Many people’s first experience with a digital creative tool was with MS Paint. The iconic program—pre-installed on every computer running a Windows operating system—was simple, lightweight, and perhaps most important of all, free. Today, with the prevalence of Photoshop, Illustrator, and the other multitudes of feature-packed graphics software, MS Paint has become a relic of the past. But in 2017, Microsoft’s decision to no longer support future development of MS Paint was, quite surprisingly, met with widespread outrage. Does the dated software truly have any value beyond nostalgia? Lin Xingyu, an 18-year-old illustrator from Guangzhou, China, believes it does.
许多人第一次接触数码创作工具时，用的是绘图软件──画图（Microsoft Paint）。这个具代表性的程序预先被安装在每部使用微软操作系统的电脑里，简单、无足轻重，最重要的是免费。随着 Photoshop、Illustrator 和许多其他搭载各式功能的绘图软件变得普遍，画图软件已成为昨日黄花。然而，当微软于 2017 年决定不再支援开发画图，却意外地引起众怒。这个过时的软件真的有怀旧以外的价值？来自广州 18 岁的插画家 Lin Xingyu 确信如此。
Lin masterfully wields MS Paint as his medium of choice, creating tranquil illustrations that showcase the beautiful mundanities of his daily life. While he began playing around with the program when he was 11 years old, only five years later, at the age of 16, did he begin to see the program as a tool for creating art. “I watched some painting tutorials online, but I didn’t have any actual paint,” he recalls. “So I just followed along in MS Paint instead.”
Lin Xingyu 熟练地使用画图软件当他的创作媒介，画出带有平静氛围的插画，展示美好平凡的日常生活。Xingyu 11 岁就开始玩画图软件，但一直要到五年后，他 16 岁时，他才开始将画图软件看作创作工具。“我在网络上看过一些绘画教学，但是我那时没有真正的绘画颜料。” 他回忆道，“所以我就用画图软件替代。”
While other modern image-editing software offers more flexibility and functionality, the challenge of creating beautiful effects using the simple tools of MS Paint is a large part of the allure for Lin. This affinity for simplicity also lives at the core of his art.
“Small things like sunlight catching dust particles or refracting from a scratched glass window used to mesmerize me,” he says. “As I started drawing more, I started taking note of all these little things I found beautiful and looked for them in different places. Once you start looking, you can find a lot of beauty everywhere. I feel like these ordinary scenes have a special kind of beauty that a lot of people can relate to.”
虽然其他的图像编辑软件具有更多弹性和功能，但利用画图这类简单的工具创造出美丽的效果，对 Lin Xingyu 来说更有吸引力。这种单纯的喜爱是他的创作核心。
“在阳光下看微尘翻飞，或者透过满是刮痕的玻璃折射出来，这类小事很令我着迷。” Lin Xingyu 说，“当我画得越多，我就开始四处寻找那些令我觉得很美的小事，然后记下来。日常生活场景有种特殊美感，会让许多人觉得有共鸣。一旦你开始观察，天地之间都是美。”
Lin’s illustrations focus on ephemerality, or rather a desire to preserve fleeting moments of beauty. One commonality across his illustrations is that they tend to show the twilight hours between sunset and night. Using shades of oranges and purples, he depicts this daily moment of beauty with stunning vibrancy. In other works, the receding sunlight is depicted more subtly, indicated only by a tinge of pink on the horizon or by skyscrapers slowly lighting up in anticipation of the coming night.
Lin Xingyu 的插画着重在无常的事物，或是试图留住转瞬即逝的美。他的插画作品有个共通点，经常展现日落和夜晚之间的薄暮。他用鲜艳的橘色、紫色系描绘日常之美。在他其他的作品里，他仅用的粉色调来妆点地平线，或让摩天大楼在夜幕降临时慢慢点亮，以此来更巧妙地描绘出渐隐的日色。
“The end of the day is when people feel the best. It’s the time when we’re coming home from work or school, or already at home, making dinner for the night,” he explains. “I want to recreate these stress-free feelings in my illustrations and share them with people.”
Perhaps that’s what makes his works so charming, almost meditative: beyond their outward beauty, they’re a reminder that human experience is about more than the stresses of daily life. It’s worth taking a moment to stop and appreciate the beauty of the world around us.