Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
When I was I child, I love reading picture books. I enjoy looking at the beautiful illustrations and I spent a lot of time on it. That's why I think it would be wonderful to be a illustrator.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
Yes. I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with Master degrees in Illustration and Sequential Art. Taking artistic training is very helpful to my career. I improved my drawing skill and learned how to be professional in the college.
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I grow up in Beijing, China and I live in Los Angeles now. I love both of the two cities.
Was creativity part of your childhood?
Yes. I started to draw since I was a kid. I loved drawing princess and cute animals, and I made stories with these characters I created. It was fun and brought me happiness.
Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?
I love watching animated movies very much and I think my major artistic influence are Disney animated movies. My favorite Disney animated movies are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The lion king and Mulan. I like their simple and pretty art style very much. When I am working on my illustrations, I try to keep them simple and clean.
What was your first commission as a professional illustrator?
My first commission is a series of illustrations for the Washington Post. Thanks Victoria for providing me this opportunity. The stories are about parenting. I was excited and stressful. The illustrations were not perfect, but they were a good start.
Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.
I finish most of my works digitally because it is very convenient to edit the color and the composition. Sometimes I also combine paper textures with digital image in Photoshop. It gives the illustrations more details.
Which project has been most instrumental in developing your personal style?
A project I did for fairy tales of Oscar Wilde has been most instrumental in developing my style. I had a hard time to exploring my personal style. Then I realized I am comfortable to draw in this way.
Where do you get the ideas for your characters?
I get ideas from people around me. It is interesting to know people and understand them. With the internet, I am able to listen to stories of more people without meeting them. I also get ideas from novels and comics. I like to read them in my spare time.
What is your favourite children’s book and why?
L'Homme Montagne by Amélie Fléchais. The characters are adorable and the story is great. I really like Amélie's soft and gentle artwork in this children's book.