Zhang Liang, aka Ray, is an illustrator who spends his time between Beijing and London. With a fun and iconic style, he loves to use distinct lines and limited bright color combinations in his works. Influenced by comic books, he expresses his worldview through a unique and quirky sense of visual humor.
A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Ray was formerly a student of renowned English puppet artist John M. Blundall. Prior to graduating with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in illustration from Glasgow, Ray spent one year at the China Academy of Fine Art. The joint program between the two schools gave him his first introduction to Western-style illustration and comics. Later on, he would fall in love with hip-hop, cartoons, and Western pop culture during his work and studies in the UK.
张亮毕业于英国格拉斯哥艺术学院，师从英国著名木偶艺术大师John M. Blundall，并在那里获得了插画的本科和硕士学位。在大学生涯的最初一年，他曾就学于中央美术学院。该校和英国格拉斯哥艺术学院的合作课程提供的“英国式的教学”，让他从此接触并热爱上欧美的插画和漫画。随后，在英国的学习和工作生活让他接触到的嘻哈、卡通等流行文化，更是成为了他的创作灵感，在他作品中留下夺目的印记。
A self-proclaimed fanboy, Ray tries to never miss a concert from any of his favorite stars, which include the likes of Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, etc. His soundtrack of choice is hip-hop, and when he is really focused on a project, he can lose track of time and neglect basic necessities such as food and sleep. According to Ray, “Hip-hop and comic books might appear to be completely different genres, but they actually have a lot in common. For example, comic books often features a main character with superpowers who struggles against a challenge. It’s similar to the struggle of rappers, who will share their energy, motivation, and inspiration with the masses in their pursuit of greatness. Moreover, personas like Nicki Minaj or Busta Rhymes are almost like caricatures, similar to the exaggerated characters that are featured in comic books. They’ll both give people a different kind of aesthetic, or violence, or purity. They’re both works of expression.”
自诩“追星族”，他对自己喜爱的明星的演唱会，Jay Z、Snoop Dogg、The Game、Drake、A$AP Rocky、Big Sean、Wiz Khalifa、Tyga……他一个都不错过。作为一个一工作起来就废寝忘食、全然无视生物钟的创作者，他甚至在画画的时候也一直听hip-hop音乐。在这些表象之下，他自有一番见解: “hip-hop和漫画或插画是两个完全不同的领域，但它们却有着某种强烈的关联。比如，漫画里的超级英雄们有着不同的超能力，正如说唱歌手，他们在强大自己的同时带给世人能量、动力与灵感。再者，像说唱歌手Nicki Minaj和Busta Rhymes夸张式的表演, 就如同漫画中的超级英雄，给人以不一样的美感，或暴力，或纯粹。有一点尤为重要，那就是它们都是叙述性的作品。”
Like many other creatives, Ray agrees that personal work is a free and loose process, but he also loves working with the direction of a client brief, which he says has helped him to develop more meaningful works. Ray is very thankful for his relationships with his clients, who have given him the freedom to create work that he loves. For example, his collaboration with London’s Anorak Magazine has yielded one of his favorite works: Clara The Clown, the girl who became a circus clown. An upcoming project will include his interpretation of ice cream trucks across different eras.
For those who aspire to become illustrators themselves, Ray’s advice is to read more illustration and comic books, and “most importantly, to enjoy yourself.” An avid collector, Ray has accumulated over 2000 Western illustration books, comic books, and independent publications, as well as over 200 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys. Some of his toys, such as the action figures released by Playmates Toys, are even same age as Ray himself. “When looking at the history of toys, these are the most classic of the classic,” he says. When asked about his current interests, Ray tells us, “I have recently been reading the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons, among other things.”
张亮建议想成为插画师或漫画师的新人多读插画和漫画书，“最重要的是，enjoy yourself”。 事实上，他非常热衷于阅读与收集相关读物及物品。迄今，他收藏了2000多本欧美插画、漫画书和独立出版物，以及200多个忍者神龟的玩具。这些玩偶中，有些甚至与他本人同龄，皆为Playmates Toys出版，“在可动人偶玩具的历史中，他们都是经典中的经典”。问及近来的读物，他说:“最近我在看忍者神龟的原版漫画、辛普森的漫画，还有很多与插画、漫画相关的独立出版物。”
Currently, Ray is working on illustrations for a novel from author Guo Ge. He is also applying to showcase some of his work at the fifth annual East London Comics and Arts Festival to be held in June 2016.