Interview with *yangtianli

11 min read

Deviation Actions

Lintu47's avatar
          Yangtian Li was born in China 23 years ago, but moved to Australia to follow her dream of becoming a professional illustrator and animator for games, magazines and books. She agreed to answer a few questions, so let's sit back and take a few minutes to see what she has to say.

Clown Girl

What drawn you towards digital art, paintings in particular? How was your first experience with this kind of art and how long ago was it?

       Like many artists, I have always been interested in drawing since a very young age, it was really just a natural thing. I love animation and I've always been watching lots of animations since i was a child. As I grew, I also found huge interest in comics (manga particularly) and games, and these have always been my inspiration. So my goal was always to become a professional artist in any of these fields, as I think there shouldn't be any reason to limit myself in any particular field.

Queen Bee

Most of the artists wish for their own style. How would you describe yours, and how did you develop it?

          My very first style was actually largely inspired by Sailor Moon when I was in primary school (lol), it was manga style. When I studied in China, I didn't really have any real art training until i was 16 – because the schools I went only cared about maths and so on… But I draw my manga characters on my math books and drafts all the time (lol) and I’m very proud of myself for not wasting my time with math actually.

Am I human enough?

       Sorry, off the topic, but anyway, I got some traditional drawing knowledge when I was 16, and then I wanted to combine this knowledge with the manga style I already had. And just around the same time, I found drawing on a computer might be easier for me as I was not very good at colouring – working digitally allowed a lot more freedom when it comes to colours.

seashell and pearl

       It was already very hard to learn colouring digitally, and my previous style was kind of impossible to colour with the traditional painting way, so my style had to change. During that time it was a bit of a pain for me to get rid of something i was so used to – but I think it never left me anyway.


       As I kept experimenting and exercise, without a particular style in mind, my current style gradually set – I actually didn’t realize I had any particular style until people start to tell me “Hey, I like your style”. So that was pretty sweet. I believe you shouldn't try too hard “thinking” what your style should be, just let it develop naturally, trying different things and in the end, when you will get used to something, that would just be your style.


What role has deviantART in your artistic life?

          deviantART has been the best community I’ve experienced. I’m not a very confident person. At first when I started posting my drawings online in forums/group chat in some other communities, my posts either got ignored or critiques like “You should just go to learn foundation properly”. Things like that are very true, but it was hard for me because I just felt miserable hearing it. I think you should have the freedom to draw whatever you want to draw and just enjoy it; maybe it’s not particularly right, because there are so many amazing artists doing what they do because they had solid foundation. But maybe there isn’t right or wrong, just how you want to go about it.

Tian's gallery

          dA on the other hand, is a very open and encouraging community. I think encouragement works much better for me as motivation, because after someone complimented my work I just wanted to work harder to bring a better piece out. And it was easy and convenient to follow other great artists or messages. I love you, dA! XD

Mad Hatter Me

Your works are remarkable; do you believe that what you do requires a particular skill or it's just about the practice?

          Thank you for the compliment! I think anyone can do what I did here, the result depends on how much time you are willing to put in. I think you can do whatever you choose to do, it’s really up to you. People might argue against this and say, for example "I'm poor and I want to be rich and that’s impossible". But I’d argue that it’s because you didn't choose to give up your leisure time to learn a new skill, or you didn't choose to sacrifice your health to sell your organ, or you didn't choose to throw away your morality to steal/rob. I think it’s all about the choice.

Three Thousand Threads of Trouble

Regarding your own art, what do you think has been your greatest achievement so far?

              I can’t really say I have achieved anything but saying that is bad for my resume. My works have been shown on several digital art collection books including Ballistic Publishing’s D’artiste Character design and EXOTIQUE 7. I’ve been featured on magazines including ImagineFX’s FXpose and Digital Artist magazine (Fantasy Artist). And I was the highest achieving student for my bachelor degree (major in animation) in my year.

Right or Wrong

Thank you, yangtianli!

© 2012 - 2022 Lintu47
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
anzul's avatar
"that it’s because you didn't choose to give up your leisure time to learn a new skill"
nailed it -on me- so freaking much.... sadly.

nice read :)