Yayao Yuying (DA-POW!)

JINGKU
©Yayao Yuying

Artist Name: Greetings! I’m DA-POW!, also known as Yayao Yuying Studio or YYSTU for short!

What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?

An artist with a concentration in sequential arts (comics) since that’s what I’m currently investing my time in!

What kinds of work do you currently do or what kinds of projects you have done in the past?

I’ve collaborated on numerous projects in the past. Some being providing artwork for competitions, charities, personal events, etc. At the moment though, I’ve been mainly surrounding myself with the comic medium and working on my original series, JINGKU.

Could you talk about how you got into art or doing what you do today? What’s your story? What made you want to pursue this path? Were there any challenges you had along the way?

I’ve been drawing since I could remember, and it was definitely thanks to Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z during the late nineties and early two thousands.

Pertaining to sequential art though… I had a childhood dedicated to reading Japanese comics (manga) for teenage girls (shojo). Eventually, I expanded out into other demographics (shonen, josei, seinen, etc) and discovered more of what I liked and didn’t like, applying that to my own work. But since Japanese comics were such a big part of my life, naturally I found myself wanting to work with that aesthetic in some fashion.

But bringing us closer to the present, I wish I had an interesting story to tell. But sadly, all I can say is that I went to school, graduated, and continued to pursue art around the clock as I worked other jobs on the side.

Hopefully, the others being interviewed will have stories of higher inspiration to share to make up for my rather disappointing one…

Did you attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it and did you think it helped you become a better artist? If you did not attended college or attended but did not majored in anything art-related, what helped pushed you to pursue art or improve your craft?

I did not pursue a formal education in art or design. Personal interest kept me in the craft!

How do you balance art with work and life? How do you make time for art?

Essentially, I build my life around my personal interests. There’s never enough time for anything, in all honesty. So you’ve got to learn to prioritize what’s most important to you.

Do you make money from your art? If so, how?

Since I’m a freelance artist, I take contracted work when I can. I also take personalized commissions as well, though I’m currently closed.

There are also art events that independent creators can attend, such as conventions and sponsored panels which I try to frequent as well. But with every single investment, always make sure to plan, plan, plan!

Where do you get your ideas from?

If we are referring to ideas in a general sense, I would say… I try to make the kind of content that I would like to consume. You’ve got to be your own hero, as they say!

But again, it has sort of backfired on me since I just can’t get the same excitement of not knowing spoilers for my own work. I’ve made peace with it though– via living vicariously through my readers reactions.

What kinds of tools do you use to make your work or what is your typical artistic process like?

I started drawing with traditional mediums (paper, pencil, ink, etc) but have since transitioned into digital ones.

The first thing I usually do when working on JINGKU is thumbnailing. After all the articulate paneling, inking, bubbling, etc has been completed, the very last thing I do is write scripts and then insert it into JINGKU’s pages. I tend to avoid writing scripts first since it gives me too much freedom to expand on ideas. This has been my general method for the first six chapters of JINGKU.

However, I’ve been attempting to try a different method for Chapter 7 of JINGKU. We’ll see if it sticks though!

Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?

Recently, I have been following Kazuko Inoue’s work on Vagabond– which is currently in hiatus. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find spare time in the future to seek out more creators that personally speak to me.

Do you have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?

I used to be a hardcore Photoshop user. It was probably the first program that I got attached to. Currently though, I’m using ClipStudio!

Is there any advice you would like to give to young artists or people just starting out?

“People ask me: what’s my dream? Luckily, I don’t allow myself to have dreams. I only allow myself to have realities. If all you have are dreams, I hope you wake up soon.”

I can only hope that people can apply this quote to their life. Whether you wish to pursue art as a career, or as a personal outlet– whatever it is that you want in your life… Go and get it!

Who would you like to collaborate/work with or work for, if anybody? Could be a person, another artist, or company.

There isn’t a particular person or company I dream of working with at the moment, though signing with a company that has access to major distribution circles would be wonderful. But if I do ever get an idea of collaborating, trust that I won’t be quiet about it!

What is your ultimate dream project or something you’dlike to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?

There are too many, but I’m hoping to get JINGKU printed at some point this year if all goes according to plans. So if you’re interested in getting a physical copy, please look forward to it!

Are there any current projects that you’re working on or in the near future that you want to tell us about?

At the moment, I’m working on my original comic series called JINGKU which I’ve mentioned at some point in this interview.

JINGKU is a historically fictitious comic series I started posting at the start of 2017 that diverges from the often referenced and retold story of the fall of the ancient Hmong kingdom to the Chinese empire.

JINGKU follows a tentative timeline where the Hmong kingdom was not decimated and established its sovereignty, with bold foreshadows of issues that many present-day Hmong ethnics may identify with. So if you’re into drama, action, and don’t mind talking about sensitive social issues– I highly encourage you to check it out!

I do have to warn you though, compared to Duachaka’s lighthearted comics, JINGKU does feature themes that are meant for a more mature audience so please tread carefully.

What is the best way to get a hold of you or view or purchase your work?

Where you can find me:

TWITTER: twitter.com/YayaoYuyingSTU

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/yayaoyuyingstu/

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