The Many Seals of Wang Fanqiao

November 10, 2015 2015年11月10日

Wang Fanqiao, aka Wang xx, is a freelance illustrator who draws seals every day. According to Fanqiao, “When I’m in a bad mood, I draw seals. When I’m in a good mood, it’s the same. I just need to draw seals.” After graduating from the graphic design program at Nanjing University of the Arts, Fanqiao took up a position as an illustrator for COLORS magazine at Benetton’s Fabrica Communication Research Center in Italy from 2012 to 2014. She later lived in London for a time, but early this year returned to Nanjing.


Fanqiao has loved drawing ever since she was a child. When she was in middle school, she became fascinated with Japanese manga, and vowed then to become a comic book illustrator herself. In university, she learned about other forms of illustration before starting her professional career. While working at COLORS in 2013, she started to draw seals in her free time, with her first series consisting of ten hand-drawn works. The seals were inspired by the stuffed toys she had from her childhood, which she would hug every night before falling asleep.


Fanqiao says, “There’s no real purpose to it, and I’m not sure where it’s headed. It’s just that when I stop drawing seals I feel lonely, so it’s something I need to do.” For the past two years, she has experimented with some different techniques for drawing seals. After her return to Nanjing, her seals have started to take on more human characteristics. She hopes that other people, in addition to being drawn to her cute aesthetic, will be able to find warmth and comfort in her illustrations.


The main character in Wang Fanqiao’s illustrations is a white seal, who lives with a grey seal, a manatee, and an octopus. Other characters often appear, including a rabbit, an elephant, and a crocodile. They eat together, get drunk together, read books together, or sometimes they just fall asleep on the couch. It is an ideal life that’s never too busy and never too lonely. Wang Fanqiao tells us that the seal is a part of her own personality, while the other characters are inspired by stuffed animals or friends from her own life.

在她的海豹漫画里,主角海豹和另一只灰色小海豹、海牛以及章鱼住在一起。偶尔在画面中还会出现兔子、大象、鳄鱼等动物。吃东西也好,喝醉也好,看书也好,在沙发上睡着也好……海豹就这样和它的朋友们呆在一起,不喧闹,也并不寂寞。 她告诉我们,漫画中的海豹就是她自己,或者说是自己的一种寄托;灰色小海豹、海牛和章鱼都是现实生活中凡乔的玩具公仔;而其他动物则大多是她的朋友。

Although Fanqiao’s digital illustrations are simple, they also convey a genuine sense of warmth and gentleness. She doesn’t need to try too hard to make them cute, because she believes that the world is naturally cute. While her commercial projects are more serious and tend to have some restrictions, her own personal projects allow her to have fun and to express herself freely. According to Fanqiao, her time spent as a magazine illustrator has given her an aptitude for thinking and working quickly, which has also influenced her personal work. She is inspired by the minimalist style of American artist Ellsworth Kelly, as well as the artistic philosophy of Marcel Duchamp.

凡乔的作品,寥寥数笔的画面,却有一种温柔和温暖的力量。她喜爱将事物卡通化,无关刻意,她认为世界原本就这般可爱。商业作品上略为写实的约束让她的个人创作成为一种放松的行为。她说,杂志插画师的工作让她形成了迅速思考、迅速作画的习惯。这种习惯之后也很好地延续到个人创作中。此外,Ellsworth Kelly对她这种简约画风的形成也产生了很大影响。而杜尚那种活着就是艺术的态度让她极为倾心。

Living and working abroad has taught Fanqiao that life can sometimes be difficult. “We’re very fortunate when we have enough to eat, enough to wear, and a place to work and live. These are things that we should all learn to be grateful for,” she says. Fanqiao feels a sense of gratitude towards every person that she encounters, from her family and friends to her clients and colleagues. For her, seals are a great model for those who want to keep a positive attitude in life: “Seals are pure. They always maintain an innocent attitude towards the world.”

曾经的工作生活和长时间一个人居住的经历,让她明白生活的不易。“吃饱、穿暖、有工作、有住宅,都不容易,人要知足常乐”。因此,她对身边的亲朋好友、客户同事和海豹的每一位读者都充满感激。她觉得,“海豹就是永远天真、永远单纯 、永远温柔地对待这个世界”,而那正是她想成为,并努力成为的人。

Wang Fanqiao’s time is now mostly divided between submitting to commercial publications and drawing seals. In addition, she continues to draw comics and is currently working on a comic book about the heart. In the future, she hopes that she will be able to publish a collection of her seals, and perhaps make them into a toy collection.




Contributor: Banny Wang



供稿人: Banny Wang