Pinfan and Chen Shufen : Sweet Days Illustration Art Book Review

Posted By yonghow on October 12th, 2010

Pinfan and Chen Shufen, a married couple from Taiwan, form the illustration team know collectively as “Pinfen”. Their art work is widely recognized in Taiwan and has also gained a huge following in Japan. “Sweet Days” is a collection of their illustration work, both personal and commercial, including music album artwork, comics, novel covers and more.

The team work in digital format using the popular illustration software “Painter”, though both hail from traditional backgrounds and honed their artistry there.

While there’s little doubt that photography is employed as a foundation for their work, I feel Pinfen’s strength  lies in their ability to augment and combine the charms of both media; photography and illustration to superb effect, and the creative result is more than the sum of both parts.

Due to their huge fan base in Japan, Pinfen’s work are also a regular fixture in the popular illustration magazine “Kikan S”, featuring other well known guest artists like Range Murata and Yoko Tanji.

I’ll love to hear what you guys think of their work – brilliant artistry; or do you have more respect for artists who rely only on the strength of their drawing skills and not photography ?

Pinfan and Chen Shufen’s “Sweet Days” Illustration Art Book details :

– Dimensions – 10.2 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
– Hardcover with jacket, 111 pages
– Full Color in high quality print and paper, Japanese text

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14 Responses to “Pinfan and Chen Shufen : Sweet Days Illustration Art Book Review”

Katie Johnson

Wow, these are just gorgeous! They have such a soft, dream like quality to them. Usually I am not a fan of photorealism, but this goes beyond simply copying from photos. You hit the nail on the head when you said that these paintings are more than the sum of their parts.
I don’t think you can dismiss artists who rely heavily on photography for their work. Of course, if you work off of an image that is already 2D it is easier to get the form of the figure down, but I’ve personally always found it harder to pick up the soul of the subject, to capture their personality. Pinfen certainly put a lot of soul into their paintings, but their subjects seem somewhat distant despite how perfect they seem.

As a side note, I really love Painter. Its wonderful to use and the results it gives are so much more organic than photoshop. What are your opinions on the program?


they’re very good, but to me, they’re just not very interesting. i understand the nature of the artwork, and that these aren’t exciting scenes as much as they are little snippets of specific moments in life, but they lack any kind of style to them whatsoever. i feel like i could just go to the mall and pick one of their prints up. they are so incredibly well done that they might as well be photos. and i understand that this lets them manipulate color and shape, but i would really like to see what they could do freehand without the use of photos.


I don’t see anything different with these from other artists that work photo-realistically. There is an unmistakable Asian flavor to them though and not surprised by that since the artists hail from Taiwan.

What I like most are the pieces that incorporate textures. Such as the 3rd, 6th, and 10th images. Nevertheless, they’re still a pleasure to look at and just like you said, they’re not carbon copies of photographs and only goes to a certain extent before holding back. There’s still the feel of paint in the images and that just makes it all the more charming.

And thanks for the compliment in the other post!


brilliant effort,good craftsmanship..


Wow, what a coincidence! Just recently in your Kikan S post I was introduced to Pinfan, and immediately fell in love with her artwork. Now you post entire collection of not only her work, but her husband’s work as well! I couldn’t agree more with Katie Johnson. They really do have this dream like quality to them. Truly talented and beautiful work! Thanks once again for such an amazing post, Mr. Yonghow. There are so many artists that I’ve been introduced to thanks to your blog.

Alexis Jonas

These are absolutely brilliant, fresh and innovative. Amazing stuff! Thanks for bringing this to my attention.


I am so happy that you did this review and had all of these pictures on here. I was at a store many years ago and saw the cover image of their book “The Library,” and the beautiful, painted-yet-so-realistic style captured my imagination. I never found it in the store again, and could not remember an author or title, but remember the image of a woman looking up with such a glow in her eyes…

I don’t know whether I’ll get just “The Library” or also this book too, but thank you very much for helping me out. I’ve been looking for this for literally years. 🙂



I’m just curious, but do Pinfen actually take photos of models and then paint on top of these photos?
Or do they use the photo as a reference and then draw based on the photo, trying to copy it as accurately as they can, and then deviate from there?

Just wondering; if they painted these faces from scratch and only use photo references briefly, then WOW!

Pls advise your thoughts.



Xeon – I’m not all too familiar with how Pinfan works, but I’ll take a wager that models are used as photo references, which are then painted over, looking at the very natural poses.

However, please anyone correct me if I mistaken. :]


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