Welcome to our first Artist Spotlight. Here at Daft by Design, we love webcomics, and I think we’ve made that pretty clear already. While they vary in complexity and styles, they are an amazing tool which artists use to express themselves beyond its mere components of illustration and story-telling.

That’s why I’m here to talk about Wenqing “Yuumei” Yan. Reading her works has permanently changed the way I see comics and the affect they can have on its readers.

Chances are, you’re no stranger to her or her work, especially if you frequent DeviantArt. I first learned (somewhat) about Wenqing Yan back in March of 2013 when she released the intro page of Fisheye Placebo. It looked really interesting but considering it was just one page and that I hardly ever visited DeviantArt, I forgot about it. Flash-forward to 7 months later and I run into the series again and decided to read through the updates…. and my mind exploded. The sheer amount of awesomeness contained within this relatively new series was too much to handle and frantically told everyone I knew to read it. I could go on for hours throwing synonyms for “amazing” and reasons as to why the comic is such things, but to spare you my ramblings I’ll give you a more condensed version:

FP

Fisheye Placebo takes place in modern day, but fictional Central Eastern Republic in which the comforts of technology and everyday distractions have turned people blind to the censorship the government has placed on its people. While many live in comfort there are far more who remain suffering. Vance Lee, our first protagonist is incredibly intelligent and a gifted hacker 1st year college student. Unfortunately, he’s among the ones who fail to see the hidden truths and rather use his skills for the mundane and self-gratification. Then there’s Frey and Robin who seem to be on a mission to change the status quo, and see Vance as an opportunity to turn a sheep into a useful ally. It’s still too early to know where the story is heading, but as a whole, Fisheye Placebo is a reflection of our own world, our modern day culture, our problems and our apathy for them. It demonstrates the dangers of activism, but more so its need in order to bring upon change. Many aspects are even direct analogies such as China’s censorship of information, the activities of the Anonymous group, and even the works of Banksy.

Design wise, Fisheye Placebo is simply jaw-droppingly gorgeous with high influences of manga and anime styles with near real-life detail. There are so many details and references that no matter how many times I read it, I always notice something new. The atmosphere created makes it feel so life-like. This fictional story being so relatable makes the whole reading experience feel surreal and jarring as it reminds us of important issues we tend to ignore and social responsibilities that we neglect.

With the amount of quality and detailed work that goes into making each page of Fisheye Placebo, updates come at a month’s pace when the project is active. Fortunately, her DeviantArt page is filled with years worth of incredible illustration and other projects. More often than not, each unique and beautifully crafted image carries a theme or message to raise awareness of social, environmental, or political issues. These are merely a few samples of her work.

1000 Words is Wenqing Yan’s first published book. It’s a short illustrated story of a young girl who’s tormented by her parents impending divorce. She can’t express her thoughts and feelings to her parents and wishes to create a drawing that can. Unhappy with her skill and desperate to keep her parents together, she ask for help from a traveling artist to create a drawing in her stead.

The art is gorgeous, but it’s the story that shines. Experiencing a divorce as a child is never easy and an all too common experience for many of us. The simplicity and it’s true to life nature makes reading it an incredibly emotional experience.

1000 Words
Kite - BTaT

Knite is a Flash semi-animated comic. Clear night skies, brimmed with stars and beauty have long since vanished in in modern cities. The presence of pollution and smog now hide the skies of China. Each night, Sen, the leader of Knites, brings back the stars to the sky in a very creative way. A demonstration of how the sky once was, and how it will hopefully one day be again.

Unfortunately, Knite is currently on hold, but the story so far is definitely worth checking out.

But it wasn’t only the incredible art and webcomics I discovered about Wenqing Yan. Hidden among old DeviantArt posts, interviews, and short illustrated life stories on her Facebook page, she has on occasion shared personal stories about herself. She has had a rather difficult upbringing and a not so pleasant family history. But you also learn about her passion for activism, trying to make the world a better place through her art. As if her art wasn’t incredible enough, knowing what she has been through and what she strives for completely made me re-evaluate her work. Knite, 1000 Words, Fisheye Placebo, aren’t mere stories. They are HER stories, her experiences, her vision. To be able to expose so much about oneself and put into an incredible, emotional, and thought provoking, illustrated tale…. Well it takes talent unlike anything I’ve seen before.

As founder of this Daft by Design, I thank you Miss Yan for demonstrating how powerful webcomics/graphic novels can be and for being a motivating factor in creating this site. As a fan I’d like to thank you for the enjoyment you’ve provided through your art and wish nothing but the best on all your future endeavors.

P.S. Did I mention she recently co-founded her own highly successful cat ear headphones company? I guess that’ll have to wait for another article.

About The Author

Founder

While not artistically inclined myself, I enjoy the vast forms of entertainment artist provide to the world. I created this site to help spread the word of all the awesome creations being made by talented folks.

2 Responses

    • Archaga

      Not to mention one of the most popular comic artists in Tapastic as well. Can’t wait for the return of Fisheye Placebo myself.

      Reply

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