The Art of Suggestion

If you did one sketch every day, what would you draw today?

The first time I saw the work of Du Juan, who draws under the pseudonym Xiao Duzi, I couldn’t find a title or an explanation, just a short date—a day, a month, a year—and this diary-like approach is what piqued my curiosity.

Look closely at the giant man with a house for a head and a black cloud hanging over his shoulders, and you’ll see that most of the space is left to the observer, left to the imagination.


如果每一天你都会画一张画,今天的你会画些什么?

第一次看到小杜子的画,就是没有命名、没有简介,只见一个短短的日期,某年某月某日。正是这充满日记性质的概念,充分调动起了我的好奇心。

仔细一瞧,一栋房子代替大脑,乌云悬浮在巨人的两肩,而更多的空白,则留给观者,留给想象。

For now these drawings are largely a daily record of experience. In 2016, when Du Juan returned from England, where she’d studied, she took a job teaching. “Art is art, teaching is teaching,” she says, explaining that she prefers to keep the two separate. “The only thing linking them is that, when I teach, I can pass on some fundamental skills and my understanding of art. But art requires independent thought,” she says.

As for her influences and inspiration, Du says that recently she gets a large part of her inspiration from poetry, and reads everything from Oscar Wilde to classical Chinese verse. “In general I like two types: poetry that offers a glimpse of life, and poetry that expresses an emotional state,” she says. “Particularly once you’ve acquired a little life experience, you can sort of understand the deeper meaning of classical poetry.”


这些涂画,暂时多是日常感受的记录。2016 年,从英国留学归国后,目前的小杜子,日常从事着教育工作。“创作是创作,教育是教育。”对她个人来说,更愿意把两者分开,“它们所具有的联系只是(让教育)把创作中一些体会和基础技术传授出去。而创作的事儿还得是独立的思考。”

而要说对创作的影响和激发,小杜子说近期,诗歌占了不小比重。王尔德也好,传统的古诗也好,“一般会喜欢两种,一种是对生活的洞见,一种是情感的抒发。尤其当慢慢有了些生活的阅历,多多少少才似乎明白古诗中的深意。”

The characters in Du’s drawings are just outlines and suggestions, but the details are unique. She thinks this may be because she likes to take slow, solitary walks, where she sometimes happens across intriguing sights that she incorporates into her art. “No matter what I draw, or what materials I use, or what style I’m trying out,” she says, “I always hope the drawing will contain something that’s quiet and not obvious but can nevertheless be understood.”


画里的人物轮廓模糊,细节却很独到,小杜子说,那可能是因为喜欢一个人散步,走得也慢,意外会看到些有感触的小东西。“只是无论画什么,用什么材料,尝试什么风格等等,都希望画里建构一份安静和不被识破但可被理解的内容吧。”

Behance~/XIAODUZI
Weibo: ~/艺术插画师小杜子


Contributor:  Chen Yuan


Behance~/XIAODUZI
微博: ~/艺术插画师小杜子


供稿人: Chen Yuan