Step into a miniature world with 'moving' cartoon characters
Updated 14:50, 19-Dec-2018
CGTN
04:26
CGTN

CGTN

After majoring in oil painting at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Wang Jiao found fame as an artist, but not in the traditional sense. Wang gained popularity online with her "finger animations," where she creates animated characters with portraits drawn on her hand as the canvas. 

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

With vivid characters, amusing stories and exquisite miniature backgrounds, the animation series she made under the alias "Blueberry Wang" has won her a lot of fans.

Wang inherited the artistic talent from her father, who has always loved drawing. He draws as a hobby but didn't get a chance to be formally trained because his father, Wang's grandfather, disapproved of it as a career. 

Seeing that his little girl was interested in painting like he was, Wang Jiao's father took it very seriously. Even when he was working abroad, he kept reminding Wang's mother that "You don't ask her to get high scores at school. But you do have to find her a professional tutor on the weekends."

Wang Jiao at work. /Photo by CGTN

Wang Jiao at work. /Photo by CGTN

You could say that Wang was raised to be a painter. She studied at the Attached Secondary Art School of Luxun Academy of Arts, before she was enrolled in the academy.

It's not that easy, however, to become a professional artist. Wang lost her way for a time after graduation.

"There are so many people who can paint, and they paint so well. Everyone dreams of becoming a renowned artist in the artist villages in Beijing," she said. Talent and opportunity are equally required. While helping her tutor in the museum, Wang also planned to start a painting class for children and take commercial orders.

She was not the only one who tried to earn a living as an artist. Many of her classmates eventually switched careers, leading her to consider doing the same thing.

Then it occurred to her that she could try something on the Internet.

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

"Educated with the traditional styles of painting, I didn't give much thought about the new approaches online," she said. "But deep down, I really love painting, so I had to try in a different way."

Wang likes to draw things on anything she finds. Once she drew a girl on her hand, which she thought was interesting. So she uploaded the video online for fun. Later, she tried painting pigeons and other cute animals on her fingers.

To her surprise, the videos soon became popular and attracted many followers.

Greatly motivated, she explored other possibilities and wanted to improve the animation with life-like miniature sets. She started to develop her own brand. 

This was the beginning of the joyous videos from "Blueberry Wang."

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiao

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

Based on her own stories as a playful tomboy, the interactions between the little girl and her mother remind people of their own childhoods. Wang is more than happy to strike a chord among her audience.

The making of the videos are not easy for sure. A 15-second animation can take a week to write the screenplays, make miniature props and film. "At first there was no profit, or support from other people. It was hard for me to carry on," said Wang.

As her short-video career gradually ramps up, she feels that the new art form is entertaining and opening a whole new world for her.

"My mind is broadened. As a painter, it's not necessary to work on traditional paintings. You can always innovate," she said. "I used to think that being an artist means you are secluded from the public. Actually, there are thousands of ways to make people happy."

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

Director: Lei Rong, Zhou Zehui

Editors: Lu Gengrui, Gao Xingzi

Filmed by Wang Yunfei

Designer: Qu Bo

Text by Zhu Siqi

Copy editor: Xuyen Nguyen

Chief editor: Zhao Jianfu

Producer: Wen Yaru

Supervisor: Pang Xinhua

The story is one in The 1.3 Billion series exploring the diverse lives that make up China.

The story is one in The 1.3 Billion series exploring the diverse lives that make up China.