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“PRACTICE ” to be a storyteller

Start from the first day of the MA. I spend one and half year on Practicing.

The practicing started from depiction drawing.

The depiction drawings I made in this period, by the example of leaning a language, are like reciting the words. When I pronounce a word, the meaning of the word has no directly connection with my own feeling. The purpose is to grasp the word itself and build up a solid bridge between the word and my emotion. So that I could find the correct word from my visual vocabulary when I need to describe something.

For a long time I walked around with pen and a sketchbook, I recorded those things that cached my attention with their visual quality. My favorite object is human. The beauty from woman and man, the richness and experience shown on the aged and the innocence from kids always attracts me. I am deeply impressed by the movement and emotions expressing from all kinds of human beings. At the same time I also draw a lot of natural objects such as plants animals lights and shadows. Meanwhile, art and architects, especially those naive and rustic arts, have offered rich resources for my learning.

The first benefit of taking this practice is that I obtain “the eye” to discover a quality moment. I could instantly see and catch “the moment” form thousands changing moments. A moment which has its own temperaments, it is a touching, ugly, bitter or affectionless moment.

The second benefit of taking this practice is that I obtain the hand to service the eye, a skilled hand that could describe what the eye sees. By this time I am a servant of “the moment”, I completely subservient to its original temperaments. I draw ugly if it is ugly. I draw bitterness if it is bitter. The only wish from me is to wreck the quality of “the moment” as less as I can.

Then when accumulated a certain amount of words, the heart had oblige to express. I started to draw my own feeling. So at this time, the inspiration source of drawing was no longer from “the eyes”, but also how the heart felt. With very basic language the heart said: “Home” “Lonely” “Affection ““Painfulness” “how interesting it is!”“ real happiness”…

Because of lack of vocabulary, self-expression in this stage was humble and extremely brief. But I swear that every single world is sincerely full of emotion, and honest. Abundant feelings from the short words made it able to reach the other distant hearts. I am not sure how people identify and feel the emotions from a picture or a sentence, but I find very often when I honestly put my feelings into the drawings, the drawings are most susceptible to others. Seems because of the feelings exist prior than the skills, common feelings rooted in a corner we originally inherit from ancestors.

I learned about expression is: “ honesty’s the best policy. “— Premio Cervantes

There was a turning point in the end of the first year. It occurred from my experience of working in a restaurant. At there I saw the back side of the candlelight and fancy dishes which was not suppose to be seen by most. People in the fumes took extremely heavy manual labor to make a living. Candlelight and fumes existed all at once. But the beautiful illusion was seen while the heavy reality was not necessary to be known. I zoomed into this conflict and show it in a dawning. People, could you see the world? Have you seen the world?

In this process a drawing was not only to convey feelings and present aesthetics, it was a fact, a question mark, leading people to think. The audiences were taken into a mental journey and they could option a new perspective. So I was aware that an illustration work could touch hearts, as well as enlightened thoughts. The importance of drawing was no longer only emotional expression, but also include building cognition from the worker, the work and the audience.

While this turning point happened I noticed the visual vocabulary had accumulated to an amount that could be composed. Therefor I began to pursue the richer expression, in another word, I started telling stories.

How to tell a story? It is hard to explain. As if I have a handful of rice, day after day with the sun and the moon passed or occasional a rainfall, rice turn to rice wine by itself. This was how I learned telling stories.

I draw four stories in total.

The first story is about a whale. There is a while met a bird on the surface of the ocean. The whale has longing for the land from the description of the bird, so it decides to go there and see, the whale swims to the beach, runs on the earth, see the springs, forest and the desert. The whale is flying in the wind and melting with the sun and rain, it eventually returns to the place where the life begins.

The second story is about a bear. There is a bear that was born and brought up in a circus. He used to be popular. But with timing going the bear is too old to win people’s applause. He is sold to the hunting game as a prey, for the first time and the last time, the bear steps into a forest. There is free.

The third story is about being alien. It is composed by a series of short graphic novels. I create a kid-like woman, her friend furry friend“Shi”, a thief and a hedgehog family in this series. The main tone of the story is to look at thing up side down and observe the world with an unreasonable view.

The fourth story is a children book about “lost the beloved”. This is my final master project. I have wrote about this theme for several times with different versions, and finally get satisfied with a story about a girl seeking her mother in the “hide and seek” game.

I think from short to long and back to short, from simple and return to simplicity. With these four stories I explored the rhythm of storytelling and tried to build a unique visual&word temperament. And about the subject of the stories, I keep questioning what is death.

The Chinese have a saying, all learned back into the personality.

Who I used to be brought me to the door of illustration, there I learned and established in the process, and eventually harvested who I am now.