Huang Ch'uan (style name Yao-shu) came from Ch'eng-tu in Szechuan. He was already an excellent painter as a child but his art progressed even further as an adult when he studied the works of his contemporaries Tiao Kuang-yin, T'eng Ch'ang-yu, Li Sheng, Sun Wei, and Hsueh Chi. Nonetheless, he was able to cast aside the influence of former painters to establish his own style. At the age of 16 he was already serving as Painter-in-Attendance in the palace under Emperor Hou-chu (r. 918-925) of the Former Shu.
Huang Ch'uan specialized in painting flowers and birds, especially the rare birds and exotic plants kept in the palace. When painting, he would first lay out the composition with fine ink outlines and then build up the colors in successive layers. His paintings are most notable for their use of bright, beautiful colors which create a sense of gorgeousness and grandeur.