The unwavering love puppies have for humans is illustrator SanQian’s biggest inspiration
The illustrator tells us why she also explores spirituality and celestial bodies throughout her endearing work.
- Olivia Hingley
- 8 March 2022
“I admire the way puppies love people”, begins the Hangzhou-based illustrator SanQian. “They are brave, innocent, loyal and expressive.” This deep and all-encompassing adoration for puppies and their loveable character is instantly apparent throughout SanQian’s work. The recurring small white dog that features in her illustrations, with its rounded, morphic body and simple yet endearing face, is a (very cute) symbol of unwavering interspecies affection. “In my works the dog often appears with its head tilted, or in a running or chasing posture: representing people trapped in love.”
Born and raised in Chongqing, SanQian initially posted her artwork on social media in 2018, before she began sharing it on Twitter and Instagram in 2019. Fully enamoured with the creative process, and inspired by things as varied as poetry, sunsets and science fiction, SanQian explains that for her, “creating is an unquenchable desire, it’s instinctive, it’s a natural act – the same as eating and sleeping”.
Alongside her beloved puppies, SanQian’s work has strong visual references to astrological charts, with her deep blue hues, overlapping circles, ellipses and stars. This stylistic route came after SanQian experienced a “serious spiritual crisis” last year. Suffering from a lack of meaning, the illustrator took some time to recharge and read books focussing on religious theology. However, SanQian tells us that her attraction to celestial bodies has been present from a young age and that as a child, she always had a strong aesthetic pull to the cosmic starry sky.
Viewing herself as an “alien” and an “observer of human society”, SanQian’s focus on otherworldly themes is also a means for her to “create an escape plan to outer space”. She uses meditation to overcome her anxiety and creative blocks, and tells us that to bring herself back to a relaxed place, she often imagines herself as “a blank sheet of paper”. Often making small visual drafts and drawing geometric shapes to decompress, SanQian powerfully explains that “creation should be joyful, it’s hard to make a breakthrough by exhausting myself.” Looking to expand her already vast Cosmic Puppy series, SanQian is also working on self-publishing a book. Be sure to stay tuned for more lovable pups!
SanQian: Chase the Stars (Copyright © SanQian Studio, 2022）
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.