After Transitioning To A Full-Time Illustrator, He Was Barely Earning For 4 Years. Now, His Monster Illustrations Are Showcased Overseas.

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Welcome to Monster Little, a world of fantasy where mythical monsters created by graphic illustrator Ziqi Wu live.

Why monsters, might you ask? During his childhood, Ziqi was influenced by animations and cartoons, citing Ultraman and Power Rangers as strong influences.

“Because monsters do not exist, they gave me a mysterious feel. I can practically create anything I want through my imagination.”

Ziqi, who’s currently 41, has loved drawing since his childhood. Perhaps it was his passion for drawing that led to his keen eye for design and ignited his interest in illustrations. Ziqi pursued multimedia in university, and it was during this time that his monster illustrations were born.

That was 14 years ago.

Today, his monster illustrations have been made available for purchase as figurines, stickers, cushions, and has even travelled the world to participate in design exhibitions in countries in Asia, such as Taiwan and Thailand.

Taking His Work Abroad

The local illustrator’s works have been exhibited overseas, mostly through “designer toy events” according to him.

One of the events he attended, the Taipei Toy Festival, gave him good memories that he would cherish for a long time to come.

“I first released my Dino designer toys during the Taipei Toy Festival,” he recalls fondly. The positive response he had received from the audience encouraged him to continue pursuing his craft.

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“I am touched and happy that so many people loved my Dino (toys) which motivated me to continue to create more.”

Ziqi was also awarded the opportunity to be part of the Pixels Street Art Exhibition in Hong Kong back in 2015.

“I am honoured and grateful to be given these opportunities, ” says Ziqi.

He finds immense joy in sharing his work with people from all around the world. While he receives joy from bringing his creations overseas, his work returns the favour by spreading happiness to fans.

“The best reward is to hear them say that my work made them happy.”

Recognition For His Craft

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Ziqi has since received recognition for his craft through collaborations.

He has collaborated with the likes of Warner Bros, where he was invited to customise Marvin the Martian (pictured above).

He has also collaborated with Wisma Atria and Action City, as part of a joint art exhibition with the Gagatree Collective.

The collaboration between the artists was titled “OBOT & Dino Celebrate Christmas Around The World” at Wisma Atria. This was a part of the mall’s Christmas promotional activities and ran from December last year to early January this year.

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More recently, he was also involved in the Shanghai Toy Show. Despite not being able to be physically present, his works were exhibited and enjoyed by the event’s participants.

A Turbulent Start

Though things are currently looking on the upside, Ziqi’s journey as a graphic illustrator was not always a bed of roses.

“There were fewer opportunities then and it was hard to make a living solely relying on my work.”

In the beginning, Ziqi struggled with getting recognition for his work. He attributes this to his artworks that were “not well-designed” when he first started out.

As he held a full-time job, Ziqi was often too jaded to channel his energy towards his illustrations. “My full-time job drained most of my energy and motivation,” he explained.

As he transitioned into a full-time illustrator, he also struggled to cope with the discrepancy in his income — his earnings as an illustrator made up just a fraction of his remuneration.

“My first 3-4 years earnings were just a small portion of what I earned previously.”

Fortunately for the talented and resilient creative, things soon began to take a favourable turn.

“I managed to make it sustainable on my last try.”

As they say, the rest is history.

To find out more about Monster Little, click here.