Illustration of a Day


Dongni Wei

Storytelling can exist in a novel, a movie, an animation, picture books and independent illustrations. In my opinion, as long as a work can stimulate spectators' sympathy, it is telling a story or sending a visual message.

Since the pandemic began, I started a 365 challenge project for myself. This aims to challenge myself to do more experiments and make more artworks, which may inspire me more ideas in the future. About a hundred pieces of all so far, I set a specific character, a little girl with big eyes, as the main character. Storytelling can go through the interactions among the visual elements. In each image, there are some communications between the girl and the environment, which is trying to tell a story about a day. 

These four images recorded the lockdown situation in China during the last Chinese New Year holiday. Because we almost were not allowed to go out and there was not much to do at home, I created a girl who tried to find something to do to kill the time. 

I drew the main character on tracing paper to show my imagination. And it is also a way to highlight the girl. Tracing paper for me is important. As the vital element, it helps me explore the boundary between the reality and imagined world.

Considering the feature of oil pastel, I drew in color with thick layers and scratched with hard and sharp tools after that. The scratching-mark is a new way to emphasize the main character, meanwhile, readers often need more time to find the hidden characters. In this case, it seems that it added more amusement to exploring. It helps readers create their own stories on the way, searching for small scale hidden figures. Due to the great time in Europe, I combined my travel photos with my imagination. The little girl walked around and enjoyed visiting and exploring new areas. Environment-building sets the location where the story happens.

Emotion-expressing plays an important role in storytelling. Using colors to show the feelings of characters is one of the ways artists love to choose.

A series of portraits about self-quarantine

Obviously, I was looking forward to going out, but I could not. Overlapping colors show how my feelings are at that moment-bored, sleepy, self-entertaining, and amongst others.

There are more activities that appear on my drawings after the quarantine. And also they were the "gifts" I got from the long-staying at home. These four images focus on the character more than the environment

I zoomed in to show part of the character, drew what she was thinking of and imaging about. All of them are exploring how to break the limitation of observational drawing. According to the exploration I did above, I made an illustration to show my daily life. It is not only a piece of illustration, but also an interaction with words. 

Illustrated of a Day helped me observe the details around me and review what happens in my daily life. Besides that, it built up a visual storytelling picture gallery. When I need some ideas, I can look through them and find inspiration.

Picture 21: A Day in the Life of Dongni Wei

Dongni Wei is an illustrator, author, art director and art teacher based in Beijing, China. She graduated from MA Children's Book Illustration, Cambridge School of Art in 2019 and currently is represented by the Bright Agency and an author signed with Daylight Publishing House.

    Dongni published four children's picture books. Her picture book, The Forest Dress-up Competition won The Potential Work of 1st Sunflower Picture Book Award by Daylight Publishing House. A Bug Hunt is one of the selected illustrations for "The Children-Spectators" exhibition at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2021. The series Somewhere was longlisted of the World Illustration Awards 2020. Mr Moon won the Merit Award of Hiii Illustration International Competition 2019 and shortlisted of the Key Colours Reward 2019. Her artworks were also recommended by the AOI and the Bookseller at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2019.
    Bold and vibrant colours with mixed media are her visual voice. The inspiration for her work comes from her daily life, travels around the world, people she loves and different cultures.