Artist spotlight: Yuumei

Somewhere in between exam stress and being relieved that I’m finally done for the year I remembered my promise to do another feature for this month . I’m sorry if it took long, I’ve been pretty busy and worn- out these days.  Anyways, now that I’ve gotten some decent rest  , let’s get to the second feature!

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Every once in a while  you stumble upon an artist with whom you think: ”Wow, this is a phenomenon. This is what an artist should be.”

One of these phenomenal artists is Wenqing Yan, also and perhaps better known as Yuumei ( ”light and dark” ,not to be confused with the Japanese ”yuumei” , which means ”famous’) .

An early passion for drawing and formal training from a young age have lead to Yuumei’s superstar status among online visual artists . Add to this her unique imagination and you get an unstoppable force who is also actively involved in the protection and preservation of the environment.  Yuumei’ s love for nature shines through in her art , which often features themes such as the relentless slaughter of sharks and global warming. Also, she is not afraid of weaving autobiographical elements into her works.

Versatility in many different ways(e.g. both traditional and digital painting technique, subject matter,easily shifting between different styles in terms of drawing itself)  is what I usually look for in a visual artist,  and I can safely say that Yuumei’s skill covers nearly all of them.

Title: Countdown

This piece symbolises the consequences of global warming and our conduct regarding the environment.  Needing no words to bring the message across, we see a pair of polar bears on a melting piece of ice , and a couch potato- ish figure and a city nearly drowning. It causes us to reflect upon what our wish for living as comfortably as possible does to the environment.   Aside from the urgent issue this piece highlights,  I really enjoy looking at the colouring . The hues of the icy water blend perfectly with those of the sky below, and I think the way the water is painted could not be closer to realism.  I also like how Yuumei applied contrasting colours in several elements in the lower half, like the television screen and the bag  of crisps.

Title: Cocao and Jen

These two characters are from Yuumei’s in- progress graphic novel, Fisheye Placebo . Their names are Cocao (left) and Jen. I love these character designs, the clothing they wear shows what kind of people they are,  and they are so much fun!  These are almost like fashion illustrations, except that you can actually tell their personality from their clothes, accessories and facial expressions .  To me,   Jen  looks cool, confident and laid- back, and Cocao looks friendly, calm, and spontaneaous.   The sketchy outlines ,vibrant colours and overall sense of fashion give these characters the lively look that makes these designs appealing. I’ve already spotted some cosplay based on these and several other characters from Fisheye Placebo.

Title: Bringer of Stars

Title: We Dream

Above illustrations are from Yuumei’s currently ongoing graphic novel , Knite.   Both illustrations show that Yuumei is capable of painting very elaborate skies , which is something that can also be seen in several works not related to Knite. Aside from that, Bringer of Stars shows one of the major themes in Knite: Pollution by large factories. The main character, Sen, is determined to bring the stars back to China’s clouded skies , and this can be seen in his facial expression as well as in his dynamic pose.

The use of faded shades of green  and blue mixed with sombre greys and deep reds on the left immediatly tell us what the story is (mainly) about, and form a strong contrast with the near- opaque blues and greens on the right .What I find interesting here is that the right side of this illustration has a slightly warmer feel compared to the left side but still looks cold , though in an interely different way.I think this is due to the use of greenish yellow,  which is a colour I rarely see in illustration; it is used very effectively here in my opinion.

We Dream has a more gentle atmosphere compared to Bringer of Stars; of course the colour choices in this piece are very different, since this piece symbolizes the hope the main characters have that one day the stars will be visible again.  I love the use of orange-y pinks and different shades of blue, and the fact that the characters seem to be gazing at that one bright star, probably millions of lightyears away and yet capable of giving hope and courage to those who care to look.

Yuumei’s artistic range is so tremendously mindblowing that I can only wrap things up by telling you this: You ain’t seen nothing yet. Seriously, if your jaw didn’t drop by looking at the illustrations in this post(and most certainly if it did) , I kindly direct you to Yuumei’s DeviantArt gallery (you can  read  Knite and several of her other comics here ).  Also, check out Yuumei’s  Tumblr where she  posts sketches and works in progress.