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QU Lan

QU Lan

Meet Chinese illustrator based in France, QU Lan.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello, I am a French-based illustrator and a mother of two kids. I was born and raised in China and have been living in France after graduation from art school. Mostly I work with publishers for now and have illustrated quite a few picture books.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I am living in the countryside near Angoulême, in a family house completely surrounded by nature. We have very few neighbors but the environment is lovely. Life is healthier. We are not far from the city and I can go to Paris or other European cities easily when I want to.

 

I am living in the countryside near Angoulême, in a family house completely surrounded by nature. We have very few neighbors but the environment is lovely.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

I was raised in big cities like Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou (China). The countryside is for me an oasis. It’s so peaceful and beautiful with nature all around us. I can totally concentrate on my work. I love the countryside as much as the metropolis. They are complementary. The best thing in the country is the calm and nature which cities don’t offer and vice versa. So it’s ideal for me to switch from time to time.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Inspired, calm, isolated

 

How did you start your career in art?

I began to draw quite early. As a little girl, I wanted to be a great artist. But when I grew up, my passion decreased. I’ve been confused and lost for a long time. Only after the birth of my first child, I recovered the motivation and the desire to paint.

 

Only after the birth of my first child, I recovered the motivation and the desire to paint.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?
Yes, my parents have always supported me to pursue my dream. Now my husband and my children are also my biggest fans. I am aware of the luck that I have.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?
I’d like to work on challenging projects, especially what I haven’t done yet, like a pop-up book, animations, comics, etc. I am trying to get more time to make paintings and to enrich my skills and styles.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?
French musician Arnaud Rebotini. I love his electronic music.

 

How would you describe the women around you?
Most of my friends are also artists. We attended art school together. They are now professors, editors or independent artists. They are working hard, making their best to approach their goal.

 

Most of my friends are also artists. We attended art school together. They are now professors, editors or independent artists. They are working hard, making their best to approach their goal.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?
None. When I was a kid, I was interested in Chinese ink painting. In history, there were only male masters in this field.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

Not really. I’ve been working with lots of publishing houses. There are more females than males. No matter the sex, age, and origin, we share the same passion. Everyone respects each other for the quality of their work.

 

It’ll be a lifelong journey towards evolution and perfection but don’t forget other things important in life, such as love, family, friends

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?
Working in creative fields demands a lot of effort. We are always practicing and thinking, on and on. It’ll be a lifelong journey towards evolution and perfection but don’t forget other things important in life, such as love, family, friends. It’s essential to find the balance between work/personal life and ideal/reality.

 

 

Photos courtesy of QU Lan.

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