Nie Jun is one of China's most popular cartoonists. At just thirty year of age, he's also one of the pioneers of modern-day comics in China. His art is sensitive and immediately recognizable.
Young wanderers, a naughty boy who flees his comic book, a blind girl seeking her eyes with the help of a magic dog. These are the characters who populate Nie Jun's fertile imagination and his comics.
Nie Jun fell in love with illustrations as a child, when his father bought him a Chinese comic book called The Travels of Three-Haired Boy. He copied the pictures in that book with his own ink pen, learning quickly that his work could please others. This talented young lad soon began to draw his own comics. His first work was released ten years ago in a Beijing-based magazine. 1995 was also the time when the comic industry really began to take off in China.
Cartoonist Nie Jun said, "I'm just attracted to comics as a form of expression. First of all, I like the stories, and second, I like the exaggerated and lyric style of comics."
My Street is Nie Jun's most famous comic strip. It was serialized in the monthly magazine Beijing Cartoon from 2001 till 2003. It's about two youngsters living away from home in a foreign country. They're looking for love, themselves, and the meaning of life. The series won many fans, moved by Nie Jun's delicate portrayal of the inner world of roaming youngsters.
He also said, "My favorite theme is wandering. My heroes are always on the move. The stories arise from this constant movement rather than from staying and living in one place. This is because it's always been my dream to wander from one place to another so that I can see different things."
In 2003, Nie Jun wandered to Japan, where he received an award from a well-known Japanese comic book for another of his strips, Electronic Bus. The story is about a middle-aged man who rediscovers his love of life through two lively kids. Bathed in peace and warmth, Nie Jun worked on it while at the Manga Department of Japan's Kyoto Seika University, which had invited him as a researcher.
A comic fan said, "I think Nie Jun's pictures are strongly individualistic. I've grown up with his cartoons. When I first saw his cartoons in a magazine, I felt drawn to them. The contrast of black and white, and the angles of each frame are perfect."
Nie Jun has released two books of his own work-- Fox Diu Diu and Don't Want to Grow Up. Don't Want to Grow Up is a richly illustrated essay written by young writer known only as Pipi. In the book, Nie Jun paints a nostalgic picture of his childhood.
Nie Jun said, "I don't want to grow up either. I would love to just stay this age forever. It would be even better if I were five or six years younger. At that time, I was full of passion and idealism, I did everything based on romantic impulses. I was young enough to be brave. My style at that time was unstrained, very romantic. If I could choose to go back in time, I would choose that period."
Nie Jun's desires to live like Peter Pan are surely not rare among cartoonists. His inner child is evident in his art work, especially the illustrations he does for children's books. He has also worked hard to make his art recognizably Chinese.
Nie said, "I've always wanted to draw cartoons with Chinese characteristics, work that represents China. I want my cartoons to look Chinese, not Western or Japanese or South Korean. If people look at my cartoons and say 'they're very Chinese', then I'll feel like I've done a good job."
Nie Jun's hobbies include reading novels and listening to rock and roll music. But the young man still prefers to express himself through drawing ---- fairy tales for children, teenagers, and even adults.
(CCTV October 17, 2005)