How did you start illustrating?
I started studying drawing when I was 6 years old and I never stopped. When I was in primary school, I was drawing everywhere. All my textbooks are full of my doodles. So, I chose to study picture books during my undergraduate study.
Who inspires you?
My mother. I was not good at drawing when I began to study it. But my mother always accompanied me when drawing pictures. We drew everything we saw and thought of. Then, I began to enjoy playing with colour and shapes.
Do you remember your first illustration?
I can’t remember my first illustration very clearly. But I remember my first painting I finished with my mother. It is a panda beating a colourful drum.
How do you find inspiration?
I am always talkative in groups of people. I really like hanging out and talking with friends. I get lots of inspiration from our daily conversations. And sometimes we go to drawing trips in different museums, so I can think out some new ideas from the old objects.
Do you have a personally favourite project up to now?
Maurice Sandek is my favourite illustration. And Struwwelpeter is my favourite cautionary tale for kids. I used to do a project about how to scare children.
What’s your favourite theme for your illustrations?
I am completely a zoo-obsessed person, both as a kid and adult. I love nature and animals. When I was little, I went to the circus and thought that circus animals can perform like human beings because they eat humans. I believe there is a special relationship between people and animals. So, the transformation between human and objects is my favourite topic. I tend to imagine that every object around us is a human being wearing a “costume”. And this is the concept of my latest project “Plantman”.
How did you come up with the monkey illustrations?
My monkey illustrations are actually a picture book I created to tell a story about a monkey that lives in a human city and eat people’s souls. In ancient China, it was very popular to train monkeys to do circus performance. Monkeys undergo torment to study behaving like human beings. And also monkey is my favourite animal because I was born in the Year of Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac.
How do you define creativity?
I think creativity is hidden around us. It exists in everyone’s daily lives. We don’t need to create, but to discover. And I also believe creativity belongs to people who are passionate about life.
What’s your favourite social network to promote your work?
I like Instagram a lot, as it’s easy to post my artworks and find other artists’ work. I can easily get inspired from Instagram. (And Instagram is more about the pictures than the words, comparing toother social networks, so people can focus on the pictures I post).
Tell us about your professional plans for the future. How do you see yourself in 2 years?
I think illustration should have its practical use in modern life. It should not only be used in books or company websites with words. I am trying to combine illustration with sculptures and some commercial products. I am studying the technique to print picture on silk and I’m thinking of creating a silk scarf brand to make scarves printed with my illustrations. In next 2 years, I want to accumulate more artworks.
Favourite Quote: “一期一会” It is a Japanese four-character idiom that means every experience is a once-in-lifetime thing and we should treasure all around.
Dream destination: home with my family and dog
Favourite Colour: green
3 things you’d take on a desert island: Can I take a helicopter with me? 😛
Strangest moment I’ve experienced: My friend and I went to a restaurant in Chinatown on Halloween and was treat by two guys who wore makeup and shared table with us. The owner said they are the football players of Arsenal. But they said they are just horrible people live with this makeup everyday. My friend and I still didn’t know who they are and why they paid for our meal.
“I’d love to____go home and play with my dog. XD
Describe yourself in 3 words: talking, eating, living
Link to promote: www.joyillustration.co.uk
To be at the forefront of the movement, register here.