Fairy tales, folklore, fun characters and fabric all feature in the illustrations of Chinese artist Tang Wei, who is based in the ancient city of Dali in Yunnan province. Ideal for children’s books and editorial illustration, the colour, texture and intrigue in her images are what bring them to life. She’s popular with clients thanks to her refreshingly creative approach.
Tang Wei was surrounded by her seamstress mother’s material, buttons, zippers, patterns and thread while growing up. They’ve stayed with her and Tang’s unique illustrations are inspired by Chinese, Nepalese and Indian embroidery, alongside artists such as Shaun Tan and the great Eric Carle.
She knows the children’s book industry inside out as well, and launched her career working for a publisher over a decade ago after studying animation at Sichuan Xihua University.
Starting with a pencil drawing, Tang will add acrylic paint or watercolour. Collage is a favourite technique and she may add cut-out pictures to her work, along with special papers, lace, felt and even bits of clay.
Tang Wei’s mixed media approach is combined with a willingness to experiment with layouts, composition and content. This gives many of her pieces a touch of the unexpected. Her style is highly personal, and she is always willing to adapt to her client’s vision to ensure each project is entirely unique.