We first came across the work of Chinese artist Manshen Lo when she created the intricate pencil illustrations for Nicolas Ménard’s film Wednesday With Goddard. Based in London, Manshen has been working freelance in the animation industry on films and commercials since graduating the RCA’s animation course. Meanwhile, she’s also been developing her own portfolio of illustration work, something she’s more passionate about, which she’s sharing here on It’s Nice That for the first time.
“My approach to drawing and painting has its roots in East Asia, influenced by Chinese comic masters such as Youzhi He but also Belgian and Japanese animated films,” she explains. “It also takes inspiration from sequential art, cinematography and the Ligne Claire style.” The latter is French for “clear line”, an aesthetic most recognisable in the work of Hergé, used differently by Manshen to create an air of surreality. Her scenes are based on observational drawings, and inhabited by compelling portraits.
“This is my first time positioning myself as having a specific visual approach,” she says. “With this set of artworks, my intention was to create a self-sufficient world featuring calm and ordinary figures who might contain slightly irritated souls.”
Manshen makes the works by initially drawing using an ink brush before colouring digitally, a combination of techniques that gives her illustrations – though independent in subject matter – a consistently delicate, yet bold, feel as a series. “This way I allow myself as much honesty for the human figure as possible, and I can really focus on the quality of the line. I want to keep a certain clarity in composition, line and colour, and a particular ambiance.” Next, Manshen hopes to develop her works into animation or comics.