Since the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a cartoon, entitled Cheer Up, Hot Dry Noodles (a snack of Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province), has generated positive responses from numerous netizens, who have been impressed by the cartoon's "curing power." Chen Yuting, a young woman whose pen name is "Chen Xiaotao," created the cartoon to encourage Wuhan residents to combat COVID-19.
Chen, a native of Tianjin (in North China), graduated from the animation department at Tianjin University in 2016. Last year, she earned her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Beijing Normal University (digital media department). During the past two years, she has done phenomenally well in her animation career. Her Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) account has attracted more than 300,000 fans.
Animator's Cartoons Encourage Wuhan Residents to Combat Novel Coronavirus Disease
The cartoons warm the hearts of the people throughout the country amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Heartwarming, loving cartoon
When the epidemic broke out in early 2020, people throughout the country were concerned about the epidemic's development, especially in Wuhan. Chen's many fans and friends suggested she create cartoons to warm the hearts of Wuhan's residents, and especially the doctors and nurses who were serving on the "battlefield."
Within a day, Chen received nearly 200,000 positive comments (from netizens) about her cartoon. Many major media outlets published the cartoon, via their online platforms.
During the following months, Chen created many cartoons to support Chinese as they fought COVID-19. Many netizens said the heartwarming cartoons had magical "curing power." Says Chen: "That's exactly what I want to achieve through my works."
Chen has enjoyed painting since she was a little girl. When she was a middle school student, she often created cartoons to depict her school life. Encouraged by her teachers and classmates, Chen decided to choose "cartoon creation" as her career. While she studied in university, she continued creating cartoons to record her life.
When she was a senior at university, Chen created a series of amusing stickers, called "Mr. Wild & Cute" — a panda who was so fond of sleeping that he lost the dark circles under his eyes. Like young people Chen's age, the strong-willed panda enjoyed eating dumplings and distributing hongbao (red envelopes stuffed with crisp yuan notes), or "gift money," through WeChat. The stickers resonated with many of Chen's schoolmates, who called her "soul painter."
While she studied a course on digital media (in Beijing Normal University), Chen participated in a VR (virtual reality) competition hosted by the university. In addition to creating cartoons, she puts much effort into studying posters, cartoons and commercial illustrations, which are a rich source of inspiration for her artistic creations.
When she looks back at her experiences, Chen concludes she is lucky to live in a good age, when various online platforms offer opportunities for her and other cartoonists to show the artistic charm of their works.
Creating more, better works
As she created the cartoons, with the theme of combating COVID-19, during the past several months, Chen improved her sense of social responsibility. "In addition to doctors and nurses, who work on the front line to combat COVID-19, everyone is obliged to contribute to the prevention and control of the epidemic," says Chen.
Inspired by the numerous doctors and nurses, who went to the front line to save people, Chen decided to create more, and better, works to repay society for the care and assistance she had received.
"Many seniors said we young people have not inured to hardships and hard work. However, many youths have joined seniors in providing voluntary services to residents (in the epidemic areas), to protect the residents' safety," says Chen.
Chen has participated in many public-welfare activities in recent years. During an activity in September 2017 (to promote traditional crafts), conducted by Tencent, several enterprises and nongovernmental organizations, Chen and other participants tried their best to promote creative cultural products, which embodied the artistic elements of various crafts (created by Miao people), including embroideries, silver ornaments and batik items. At the invitation of Xishuangbanna (in Southwest China's Yunnan Province) Tropic Rain Forest Conservation Foundation (XTCF), Chen in June 2020 created a series of cartoons to help people learn about the ecological value of Asian elephants, which are on the verge of extinction.
Now, Chen is creating cartoons with the themes of love and growth. She also posts her cartoons via new media.
"I'll make greater efforts to improve my painting skills, so I can create more, better works, to voice the heartfelt wishes of young people," says Chen.