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Yiting Lee

Yiting Lee

Meet illustrator from Taiwan, Yiting Lee.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I am Yiting Lee, I am a children’s book author and illustrator. I was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to the UK in 2010 for six years. After that, I moved back to Taiwan and lived here currently. I like to consider myself as a nomad of the Earth, and maybe one day I will emigrate to outer space.

 

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

Currently, I lived in Miaoli, a county in Taiwan, also it’s where I grew up. The village I lived in is surrounded by fields and mountains. Wildflowers blossom in spring, then tung tree flowers come along in summer, then chrysanthemums appear in autumn. I always take a walk on a country road when I need a break from working in front of a desk all day, and It’s inspiring and refreshing.

 

People in my village they mostly don’t know what artists do, and they don’t understand why I can work from home. So, in the beginning, it was weird that I need to explain myself every time I bumped into neighbors while I walking my dog in the midday.

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

When I came back home from the UK three years ago, it took me a while to settle in. The environment I lived in the UK is full of art, you can see exhibitions and performance everywhere, and people respect what I am doing. On the contrary, the village I lived in is small and rural, you can barely see any art activities or institutes. I was feeling isolated from being here. However, thanks to the internet, I don’t feel so alone after I connected to some friends in this field. So, living isolated in a small village gave me a lot of time and help me to concentrate on my work, but sometimes I do miss having an active life.

People in my village they mostly don’t know what artists do, and they don’t understand why I can work from home. So, in the beginning, it was weird that I need to explain myself every time I bumped into neighbors while I walking my dog in the midday.

 

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

quiet, nature-inspired, self-cultivation

 

How did you start your career in art?

I was a kid who loves drawing and picture books. There’s no artist around my community, only my grandpa who is an art teacher. So I thought that is the only career for people who love drawing. However, I didn’t choose art as a profession until I was 24, I decided to take a chance on it. I went to the UK to study children’s book illustration, and I discover how happy I am when I’m surrounded by art. During the time, I’ve found my confidence in being an artist, and picture book is my tool to tell stories.

 

During the time, I’ve found my confidence in being an artist, and picture book is my tool to tell stories.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

There is not a single creative in my family, artists are only something you find in books. So when I said I want to be an artist, my parents were quickly shocked. But my parents showed full respect to my decision, they gave me a lot of support, without them, I won’t be able to do what I have achieved. They always said: you know what you are doing. They probably don’t understand art much, but because I stepped into this field, they started to know more. And I am glad to be the first artist in our family.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

The world we are living still has a lot of conflicts and heartbreaks, and we need better communication and understanding with each other. Stories have the power of communicating and comforting, and I wish I can make more books to heal and ease the wound in everyone’s heart.

 

Stories have the power of communicating and comforting, and I wish I can make more books to heal and ease the wound in everyone’s heart.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I don’t have any person in mind, but I would love to collaborate with NASA. Hope they will take me to the Moon as a reward.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Nowadays women are free and strong in Taiwan, women can do things they want, even as be a president. I think having the first female president is significant to all Taiwanese girls, so they know women are capable and unlimited. I am proud of our first female president who legalized same-sex marriage and stands for our nation through her gentle but unyielding strength.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any local female creatives as a model when I was young, but to be fair, there are no creatives in my community. But I had books and music, they are full of intriguing stories and emotions that inspired me a lot. J.K Rowling is one of the inspirations to me when I know that she is a single mother but she can create whimsical stories that the whole world is enchanted.  Also, Lady Gaga, in her music she shows how women can be themselves, and be creative and proud.

 

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

I feel very lucky that in my field there are many incredible women, and I haven’t encountered any negative experience as being a woman.  However, I noticed that in children’s books, there are more male protagonists than female ones, and female characters tend to be gentle and soft.  In the future, I would like to make more female protagonists who are brave and curious, fun and adventurous.

 

I noticed that in children’s books, there are more male protagonists than female ones, and female characters tend to be gentle and soft.  In the future, I would like to make more female protagonists who are brave and curious, fun and adventurous.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Just be yourself and trust what you can do, and enjoy life!

 

 

Photos courtesy of Yiting Lee.

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