Illustrator and Animator Qian Shi Explores Remoulding Work into Different Mediums

Pulling from a mixture of sources for inspiration such as places she has traveled or museum curiosities, Qian Shi has amounted a rich and varied body of work that spans animation, direction, children’s illustration an more.

We take a look at her debut picture book, some of her other illustrations and animations, as well as a peek into some of her sketchbooks from her travels.

Exploring different iterations of her art projects is something that Qian enjoys experimenting with. What begins life as an illustration can find it’s way into moving image, print, or even into and a wearable garment.

Qian talks to us about this in more depth, particularly how her early life and later years of experience in the animation industry have informed the work she creates today.

“I grow up in Shijiazhuang, a northern city in China, I have always been drawn to stories and loved making pictures. I now work as an animation director, animator and illustrator in London, but I’d like to call myself a storyteller, the stories I tell can be in different forms.”

“I first studied animation in Communication University of China, and since then have travelled and studied in Norway, Denmark & UK.”

“Since graduating from my MA degree at Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, I’ve worked in the British animation industry for the past 8 years, including feature films, commercials and motion graphics.”

“I was lucky to have directed & art directed a couple of shorts, it was always a great experience to work with a team of talented artists and create something fun.”

“In between freelance jobs, I’ve worked on a couple of personal illustration projects. I started these illustrations as digital paintings, then I’ve done experiments with screen printing, dressmaking and eventually an animated version, the possibility is endless!”

“Tutti Frutti is a series of fashion illustration that’s inspired by fruits.”

“As I grew up in 80s’ China, I was not exposed to a vast choice of illustrated books back then, however I have read a lot of Chinese comics and Japanese Manga.”

“Fast forward 20 years, when I just moved to London, to help study English I got into classical western children’s books such as Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter.”

“I believe this planted a seed in me that eventually lead me to work on my own children’s book.”

“Beginning of this year, I published my debut picture book The Weaver with Andersen Press, since then it has been translated to Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese & Korean.”

“And of course I wouldn’t have missed the chance to do some animation clips for ‘The Weaver’.”

“I’m constantly trying out different mediums— watercolour, screen printing, and currently really into texture making & paper cut collage, but commercially I mostly work with digital painting.”

“When I travel, I always try to pack a sketchbook and it’s really the best way to ‘look’ at a place by drawing them.”

“Travelling has always been my best source of inspiration. I love being able to see the world with fresh eyes, broaden my views & have time daydreaming on the journey.”

“Sometimes I discover interesting things on trips, I write notes, sketch them down and perhaps turn them into a project later on.”

“For example, my graduation film ‘Shoe’ is based on a shoe-doll (a doll made from a shoe) which is in a museum collection of Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh.”

All images © Qian Shi

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