Illustration of a Day
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
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.