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Ping Zhu: NY Times Chimpanzee

Work / Illustration

Taking time to appreciate Ping Zhu’s stunning animal illustrations

I’m going to have to lay my cards on the table here, I’m not a big animal lover. For one thing I’m a meat eater and something about eating animals and keeping pets has always seemed contradictory to me. Secondly, and more importantly, I was bitten by my pet hamster as a child and have never quite recovered from the experience of seeing my blood smeared over his white little furry mouth. He died shortly after the incident, but legally speaking the two events can’t be linked.

In stark contradiction to my animal apathy I’m completely enamoured with Ping Zhu’s charming illustrations of your (not my) furry friends. Working in brush, ink and a touch of photoshop, Ping creates incredibly engaging illustrations of a veritable bestiary of creatures. The delicate and playful quality of her brushwork imbues each of her characters with a vitality and affability that makes me really care for them, particularly her depressed chimp. Rather wonderfully, Ping manages to communicate these subtle nuances in body language whether creating representational or highly-stylised renderings of animals; a unique and enviable skill.

Ping’s also a dab hand at drawing pretty much anything, including people, but don’t even get me started on how I feel about people…

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Ping Zhu: Tigers

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Ping Zhu: HHMI Mouse & Lemur

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Ping Zhu: Otto & Bea

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Ping Zhu: New Yorker Animals

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Ping Zhu: Safe Agua Dog

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Ping Zhu: HHMI Snakes