Lushuirou’s thought-provoking illustrations explore communication through body language

The illustrator and artist discusses why she is interested in depicting subtle hand gestures.

11 January 2022

Lushuirou has always preferred to express herself through images “rather than straightforward language,” she tells It’s Nice That. As an introverted person, she has become adept at noticing the “small emotions” that are expressed through people’s body language. As such, much of Lushuirou’s work focuses entirely on the subtle gestures of hands. Lushuirou explains: “the hand is the part with the most abundant body language, and the beautiful curve and changeable shapes of the hand are very attractive to me.” Through her careful observation of subtle gestures, Lushuirou’s illustrations have become a meditation on those small acts of “subconscious” communication which often go unnoticed.

Lushuirou lives and works in Hunan Province, China. She has recently finished a degree in visual communication design, where she first became acquainted with illustration techniques. At the moment, Lushuirou is developing her practice by working on personal projects, during which she begins each work by applying paint to paper before scanning to her Ipad and editing with Procreate. She likes to experiment with the “graininess and uneven texture” of Holbein cake colour used for traditional Japanese sumi-e painting. Once she has the initial design, she transfers her work to her Ipad and continues to enhance the richness of colour and textures on Procreate.

Lushuirou's current series, which she is yet to give a title, is all about human relationships and how people connect with each other. In this series, Lushuirou produces unusual juxtapositions in order to convey the conflicts which underlie many loving relationships. The soft plumply skin of her hand illustrations are often integrated with harder, sharper surfaces like metal or the prickles of a rose. In her piece Game, a fist bump between friends is disturbingly transformed. One hand clenches in on itself, puncturing its skin with its own rose-like prickles, while another looms above it, threatening to engulf it in its own spiky embrace. By executing this simple “deformation” of the hands, Lushuirou highlights the ambiguity of human interactions through body language and the hostility which can underlie apparently friendly gestures. Lushuirou admits that she has become obsessed with exploring these “contradictions in interpersonal relationships” through her practice.


Lushuirou: Game (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)

A project which is particularly close to Lushuirou’s heart is her series Mood. The series did not begin as a planned project, Lushuirou explains. Rather, it came about as a response to a particularly anxious period in her personal life. “I was lying in bed for several days, unable to say anything or do anything,” Lushuirou recalls. One day it occurred to her that recording how she felt through illustration might allow her some “catharsis.” In this series, Lushuirou opted for a limited colour palette, communicating her dark mood through varying shades of blue. As in her current series, Lushuirou explores hidden emotions through the use of unexpected surfaces and textures. But instead of sharp metal and prickles, in Mood, Lushuiro turned to softer textures; the head of the figure which reappears throughout the series is depicted both as a melting candle and a dripping block of ice.

Through her current body of work, Lushuirou has proven her ability to crystallise abstract and complex internal states into minimal compositions. But emotions are not her only source of inspiration – she adores the music of Oasis, Hyukoh and Se So Neon. In the future, Lushuirou tells us, she dreams of making album cover illustrations and collaborating with bands she admires.


Lushuirou: Into You (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)


Lushuirou: Tear (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)


Lushuirou: Burning (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)


Lushuirou: Giving (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)


Lushuirou: Melting (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)


Lushuirou: The One 3 (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2020)


Lushuirou: The One 4 (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2020)


Lushuirou: The One 2 (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)

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Lushuirou: Get Close (Copyright © Lushuirou, 2021)

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About the Author

Elfie Thomas

Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.

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