Visit the web page for the Denizen Heroes issue



Denizen Magazine



2018 Illustrators Australia Illustration Awards
Gold, Editorial Series



Joseph Qiu


Ph: +61 2 9380 6988


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