The town of Zhuxian in Henan Province is known for its New Year pictures, a precious intangible cultural heritage. However, with the passage of time, fewer young people have seen or appreciated these traditional artworks. Designer Wang Yisu aims to change that by recreating the figures in the pictures to better meet the aesthetic preferences of the younger generation.
New Year pictures have a long history in China, but their popularity has waned in recent years. Wang Yisu's unique approach adds a touch of modernity to these traditional illustrations, making them more appealing to young people. By infusing his own imagination and understanding, Wang Yisu breathes new life into the characters, aiming to activate these vivid images once again and reintroduce the beauty of New Year pictures to a wider audience.
The process of creating the Henan Illustration series involves a combination of traditional and digital techniques. Wang Yisu starts by drawing the character lines on an iPad with a hand-painted board. Then, the images are transferred to Photoshop for further refinement, including adding edges and filling in colors.
The Henan Illustration series consists of five pieces, showcasing classic images from the New Year pictures of Zhuxian Town. The illustrations feature a highly saturated yellow and blue contrasting color palette, with each character displaying unique facial expressions that seem to tell a story.
The project began in December 2022 in Linyi city, Shandong province, and will conclude in January 2023 in Zhuxian town, Henan province. Throughout the process, Wang Yisu conducted extensive research, including field visits, interviews with local residents, and visits to museums. By immersing himself in the culture and heritage of Zhuxian Town, Wang Yisu gained a deep understanding of the New Year wood-block prints and hopes to contribute to the preservation and promotion of Henan New Year Pictures.
One of the main challenges faced by Wang Yisu was striking a balance between innovation and maintaining the essence of the traditional New Year pictures. The deeply rooted image of Zhuxian Town's New Year wood-block prints made it difficult to deviate too far from the original style while still creating a fresh and novel illustration.
The Henan Illustration series by Wang Yisu is a testament to the beauty of traditional Chinese art and its ability to evolve with the times. By combining traditional techniques with a modern aesthetic, Wang Yisu brings new relevance to the New Year pictures of Zhuxian Town, captivating the younger generation and ensuring the preservation of this cultural heritage.
Image #1: Illustration by Wang Yisu, 2023.
Image #2: Illustration by Wang Yisu, 2023.
Image #3: Illustration by Wang Yisu, 2023.
Image #4: Illustration by Wang Yisu, 2023.
Image #5: Illustration by Wang Yisu, 2023.
Awards and Accolades:
This Design was awarded Iron in the A' Graphics, Illustration, and Visual Communication Design Award in 2023. The Iron A' Design Award recognizes well-designed, practical, and innovative creations that meet professional and industrial requirements. Respected for integrating industry best practices and competent technical characteristics, these designs provide fulfillment and contribute to a better world.
Project Designers: WangYisu
Image Credits: Image #1 : Illustration Wang Yisu, 2023. Image #2 : Illustration Wang Yisu, 2023. Image #3 : Illustration Wang Yisu, 2023. Image #4 : Illustration Wang Yisu, 2023. Image #5 : Illustration Wang Yisu, 2023.
Project Team Members: WangYisu
Project Name: Henan Illustration
Project Client: WangYisu